Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Should Apple Open Up?

BusinessWeek wonders if Apple should open its code in order to expand its market. In the PC world, Apple's closed approach made it very difficult to "win the motherload of customers -- regardless of how slick its products were."

However in the new world of digital consumer markets,"while price and the ability to run a gazillion programs may be king when it comes to PCs, it takes something different to sway folks hungry for entertainment. There, it's about style, the right mix of killer features, and, most of all, a headache-free experience in which stuff just works."

The article cites the continuing success of the Apple iPod, and Steve Jobs noted the pace of growth was not only rising but "The slope of this curve continues to get steeper."

Of course the industry for digital music and other content is still young. But right now, it's difficult to see if anyone will be able to upstage Apple. Michael Gartenberg at JupiterResearch said, Apple's huge quarter for iPod sales "puts a lot of pressure on Microsoft and its partners."

Banc of America analyst Keith Bachman concurred and noted a dearth of contenders at the recently concluded CES. He said, "I was very disappointed with the competitors to iPod."

Mike McGuire at Gartner pointed out that "For two years now, Microsoft has been talking about how it has 60 hardware partners" that make music players that work with music services based on its Windows Media technologies. He said, "That's not an advantage. That's a disadvantage!" due to device incompatibility with various music services.