Thursday, June 30, 2005

iTunes Phone Under Your Tree

The much-anticipated iTunes cell phones from Motorola and Apple are due to roll out by the Christmas shopping season, according to Businessweek. There is no doubt in my mind that the iTunes phones will are a necessary extension of the iTunes empire. What I don't agree with is the following analysis:

The longer Cingular, Motorola, and Apple wait to get into the market, the more they risk a rival catching fire. On June 15, Napster (NAPS ) and telecom-gear maker Ericsson (ERICY ) announced that they would offer a wireless music service for operators to use.

Meanwhile, startup Mercora, headed by a cofounder of antivirus-software maker McAfee (MFE ), already allows cell-phone users to listen to songs for free. And satellite radio operators XM Satellite Radio (XMSR ) and Sirius (SIRI ) are looking to offer music radio for cell phones. These are just some of the services that could roll out within a year.
As long as iTunes for Mobiles is introduced within two or three months after the startup music stores, Apple probably won't have to worry too much. Why? It seems that the stores that BW touts as iTunes competitors aren't even off the ground yet. It'll take months or perhaps years for them to get online, establish a brand and capture significant market share. Apple and Motorola's tie-up with Cingular will have an established brand, marketing muscle and be leveraging existing infrastructure. If Apple gets this off the ground by 2005Q4, it will absolutely kill competitors.

By the way, it is nice to see Apple and Motorola playing nice. And it is really nice to see Motorola rewarding Cingular for its past loyalty with the V3 RAZR.

No comments: