Whither the myriad Apple iPod and iPhone “killers?”

Apple Online Store“How many times have you heard or read about the ‘iPod Killer,’ the new MP3 player from XYZ Company that is going to impact the iPod/iPhone market share (I believe Google’s Nexus One and Motorola’s Droid are the latest entrées [“iPhone killers”])? How many times did that actually happen? So, why is the iPod the best selling hand-held portable multimedia device? Why hasn’t any other company really cracked iPod market share? What’s so magical about the iPod?” David Moskowitz asks for CIO Update.

Moskowitz writes, “The answer may surprise you. Consider the following three points:”

• The problem isn’t building a better technical capable or technically superior device―most people don’t buy the iPod just for the technology.
• The problem isn’t crafting a better music store―again, people don’t buy the iPod because they’re in love with iTunes music store. In fact, an iPod isn’t even needed to purchase music from the iTunes music store.
• The problem isn’t creating a better software interface―people don’t buy the iPod to get the software since it can be downloaded for free.

Moskowitz asks, “So, what is the answer?”

“The reason the iPod is the No.1 portable music device is because Apple didn’t attempt to just build a good player they put together a complete end to end experience with a good device, good software and good music store,” Moskowitz explains. “All of the pieces work seamlessly and easily. Any company that attempts to compete can’t do it at the device level, or the software level or the store level. Apple changed the game―not just the rules.”

“It’s not just product success that matters as much as it is seamless end-to-end service provisioning that integrates third-party providers,” Moskowitz writes.

Moskowitz writes, “Apple recognized services, not technology, as critical to capturing market share. Apple was the first company to connect the dots and put all of the pieces together into a cohesive, easy to use, end to end service―not just for users, but for developers, too. Any competitor that thinks they can compete on any individual piece doesn’t understand the new value proposition Apple created.”

There’s much more in the full article – recommended – here.


  1. You’d think the boneheads would figure it out by now that you need the entire user experience. This applies to not just music players but computers as well. Dell sits there wondering why their stock is falling…

  2. I just can’t wait to see the “iSlate Killers”. (Or whatever it will be called.) I had a guy that I work with try to tell me that his MyTouch was better than my iPhone. His reasoning? He could say a word to it and it would tell him how to spell it. Bahahahahaha

  3. It’s more than the synergy. It’s that each of the elements is better than any counterpart. It’s the best device. It’s the best software. It’s the best music store. A competitor would have to trump Apple on all these fronts, which no one has yet done. That’s why Apple owns this market.

  4. It also has to do with fashion – people (especially young) tend to get whatever is “right” fashionwise and Apple obliged by constantly updating the iPod to keep it in fashion. The technology and the always positive user experience are there nevertheless – I have never heard of anybody sincerely thinking of dumping his iPod for say a Zune…

  5. He also leaves out strategic marketing—product intro buzz, comedy & lifestyle ads, product placement—face it, consumers fall in love with this part of the experience as well. Microstool commercials not so much

  6. I just realized that the other infrastructure element that may be equally important is the Apple Retail Store system. You have to wonder how the number of stores keeps increasing in spite of the fact that companies like Gateway gave up long ago, and the economic situation sucks.

    We just got an Apple Store in Winnipeg. And I thought it odd they would try that here. Apple’s always seemed to be ignored by most people. You’d think we were a foreign country or something…oh, yeah..” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    Anyway, ever since the store opened, you can’t go in at any time and not find it full of customers, and I mean FULL!

    No other store in the mall sees anything like this customer presence even at their peak hours. I keep dropping by at odd times to see when it’s NOT busy. Can’t be done.

    Why is basic infrastructure planning so hard to understand? And duplicate?

  7. Outlawed phrases for the new decade:

    1. _________ Killer

    2. Applewood Smoked Bacon

    feel free to add ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  8. Great article, message-wise, but one of the poorest-written blog entries I have ever painfully slogged through. This guy is supposed to be a highly paid professional — he can’t find someone to proofread?!?


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