Companies look for ways to fight Apple’s ‘800-pound gorilla’ with iPod alternatives

“Enter practically any electronics store and you’re likely to find a digital music player from Apple. It’s called the iPod and it weighs only a few ounces, but to its competitors it’s the 800-pound white gorilla,” Michel Marriott writes for The New York Times. “It is hardly a secret that Apple’s smart, sleek music players rule the market. Industry analysts estimate that more than 9 of every 10 high-capacity players sold in the United States are iPods.”

“‘It’s hard to imagine it doing much better than it is doing now,’ said Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis for the NPD Group, a research firm,” Marriott writes. ‘We live and breathe competition and talk about iPod every day,’ said David Feldman, vice president for marketing in North America for Archos, a pioneer in developing digital music players. ‘To come up against the 800-pound gorilla, we have to provide differences in our product mix. We have to have capabilities beyond the iPod.'”

Marriott writes, “Mr. Baker of the NPD Group said he believes that for the foreseeable future the portable digital music player market will belong to Apple. Trying to compete with iPod on slight reductions in price will not sway most buyers, he said, and even offering features that iPod does not have is no guarantee, because Apple could add the features to its player. Mr. Baker said microdrive players, like the iPod Mini and Zen Micro, are where the real mass-market music players are emerging. ‘Most people don’t need more than five gigabytes of music to carry around with them,’ he said. ‘It has to be small enough to exercise with, unobtrusive, and pretty easy to use. That is where the battle is going to be.'”

Marriott writes, “An Apple spokeswoman declined to discuss the competition or comment on the company’s plans,” Marriott writes. “‘It’s in Rio’s genes to continue to push design,’ Dan Torres, Rio’s vice president for product marketing said. ‘All of these things don’t have to be boxes or look like bars of soap.’ Consumers will be drawn to designs and features that have their own appeal, he added, looks and functions that do not simply mimic the iPod’s. ‘Our hats are off to Apple and iPod,’ said Ms. O’Malley of Creative. ‘IPod has done a great job of increasing the viability of the category as a whole, raising awareness for all digital music and digital music players.’ But as hats come off, so do the gloves.”

Full article here.

18 Comments

  1. hahaha Rio’s known for design huh?

    Good job.. create weird wacky designs and..er.. you have no accessory market..

    Apple keeps the same design essentially and has an exploding accessory market..

    Yeah.. our hats are off to apple, they have about 17 times the marketshare we do..

  2. MDN should change it’s name to iPod news, as that is what most posts are about, For those of us who don’t have or want an iPod it’s a drag. A little more news about computers please.

  3. They still dont get it, Great design is not just about looking cool and different, the best design (Jon Ive stuff) take into account the most important thing that sets them apart, USABILITY! just like Alienware boxes are cool looking and different, but its really the same as a beige box. The G3/G4 case increased accessability while adding style (still not pefect) and the G5 took tower design to the next level. Its amazing these companies just dont get it.

  4. No resting on laurels now, Apple!!

    It is conceivable that someone could design a desirable alternative to iPod. I’m not saying they will, but if Apple rests now (especially by not cornering the flash market), they could find themselves in a less dominating position. Don’t rule out anything, especially in such an early market.

  5. Creative is the only possible threat at this time. They are more in tune with the Asean market and simply put, there are more Asians than anyone else in the world. That is just a fact and it does not seem likely to change in our life time.

  6. Anyone who makes a post saying “first post” is a f—ing moron. Either contribute meaningfully or shut the hell up. This means both you Stewie and you mootafu are in desperate need of brain transplants.

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