Jackass of the Week: Andrew Orlowski The iPod’s Achilles Heel? It’s er… Reader’s Digest | The Register

Andrew Orlowski, at the beginning of a piece for The Register in which he claims the Zune might help Microsoft push more people to subscription-based services:

iTunes dominates the legal download market in the same way the iPod dominates the MP3 player business. It’s hard to remember now that for the first year of its life the iPod was a flop. But once Apple introduced iTunes for Windows, the mass market perception of the device changed from one of expensive luxury to convenience item.

In what way was the iPod ever a flop? The iPod started as a Mac-only peripheral. It sold about as well as a $400 Mac-only music player could have possibly sold. Sure, those first-year sales numbers were low compared to the numbers they’ve achieved since then, and the explosive growth only came after they ported iTunes to Windows — but that doesn’t mean Apple wasn’t utterly delighted by the iPod’s first year.

Further: In this piece, Orlowski claims “iTunes doesn’t make money for anyone except Apple”, implying somehow that the record labels aren’t getting a chunk of each sale. If that were the case — if the record companies weren’t making money on iTunes Store sales, why would they continue to allow their catalogs to be sold through iTunes. It’s quite possible that Apple doesn’t turn much of a profit directly from the iTunes Store, but I see no evidence that the record labels don’t.

Monday, 18 September 2006