Thursday, May 12, 2005
Posted by Ed Hansberry in "NEWS" @ 12:00 PM
"Microsoft founder Bill Gates sees mobile phones overtaking MP3s as the top choice of portable music player, and views the raging popularity of Apple's iPod player as unsustainable, he told a German newspaper."As good as Apple may be, I don't believe the success of the iPod is sustainable in the long run," he said in an interview published in Thursday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung."You can make parallels with computers: Apple was very strong in this field before, with its Macintosh and its graphics user interface -- like the iPod today -- and then lost its position," Gates said."
The article goes on to say MS is working on getting its Windows Mobile operating system in the hands of 40 device makers. I agree with his assessment. MP3 players as a group are going to be replaced by functionality in mobile phones. The early adopters are going to want to keep the 20GB and larger music players at their disposal for a while, but when you can currently stick a 1GB SD card in a phone and get 40 hours of music out of that for around $75, who is going to bother with an external device? I am sure there are phone makers right now putting 1GB embedded memory in phones so you don't have to bother buying a card. Couple that with high speed wireless connections where you will be able to download directly into the phone and you have an incredible combination.
Of course, the flip side is Apple may also be working with phone makers to merge the iPod and wireless technologies. If they aren't working on something to protect the future of the iPod brand, it will be relegated to a small corner of the portable music market, just like the Mac was relegated to a dark and dusty corner of the computing market.