steve jobs

Tech pundit Robert X. Cringely is floating the idea that sooner or later Apple is going to license the iPod to other manufacturers and get out of the business of selling iPods (you have to scroll down to the bottom of his most recent column). The fact that Stevie J. pulled the plug on Mac clones notwithstanding, here's his line of reasoning: Right now they're using the iTunes Music Store to drive sales of iPods, but Apple continues to face downward price pressure on the iPod and eventually they'll be forced to cut margins on the iPod (all of 'em) to the point where they'll no longer be all that profitable (at least not at the kinds of margins that Apple is used to enjoying). Cringely thinks that the long term profit margins on iTunes downloads are better and more scalable than for hardware, so he thinks that they'll start letting other companies make iPod clones that are compatible with the iTunes Music Store and then stop making their own iPods to focus entirely on selling downloads. Crazy? Yeah, but you know how Steve Jobs likes to pull unpredictable crap like this, so don't put it past him. If the iPod stops being a moneymaker don't expect him to hold on to it out of some sentimental attachment.

[Via Digital Media Thoughts]

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