- Feb 3, 2002
It's probably a good idea to take this survey with a large grain of salt, but I'd be interested to see what numbers they would get with follow-up surveys.BERLIN: With a 75 percent share of the U.S. market for portable digital music players and an 85 percent share of paid-for music downloads, Apple's iPod-iTunes combination seems to have a lock on the business.
That is why Steve Wilson, a consumer electronics analyst, was so surprised this month when he read the results of a survey by ABI Research of 1,725 randomly chosen owners of digital media players. To Wilson's shock, 58 percent of iPod owners told ABI they were likely to buy a Zune, the new player Microsoft plans to start selling in the U.S. market on Tuesday, and in 2007 in Europe.
"The idea you get from Apple is that everybody loves iPod and iTunes and that they've got the market sewn up," said Wilson, an ABI analyst in Boston. "But this shows that iPod users aren't very loyal and the market is up for grabs."
"On its face, I don't think the first incarnation of Zune will have much of an impact," said Jason Armitage, an analyst with International Data Corp. in London. "They still have a lot of catching up to do with Apple, and their first go round will probably not send the competition running."
But some analysts say that Microsoft will tap its vast resources to eventually turn Zune into a contender.
Perhaps the Zune will end up like the Xbox - it will really go "mainstream" with the second generation.