Is the iPod dominant -- or dead meat?
What's iPod's market share? It depends on whom you ask. NPD Group says that Apple has 75 percent of the music-player market. But wireless consultant and author Tomi Ahonen says that iPod's true share is a mere 14 percent -- and plummeting fast.

How could there be such a vast discrepancy? Ahonen includes music-capable cell phones in his count, a category that's exploding as Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, LG, and others put MP3-playing features in more and more of the phones they sell. The Unofficial Apple Weblog, however, points out a massive flaw in Ahonen's analysis: All iPods are used to listen to audio content, while only a small percentage of cell phones are used for that purpose. According to one study, not quite one out of five cell-phone owners use their phones to listen to music.

Still, there are clearly some cell-phone-using music fans out there: More than half of the songs purchased digitally are downloaded directly to cell phones, according to music-industry statistic -- and that figure doesn't even take into account the vastly larger market for ringtones.. Last year in Japan, wireless downloads counted for 96 percent of of the $211 million digital-music market.

If other countries follow Japan's lead, the iPod's reign could be short-lived indeed.

Posted by Owen Thomas 11:53 PM 5 Comments comment | Add a Comment

I never saw the hype in IPODS even though I own one its just a money making product. You buy the cover which is $30, then a loading dock, and so on the list is endless. It's time new products that are cheaper are out. For sakes a kid doesnt need a $300 machine, for half the price get a PSP which gives you videos with a much easier handling and buttons.
Posted By Lil Morristown NJ : 4:33 PM  

If half of the songs downloaded digitally are downloaded directly to cell ohones, then ringtones must be the reason for that. If you exclude ringtones, then I suspect only a sliver (pun intended) of the music download business is downloaded directly to cell phones. The day that cellphones supplant the Ipod as the preferred portable music device will be the day Apple announces its iphone. Presently, virtually all cell ohones on the market represent a poor integration of hardware and software. Expect more from Apple.
Posted By Jeff, Atlanta, Georgia : 4:53 PM  

Apple is right around the corner of introducing an ipod phone. With the consumer loyalty the ipod has created, i don't think there dominance is as susceptible as described.
Posted By Shawn, NYC NY : 5:01 PM  

I have a few iPods and a cell phone that plays mp3s. To me there is no comparison. The cell phone holds only a few songs, has barely enough battery life, the online song purchases are more expensive and it requires a special set of earphones, with smaller jack. I use my iPods for running, biking, cleaning, and while at work, I've used the cell phone to play music maybe 10 times in 8 months.
Posted By Tom, Valley Forge, PA : 10:26 PM  

Hi all at the Browser blog

I wanted to comment on the ringing tones. The original posting is correct. The global music publishers industry association, IFPI, reports actual track sales. The worldwide ringtone market is 12 times larger than iTunes, at 5.1 BILLION dollars worldwide. So no, ringing tones were not part of the IFPI numbers.

Two other quick comments. America is particularly behind on this trend, and Korea, Japan and Scandinavia most ahead on this. So if worldwide the phenomenon only emerged last year in 2005, and you personally have not yet witnessed it (in America I presume) this makes a lot of sense. It hasn't reached American shores yet.

Apple itself reports that its USA market share is 77%, its second best market is Australia with 58%, in the UK their share is 40%, in Germany 21% and France 11%. In countries like Italy, Spain, Russia, China the iPod market share is so low that Apple won't specify. This from Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer statements on April 19 quarterly conference call.

But now assume for a moment that the numbers reported are right? In 2004 Apple owned the MP3 player market with over 80% market share. Last year 2005 the phonemakers like Nokia, Motorola, SonyEricsson jumped into the game. Today they outsell iPods at more than 6 to 1. Worldwide everywhere people are voting with their dollars, moving from iPods to musicphones. iPod sales take their first tumble, from 14.1 million last Christmas quarter to 8.5 million first quarter and now 8.1 million second quarter.

There is a HUGE shift happening VERY FAST. Apple is losing the mass market. Their iPods are the best music devices but like Rolls Royce or Ferrari make best cars, they aren't the best-SELLING cars...

Tomi Ahonen :-)
Posted By Tomi Ahonen, London : 11:56 AM  

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