Apple May Need To Play Better With Others
January 14, 2008 at 5:29 AM (PT)
If this year's MACWORLD CONFERENCE & EXPO follows form, APPLE CEO STEVE JOBS will pull the curtain back on a new device or two that will capture the consuming public's fancy, reports BUSINESSWEEK.COM. Early word, for example, is that he'll announce a slick new sub-notebook that, if successful, could help make mainstream a product that until now has occupied only a niche. That's what APPLE did for digital music players with the iPOD and for smartphones with the IPHONE.
But for APPLE to make the most of its peerless products, experts say it will need to improve relations with the folks who create the content to run on them, especially after the series of spats that marked 2007. Recall the refusal by UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, the world's largest record label, to re-up its long-term contract to supply music to APPLE's iTUNES STORE, or the move by GENERAL ELECTRIC's NBC UNIVERSAL to pull its TV shows from iTUNES.
Everyone is flexing their muscles to prove they don't need each other.
Despite the setbacks, APPLE still maintains more than 70% of the online music business and, by BUSINESSWEEK estimates, controls nearly the same share in online video download sales. Still, an inability to play well with the entertainment industry could hurt APPLE in the long term. The recording industry, for example, could move further into the arms of competing online distributors, such as AMAZON.COM. As APPLE hopes to push deeper into video distribution and playback, it will need to at least match the access of a slew of rivals to the world's films, shows and other forms of video. "Everyone is flexing their muscles to prove they don't need each other," says eMarketer analyst PAUL VERNA. "But the truth is, they do."