“Tony Fadell, former employee of General Magic and Phillips, envisioned a brand new MP3 player. Unlike the bulky flash memory based MP3 players from Rio and other companies, Fadell wanted to deliver a small hard drive based player that was linked with a content delivery system, where users could legally attain downloaded music. The first company he pitched it to in 2000 was RealNetworks, where the CEO, Rob Glaser, was already in control of a large content delivery system through Real’s premium radio and television channels. Real could not rationalize going through the trouble of releasing an accessory to their already profitable system, and would be caught off guard when the iTunes Music Store was opened. Fadell also approached Phillips, which also rebuffed him,” Braeburn reports.
“Out of desperation, Fadell turned to Apple, which years before had sworn off consumer electronics with their unsuccessful Pippin and Newton. The executives at Apple were very enthusiastic (unbeknowst to Fadell, Apple had bought the rights to SoundJam MP months before) about implementing Fadell’s plan at Apple. He was hired in early 2001 and was given a development team of around thirty people and given a deadline of a year to release a successful product,” Braeburn reports.
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