Thursday, February 16, 2006

Amazon Will Take On iPod With Its Own Music Player

Based on information from several music industry executives, The New York Times reports that " is preparing to take on Apple Computer in digital music by introducing its own portable music player that would be linked to an online music service." The service is purportedly a subscription service that will launch in the summer, but pricing is unknown at this juncture.

The article notes the music industry is excited about Amazon's possible entry into the mobile music space in hopes it will provide a counterweight to Apple's current dominance. Amazon will attempt to solve the problems plaguing music subscription services by "designing its own player in conjunction with a consumer electronics maker, and ensuring that the software works easily with it." The player might be subsidized as well if consumers sign up for a certain period of time.

Ross Rubin at NPD Group thought that "Amazon's plan to create its own brand of player faced challenges," and pointed out "a similar effort to create a Napster-branded player made by Samsung faltered." Rubin said, "The branded music player approach hasn't worked because of Apple's considerable iPod marketing and brand power. He did note that "Amazon's customer relationships may give it an edge." He said, "It's a unique advantage for them."

Hmmm. I'm not a big fan of renting music, especially if it's more than $5 a month. If you stop the service then you lose everything. Plus, Amazon might be good at online retailing, but will they be able to sell and support their own products? If this experiment does work then you just might see them branching out into other areas and slapping their logo on other products such as computers, cellphones , TVs, etc. And while we're at it, how about an Amazon MVNO as well so you can shop online anytime, anywhere?