The history of Apple’s iPod

“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.

Full article here.


  1. Bet good old Glaser has kicked himself in the pants a few times over this one. But I am really glad that nobody really picked up the ball before Apple. No vision. They would have not come near to the integrated beauty of the iPod-iTunes-ITMS Trifecta.

  2. there’s a comment below the article itself to the effect “not enuf credit to Pixo — interface design.”

    According the the Wikipedia, “Pixo” had a bunch of refugees from the Newton group (iPod uses ARM proc – just like Newton)

    just FYI

    can’t wait for that tablet wireless video thing to hit RSN

  3. Glaser must feel like the record company exec who passed on the Beatles. And now he’s getting his just desserts (doughnuts, of course). Or, what’s technically the correct phrase, just deserts (as in abandonment – by customers in this case.)

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