More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: iRiver gives up on digital media player market

“The IT industry is well aware that the short product life cycle and the rapid pace at which new technology comes up can drive them out of the market in the twinkling of an eye. MP3 player manufacturer Reigncom, which became famous with its iRiver hit product, just two years ago earned almost W1 trillion (US $1 billion) in annual sales but recorded its worst-ever performance this year, with only W37.9 billion in sales and W18.8 billion net losses in the first quarter,” The Chosun Ilbo reports. “Established in 1999, the firm had been making remarkable strides, becoming the runaway no. 1 in the domestic MP3 player market. The iRiver was more popular among teenagers than big competitors from Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. It also gained the status of a top-notch player in overseas markets including the U.S., Japan and China in terms of sales volume. But Apple’s Flash-type MP3 players put an end to that.”

“When Apple’s MP3 player sales quadrupled to some 32 million units in 2005 alone, Reigncom responded by slashing product prices three times. At the end of last year, however, just a year and a half since it started competing with Apple in the Flash MP3 player market, some 300 or about half of its staff quit the company. Its overseas operations ground to a halt as it pulled out of most markets except for the U.S. and one or two other countries,” The Chosun Ilbo reports.

Reigncom plans to refocus the company’s efforts on their portable WiBro gaming console, according to the report.

Full article here.

Engadget also has more here.

MacDailyNews Take: Buh-bye, iRiver. [UPDATE: 11:55am EDT: MacDailyNews reader “Jeffrey” reminds us that somebody ought to tell Microsoft and MTV about iRiver (see: Microsoft, MTV, iRiver take on Apple). On second thought, let’s see if the Redmond and Viacom geniuses can manage to figure it out on their own. At this rate, facing the Keystone Kops of Digital Media, Apple could freeze iPod+iTunes development, take a nap for the next decade, and still own the market when they wake up – although they should debut the iPhone line before grabbing their shut-eye just for safety’s sake.]

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49 Comments

  1. Probably the biggest corpse on Apple’s inexorable march.

    Which makes you wonder how long Creative or any of the others can last.

    One side of this is that Creative will – in the short-term – pick up market share that would have gone to iRiver.

    However, the long-term is surely that Creative will go as well which means that Apple will face an ever decreasing level of pressure on pricing, which is the only downside to this news I can think of.

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