PC Mag: It’s an iPod world; How ready are you for Apple’s MP3-player monopoly?

“The transition is complete. My formerly heterogeneous home MP3 environment has transformed into a one-company, one-brand house. Everyone is using Apple iPods,” Lance Ulanoff writes for PC Magazine.

“Is anyone really still competing with iPods? Colby, Cowon, Samsung, Sony, and others are still producing MP3 players, but I rarely see them in the wild. Honestly, not one of these products is as sexy, exciting, or innovative as the iPod touch. The touch, however, was not the game changer. In my opinion, the reason the MP3 market is on its way to becoming a one-man show is the iPhone,” Ulanoff writes.

“Apple’s iPhone is the single best combo phone/MP3 player. If you’re buying a new phone, it’s on your short list—it’s on everybody’s short list. For the majority of consumers, once they have an iPhone, there’s no real need to buy a separate MP3 player. The iPhone is the gateway for Apple’s music, video, apps, and iTunes ecosystem. Once consumers step in, they find the most extensible device and environment they’ve ever seen,” Ulanoff writes. “Does any other product offer a similar experience?”

“I’m not saying an Apple monopoly of the MP3 market is a good thing, but it is a real possibility. More and more MP3 manufacturers are likely to bow out of the business. As I’ve said before, the Microsoft Zune will no longer be a standalone player. It will live as a feature in future Windows Mobile devices. I can’t see much of a future for the Zune Marketplace, either,” Ulanoff writes.

“My own iPod story is bound to be replayed over and over again in homes around the country,” Ulanoff writes. “Take a look around you. How many music players aside from iPods (of all stripes) and iPhones do you see?”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In the U.S., as in many places around the world, monopolies are not illegal. In fact, achieving a monopoly is the ultimate goal for every company worth its salt. Monopoly abuse is what’s illegal. (Ask Microsoft about that one.) Currently, Apple does not have a monopoly in either MP3 players or online digital content services.

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