iPod Killers or iPod Wannabes?

It seems that every few weeks or so a hardware manufacturer plans to release an “iPod killer”. The exact nature of this varmint may vary, but all of them have one common characteristic: they won’t sell for beans, and they use the word “iPod” to attract attention.

The latest such product is Microsoft’s player, dubbed… well, not dubbed anything yet, since a name would mean that journalists would not be able to use “iPod Killer” in their headlines. Yet this is most likely just another in the endless stream of iPod killers that have come on the market in the past few years, only to fade away to the junk heap of digital devices.Google “iPod killer” and you’ll get about 4,300,000 hits! Including such headlines as:

  • Sony unveils colour ‘iPod killer’ (May, 2005)
  • Nokia Unveils iPod Killer (April, 2005)
  • Dell DJ: An iPod Killer? (December, 2003)
  • Can IRiver Become an IPod Killer? (March, 2005)

And so on…

But the big difference is that with Microsoft, replete with cash to burn and a marketing strategy that reportedly includes a Super Bowl commercial, is really planning to make this device an iPod killer. Honest.

There’s a reason why Apple has 77% market share in the digital music player market. This article points out how Apple has not taken the market by crook, but rather by hook: by providing what users want with a flawless business model and a seamless interface between the iPod and the iTunes Music Store.

Let the Redmond boys keep dreaming and planning to kill off the iPod. They’ve got a long way to go, and a lot of hurdles to attract customers to their new device. The press may fall for the iPod killer moniker each time, but consumers don’t.