“In the longstanding tradition of the Mac, Apple has done an absolutely brilliant job demystifying what is otherwise a complex technical process [with iPod+iTunes]. It is only in recent years that some of the competing products have managed to catch up to the usability of the iTunes/iPod duo. But, by the time they did, it was basically too late. Apple controls 70 percent of the portable digital audio player market and, in the US, 88 percent of sales of downloadable music. Not only that, Apple has successfully bridged a usability story into a fashion story which has taken the attraction to the iPod to an entirely different level that no other technology vendor will be able to duplicate,” David Berlind blogs for ZDNet.
Berlind writes, “Recently, at Gartner Symposium, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked about Microsoft’s stick-to-it-iveness with the message that once his company commits, it has the resources to keep at it until it wins. Only, in the portable digital audio space, the company didn’t stick to it. Instead, after it’s PlaysForSure ecosystem barely made a dent in Apple’s momentum, it went back to square one with a brand called Zune that, except for a few minor details, will pretty much mirror Apple’s strategy (where the content comes from the same source as the hardware does). When Microsoft about faces, this is a sign that Apple is in charge.”
Berlind writes, “And just when all of Apple’s competitors are turning to plan B, and just when a few cell phone vendors are getting hip to the idea of including iPod-like functionality in a mobile phone (something that no smartphone maker has quite figured out how to do very gracefully), Apple is about to swoop in and show them all how its done because you know that Steve Jobs would never let an iPhone see the light of day unless it’s absolutely perfect. Nokia, Ericcson, Sony, Samsung, Motorola and the rest of the lot of them (as well as Microsoft and the other portable audio manufacturers) will be left so stunned by Apple’s entry into the market that it will feel as though a supertrain with a wild party on it just left the train station while they were left standing on the platform say ‘But,…but…'”
Berlind writes, “Here’s a good question. With Apple Mac sales going up (on the coattails of iPod sales), what happens when Apple decides not to make a Windows version of iTunes?”
More in the full article, including Berlind’s prediction that eventually some government somewhere will force Apple’s hand under antitrust law and how Apple will profit immensely regardless here.
This is an excellent article — even if the concept of Apple pulling the Windows version of iTunes is way out there — that’s full of interesting points and ideas; highly recommended.
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