“Released in the late 1970s, the Apple II was the original sexy personal computer, the one that started the whole revolution. By the late 1980s, though, Apple had been relegated to a runner-up position by the onslaught of Microsoft’s DOS and the IBM PC clones,” Michael Stroud writes for AlwaysOn.
“One big reason why: Apple never relinquished its primary intellectual property. It maintained tight control over its operating system, hardware, and peripherals, while Gates and IBM licensed their technology to all comers. Apple’s market dominance was overwhelmed by cheaper, less inspired products,” Stroud writes. “Fast forward to 2005. The iPod dominates the digital music market. No other device is cool enough for teenagers, despite its higher price tag. Competitors are swarming. Napster, Yahoo, and Real have introduced portable music subscription standards, with phone maker Ericsson announcing a broad partnership last week. Sprint and other cellular carriers are streaming music and music videos. Nokia is loading Microsoft music software on some of its phones.”
“Meanwhile, Apple refuses to open up its product to competitive standards like Real and Windows Media,” Stroud writes. “Is Apple about to be overwhelmed again? Or has Steve Jobs learned from the past? …To keep its dominance, Apple will have to do some ballsy things, like create a portable subscription service, integrate WiFi, cellular, and video and—yes—open up the iPod to competitive standards like Windows Media and Real.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: iPod is not the Mac. Music is music and the same song can easily be encoded in AAC with FairPlay DRM for Apple’s iTunes Music Store with the click of a mouse. It’s not like writing entire complex applications for the Mac or Windows. Apple seems to be innovating the iPod well enough to continue dominating the market for the foreseeable future and rumors of new iPod features hint at more innovations to come. Unless there is are financial benefits to supporting other competing formats, Apple is doing well to keep the iPod+iTunes symbiotic relationship as it is today.