What Will Apple's Next Big Move Be?
Software? Mobile Operator? Or Is Apple Close to Creating a Video iPod?
Jul. 18, 2005 09:30 AM
Is Apple close to creating a video iPod? Or is it about to launch itself as a "virtual" mobile network operator, like Virgin Mobile? Speculation is rife that Steve Jobs and his team are about to seize the initiative again now that its sovereignty of the portable music market is meeting challenges left, right, and center.
There are cold hard facts at the heart of the rumors. Apple's new iTunes 4.8 version allows video play.
Also, acording to no less an authority than the Wall Street Journal, Apple is having negotiations with music labels to license music videos to sell through iTunes store.
Forbes magazine says the company has been considering taking a leaf out of the Virgin Mobile play book and launching itself as a so-called "virtual" mobile operator as a way of keeping itself as the chokepoint of the mobile music market - because that way Apple would still get income even as other "music phones" come onto the market and erode iPod's sovereignty, which inevitably they will.
The UK's Sunday Telegraph has a different take, and suggests that Apple "will begin to focus more on software than on hardware."
One thing is certain. With $3.5BN turnover posted for the latest quarter and net earnings of $320M, Steve Jobs can pretty much do what he likes just now, at a time when iTunes software is used to make 75 out of every 100 music downloads from the Net onto PCs. Even if music phones eventually erode that huge market share, Apple is in the catbird seat just now.
A "video iPod" would be just the kind of thing that would sustain the mega-success story. Maybe Jobs would even be able to afford a second mega-yacht to celebrate.