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Nokia the Next to Try an iTunes Killer? 132

fragmentate writes "Nokia recently acquired Loudeye Corp., a digital media distribution channel, presumably to offer streaming media to providers and their customers. BusinessWeek is speculating, 'the company may be seeking to go after none other than the 800-pound gorilla of the digital music world, Apple Computer. [...] Yet the Loudeye brand is virtually unknown when compared with that of Apple's hugely popular iTunes service. This gives carriers the chance to market their own brand instead, says P.J. McNealy, an analyst with American Technology Research.'"
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Nokia the Next to Try an iTunes Killer?

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  • Nope. (Score:2, Insightful)

    "Killers" rarely work. Name me one that did work.
    • I'm curious as to why everything has to be 'the next so-and-so killer'. I for one am getting really sick of the next killer app, killer product. Business is not all or nothing (sure can be helpfule). One product can compliment another while maintaining their own market share. Sure iTunes may be large. Part of it's size is related to the # of iPods out there. Until you supplant those media players a new service won't see that much of a gain in the market share.
      • Generally, growth right now is inside markets, not in new markets.

        Apple basically "created" the mass-appeal MP3 player market. How many football team captains were carrying around the existing hard drive MP3 players before iPod?

        If you're attacking existing markets, you're attacking existing market leaders. So, everything is billed as a "-killer" because it can't exactly be called a "new thing."
        • If you're attacking existing markets, you're attacking existing market leaders. So, everything is billed as a "-killer" because it can't exactly be called a "new thing."

          But chances are, it will not "kill" the existing product/service. It would at best become a competitor. So why all the sensationalism for things that are far from sensational?

          Perhaps "Nokia the Next to Try an iTunes Competitor?" would be a better title.

    • Re:Nope. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dotpavan ( 829804 )
      Google killed Altavista and others.. it is not about who is first, but who is the best
      • Re:Nope. (Score:1, Funny)

        by geeper ( 883542 )
        it is not about who is first, but who is the best
        uhmmmm...windows?
      • Re:Nope. (Score:2, Insightful)

        True. But Google was never marketed as an AltaVista killer the way these iPod "killers" are.
        • That's because... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ruff_ilb ( 769396 )
          That's because a product has to be VERY well established for someone to talk about it being killed. Sure, AltaVista may have been fairly well established, but nowhere near as well established as iTunes is now in terms of market share and whatnot (also, searching the internet was just a New Thing back then). Marketing something as a killer really is sort of a doomed system, because labelling something a killer admits that the opposition product is already very well established and in domination of the market
      • Yup. Proof: Apple wasn't the first MP3 player on the market.
    • IE, Netscape killer :-(
    • "Killers" rarely work. Name me one that did work.

      I dunno, I was under the impression Nokia were doing a pretty good job of killing themselves. coughN-Gagecough

    • Perhaps it should be called "The Next iPod Killer Killer".
    • Re:Nope. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by iPodUser ( 879598 )
      I agree - All we hear these days is "OMG Microsoft is gonna kill apple" "Did you hear [Industry player] is gonna destroy the Ipod!". With Apple having Dominated the Market for a while now, I don't think we will see an "iPod Killer". Instead, steady education of consumers, combined with new and innovative products being brought to market, will slowly erode Apple's supremacy and bring balance to the force.
      • "I agree - All we hear these days is "OMG Microsoft is gonna kill apple" "Did you hear [Industry player] is gonna destroy the Ipod!". With Apple having Dominated the Market for a while now, I don't think we will see an "iPod Killer". Instead, steady education of consumers, combined with new and innovative products being brought to market, will slowly erode "

        Well, there's that, and there's the re-occuring theme that these companies focus on doing what the market leader did and trying to improve it. The resu
        • Street Fighter killers?

          You mean mortal kombat?

          But otherwise you have a good point. My opinion on Ipod is that it wasn't good when it was released in what 2000? No one I knew had one until the mini came out 2-3 years ago, after apple had fixed the original so it was supported on windows, itunes, and had Itunes music store. I think the problem with all the killers is that they don't stick to the same design long enough to work out the bugs and create an icon they can advertise. Take Creative Labs, they
      • The ipod won't be killed by a single, similar device, it will be killed by phones that play MP3s.
    • Every body loves "Killers" because
      the one thing people love more than a hero is to see a hero fail, fall, die trying.
      - Gobby
      1. cellphone killed pagers.
      2. Google (almost) killed other search engines.
      3. IE killed netscape
      4. Ballmer ****in killed Google.

      ok. the last one isn't happening

    • Internet Explorer killed Netscape, Excel killed Lotus Spreadsheet, Word killed Word Perfect, VHS killed Betamax, DVD killed VHS, CDs killed LPs, to name only a few in a long list.
      Where have you been?
      • Now show me an article where pundits and blowhards rave about IE, Excel, etc. being the next "Netscape Killer!!!1" or whatever.

        The iPod was never hyped as a killer, and it has pretty much wtfpwned its competition. The discussion is about the balleyhooed "killers," not the real killers.
    • Somehow, a business plan sounds better when it involves "killing" you competitors than just competing with them. It wouldn't be very inspirational for a company to announce "Our new product will compete with the iPod". "Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers I LOVE THIS COMPANY, YEEEAH, WE ARE GOING TO KILL THE IPOD, WOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO" is a lot more exciting.
    • Jason?

      Freddy?

      Ok, that's two.
    • Sweeney Todd. He was a barber by trade.
      Oh sorry, wrong type of killer....
    • Although not an iTunes killer, I have found a player that is substantially better than iTunes. It's called amaroK [kde.org]. The reason IMO that it's not an iTunes killer has nothing to do with its feature set, but merely with its available target install base. Without access to the Windows platform, the possible audience is substantially smaller. I'd strongly recommend that anyone interested in it check it out though; THIS is a truly great music player. It is to iTunes what iTunes was to winamp/xmms.

      I gather th
  • by Eugenia Loli ( 250395 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @03:38PM (#15876506) Homepage Journal
    The Nokia N91 has been one of the most highly anticipated music phones. It was one of the phones touted to be an iPod killer, as it has a 4GB hard drive similar to the now defunct iPod Mini. After being delayed for some time now, the N91 is finally here, and Mobile Burn managed to get hold [mobileburn.com] of one for a test drive. The Nokia N91 runs on Symbian OS v9.1 and, like the previously reviewed N71, it also features the much improved 3rd edition of the S60 user interface.
    • From page 7:

      Although its ease of use and the need to convert files into WMA before synchronization might still be lacking behind the iPod in terms of user friendliness, it has everything that a phone should have.

      I don't think I would like a mp3 player that makes me convert my collection to WMA.

      In an (un)related note, I don't know why cell phone companies have to segment that way their markets. "If you like to listen to music, you will not need to use QuickOffice, se we better remove it". I really want a

    • A 4GB drive?

      I can get a 4GB MS Pro Duo stick right now from Buy.com for $100. Why would I want a spinning, fragile, unreplaceable media when I can get solid state storage in a slot instead? I can stick that Pro Duo stick in my Sony W810i and play the music off it. The music UI on the W810i is better than that on the N91, although both can use a little work. And the W810i battery will play for about 25 hours, the N91 goes 10. The W810i lets you use your own earbuds through a clever microphone yoke, the N91 h
    • Do you have to remove the battery in order to change the playlist?
  • by bunions ( 970377 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @03:38PM (#15876515)
    Probably because the US cell phone market is so byzantine compared to the rest of the world.

    Every time I go to Asia, I am reminded of just how fast the rest of the world is moving away from computers and towards phones. When you have your email, games, videos and music on your phone, justifying a computer purchase becomes harder and harder.
  • by chriss ( 26574 ) * <chriss@memomo.net> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @03:39PM (#15876520) Homepage

    Simply quoting the article

    Nokia has already tried to enter the music area

    Last October, O2 Germany launched its music store, the first wireless music store based on Nokia's and Loudeye's technology. Still, the joint effort didn't gain as much traction as Nokia expected, analysts speculate.

    Nokia also tried to become a content provider, only to be rejected by the carriers:

    Already, Nokia tried selling ringtones, games, and other services through its own portal, Club Nokia. In response to carrier complaints, Nokia eventually stopped selling software via Club Nokia and converted the site into a customer community and service hub. If Nokia offered its own music service, "the carriers could react extraordinarily negatively," says Andrew Cole, an analyst at consultancy TNMG-Adventis. "They could lose revenues because of this."

    So they will enter the music distribution area, but not competing with the carriers. Instead they will use Loudeye to compete with iTMS, making you download the music to your computer and then to your phone?

    Thanks to the Loudeye acquisition, Nokia might have the technology and content components it needs to effectively compete with iTunes. After all, Loudeye has a catalogue of 1.6 million tracks and has more content rights to local music globally than any other music distributor in the world--including iTunes.

    And why? To sell more phones?

    A struggle between them would certainly be an interesting match-up. Apple sold 22.5 million iPod players in its fiscal year 2005 and could approach 50 million units by the end of 2006. But Nokia moved 265 million units in its most recent fiscal year, 40 million of which were capable of playing music.

    But 100% of the 22.5 million iPod buyers bought it to listen to music. Most of the Nokia buyers bought it to make phone calls.

    I'm not sure what Nokia is doing with Loudeye, but believing that they intend to attack Apple + iTMS directly instead of doing something with wireless music distribution seems pretty far fetched.

    • I think the lesson is: it is extremely harmful to consumers and technological advancement, for phones and phone service to be bundled. A phone manufacturer should not be subject to pressure from the carriers.

      Just one more reason for us to have our own home-made phones.

  • by lewp ( 95638 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @03:40PM (#15876534) Journal
    After the smashing success of the NGage, Nokia couldn't help but go after the one manufacturer that owns its market more than Nintendo owns portable game systems. I see nothing but success in their future, and -- god willing -- the triumphant return of sidetalkin' [sidetalkin.com].
    • I was hoping someone would mention the N-Gage!

      This certainly looks like a case of History repeating itself for Nokia. First, lets try to compete a niche market! Oops, that didn't work, let's try competing in a heavily saturated market with even more competition!

      Yeah, it's a bit different but I can't shake that deja vu.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Hehe, a nokia story, I'll mention n-gage and i'll get +5 funny" stupid slashbot moderators.

      In all, 208.6 million desktops, notebooks and x86 servers left factories and workshops in 2005, according to IDC [com.com]

      Nokia remained the worldwide leader with 32.5 percent of all mobile phone sales in 2005 (see Table 2). It now has a market share that is more than double that of its nearest competitor in Europe and Asia, and more than three times its nearest competitor in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa - Gartn [gartner.com]
  • N-Gage (Score:1, Troll)

    by lelitsch ( 31136 )
    'nuff said
  • Ah yes. There is Napster! For what reason might we, the enlightened internetweb people, need to pay 99 cents a song?

    And then Apple sold umpty trillion $ worth of 99 cent songs.

    And now everyone runs to copy them.

    Just further proof that:

    skeptics.

    are.

    ALWAYS.

    wrong.

    • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <akaimbatman@gm3.14ail.com minus pi> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @03:48PM (#15876591) Homepage Journal
      I find it interesting how every competitor to iTunes simply sets up a music store and expects the consumers to start flooding in. If they paid more attention, they might get a feeling for what Apple is actually up to. (And why they're constantly ahead of the competition.)

      Has anyone here seen the pilot episode of the new Aquaman series that didn't get picked up? If you did, then you probably watched it off of iTunes. If you similarly saw the Global Frequency pilot, then you may have found that the experience of getting Aquaman off of iTunes compared favorably with getting Global Frequency off of a P2P network. The only difference is that you didn't have any TV execs telling you how horrible a person you are for "stealing" the material off a P2P network rather than... erm... not watching it because it wasn't available via any other outlet.

      In fact, the pilot for the new Aquaman series feels very much like a the network testing the waters to gauge viewer response. Since they weren't going to produce a series anyway (it got canned in the WB/UPN merger) it made perfect cannon-fodder for this sort of experiment. Now we'll see if the execs pick up on the fan enthusiasm and produce the show.

      Or will we?

      What I think goes right past many analysts is that (IMHO) it's also Apple's experiment. Just how many viewers can they get from Internet purchases alone? Is it enough to run a series only on the net? Perhaps enough to partner with a television network as SciFi and SkyOne did with BSG? Or perhaps the results will be just enough to suggest that advertiser-supported Internet television will be the wave of the future? Either way, this is a huge experiment for Apple and content creators alike. Slowly but surely, Apple is ushering in an era of content distributed ONLY via the Internet, thus phasing out the old methods of distribution.

      If Apple's experiments are successful, they will instantly make other iTunes clones obsolete. Not only would they need to be content carriers, but they'd need to be content producers (or at least exclusive distribution points) as well! I don't think anyone else is ready for that leap quite yet. Apple may have come from behind in regards to Internet music, but they will probably be the first in show with Internet television.

      Sorry Nokia. You're already too late.
      • Sorry Nokia. You're already too late.

        Actually, Apple's probably already too late.

        If Nokia gets this off the ground, and does it right, it could be the end for Apple. And the two letter reason as to why, the PC.

        If Nokia, who last I checked happens to sell a lot of phones, puts their music store/player software on a phone, and takes advantage of EDGE/UTMS networks to let people download music on the fly... hell, that's a lot more compelling than running home, buying something from the PC, syncing it over to
        • If Nokia, who last I checked happens to sell a lot of phones, puts their music store/player software on a phone, and takes advantage of EDGE/UTMS networks to let people download music on the fly... hell, that's a lot more compelling than running home, buying something from the PC, syncing it over to the ipod, and then running off.

          Yeah, you're about a year too late, because Verizon Wireless already offers this [vzwshop.com]. And has for a while. And yet, somehow, that pesky iTunes just keeps right on going, doesn't it?

          I
          • You hit the nail on the head. Couldn't have said better myself.

            To add one more point, I think it's important to note how PCs are becoming home entertainment centers in their own right. Once a large portion of the population is able to hook their flatscreen TVs into their computers, there will be very little barrier in the home to getting TV off the internet. As it so happens, we're almost there today.
            • Which is why it might be important for Apple to try a spread out a bit. Try and get themselves and iTunes on to the devices that are already connected to the TV, already have the network connection to stream of the Family computer, or hard drive to store there own library.

              iTunes for Playstation, or Wii (maybe Xbox but you can't see MS going for it), would have to one of the next things you can happening. Might be politically hard to see Apple/Sony partnership thou.
          • "Well, too bad, because your phone doesn't have enough memory to store it along with the 150 other songs you wanted to hear that day."

            The Nokia N91 has a 4gb flash drive. It's not in the US yet, but none of the really good phones are. I only see the trend of large-capacity phones growing, either through internal flash drives or whatever SD card format is tinyest this week.
          • It's not that people (yourself notwithstanding) don't know about this, either - I can't watch 5 minutes worth of TV without seeing an ad for V-Cast. The big thing going right now is the "part mp3-player, part phone" Chocolate ads.

            The problem is that this doesn't work. You might find the idea of downloading music through the air on the fly compelling until you actually try it. What if you already own a CD and decide one day you want to listen to a particular song from it?


            My phone has a gig of memory o
      • Sorry Nokia. You're already too late.

        If anything it's Apple that's running out of time if the theories that Apple is not working on a iPodPhone are really true because that's the way things seem to be heading. If Nokia teams up with powerful content providers they are in a unique position to create a competitor to any iPodPhone. They can combine their smartphones with an MP3 player and complement that with a built in music store. Plenty of users, myself (a long time Mac user) included, would instantly dump
        • If Nokia teams up with powerful content providers

          They will go out of business. Period.

          Ever notice how Apple almost never refers to "content?" To Apple, it's MUSIC. Not content. MUSIC.

          Apple gets it. Any blow-dried corporate fuck who uses the words "consumer" or "content," describes customers using a hyphenated phrase like "content-hungry," or continues to think of the internet as just another pipeline down which they can shove products into a "mass market" does NOT GET IT and no matter what they do, or
      • Just how many viewers can they get from Internet purchases alone?

        Enough.

        Is it enough to run a series only on the net?

        Yep. In fact, business will announce soon that the mass market is obsolete, something which most people who understand the Internet have known for some time. There is no mass market. It no longer exists. The first search engine rendered the mass market irretreivably obsolete, and it's not coming back no matter how much money big business(tm) throws around.
      • Of all the corporations attempting to steal the ITMS business, I see the MS led playsforsure to be the best
        try. The idea of one company taking on Apple on this one seems to be foolish for a couple of reasons.

        1) Love it or loathe it, Apple's iPod is still the most popular mp3 player on the market.
        2) While I doubt that most consumers (well at least iPod owners) care about selection and the ability to jump
        ship, a playsforsure (or really any similar option) which allows for a number of different music store's c
        • 3) Having a choice amongst players, and more importantly, the ability to jumpship from Creative or Rio if the players become substandard is something that I personally value.

          the trouble with this is that many people (maybe not you) think the interfaces on the Creative and Rio players are already substandard, so you've offered them a choice among "second-choice" players. i know a lot of people on this forum particularly will break down and cry when presented with a player that doesn't do OGG or some othe

          • That is probably true, but most people spend most of their time listening to music rather than fiddling with playlists.
            I don't know if Apple remedy the iPod's inability to create playlists on the player or the necessity of the player
            recategorizing all of the items on the player each time it turns on.

            Personal choice is a great thing, when as you noted there are good choices. For me sound quality is much more important
            than interface. I haven't used the interface on the iPod, but the one on the Zens and such r
  • Get out the shovel and dig another grave.
  • Nokia likes to highlight how many 'music players' they have shipped.

    I can understand their enthusiasm, I have an E70 [wikipedia.org] and it's an awesome, uh, minicomputer.

    And I'm all for carrying just one box around with me, instead of many. However, the battery life isn't all that great as I'm using the web and AIM/MSN chat via 3G or WLAN all day. I'm not sure if playing audio helps.

    I'll maybe give it a try someday, as soon as I get around to buy the super-special-magic-adapter that lets me connect... my headphones.
    • I can understand their enthusiasm, I have an E70 and it's an awesome, uh, minicomputer.

      I believe you mean "portable microcomputer".

      This [wikipedia.org] (yes, THAT) is a mini-computer.
  • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @03:58PM (#15876651) Journal
    When I can buy the music I want at a reasonable price with zero DRM (nada, none, zip... not Apple's kinda-friendly-with-the-masses DRM... none) and uncompressed formats, then I'm in... and I will buy a lot of music that way. There's a few places I buy from now, but the selections are limited.

    But until then, it's physical CD's for me and all of the overhead that goes along with that. If stupid record companies want less profit because they're moving around physical media, then fine... that's their problem.

    -S
    • uncompressed formats

      Hmm.. People want to own uncompressed copies, but sure don't want to play them from a portable device that way. (Physically tiny HDs still don't hold enough data.) This means music needs to be downloaded to a personal computer first, then encoded and copied to the phone. In other words, the phone's connection to networks becomes irrelevant (for music-file-transfer purposes).

      That's fine for us geeks, but I don't know how to sell it to Joe Eueryman.

      • Personally I don't want to download uncompressed music as it's too large. I would, however like to download losslessly compressed music.
        • 128k and higher MP3's will do just fine for lossless music: unless you have the super hearing of a dog or an alien from Krypton.
          • 128? You must be deaf or have some really crappy speakers/sound card. Though, mp3 can get to the point where I can't tell the difference between it and a lossless file when lame's "standard" preset.

            For buying, I only want lossless. This way I can encode it depending on my needs. This is why I only buy CDs. The few songs I've downloaded off of iTunes (Kittie's "Never Again EP") have sounded terrible.
          • If you can't hear the difference between 128kbps and, say, 320kbps, even on a pair of crappy gameboy headphones or something, then you should have your hearing checked. My hearing is slightly above average, so I'm not the best judge of what is and is not normal, but there are obvious differences between such bitrates. In particular, bass, especially synth bass, is absolutely destroyed by low-bitrate mp3 compression, and yes, 128kbps is low.
        • Well, yea... that's pretty much what I meant.
    • "When I can buy the music I want at a reasonable price with zero DRM (nada, none, zip... "

      I got modded troll for pointing this out elsewhere in this news item, but you might want to try the new Napster. They allow up to three free, full listens to any of their tracks. There are many programs such as Freecorder out there that will let you record the songs when they play. Then you end up with nice, useful, unencumbered MP3 files.
      BR I'll never even consider iTunes as long as you pay more to "get less" in t
  • The problem here is simple. People want to be able to listen to music for at least 4 hours between charges, but they want their cell phones to run multiple days between charges.
    • And carry gigs of music with them.
      And one thing that drives me mad in all phones, even without MP3 - if you're navigating menus, typing an SMS, playing games or listening to music and you suddenly get an incoming call, you always get a 50% chance of pressing the wrong button (end call) before you actually realise you were actually getting a call and not doing your task anymore.
  • http://www.loudeye.com/en/partners/stores.asp [loudeye.com]

    Loudeye has worked with MSN quite often in the past, as well as Packard Bell and Coca Cola. Nothing with organizations known for music sales, but still a large portfolio.
  • N-Gage, and now this. They really put the NO in Nokia.
  • Maybe people are setting their goals too high. Instead of an "Itunes killer" or an "Ipod Killer" they need to make a "Itunes competitor" or an "Ipod competitor". Get into the market first, then work toward a larger share.
  • What possibly can Nokia offer me that iTunes doesn't already provide me?

    I search, I listen, I download, I jump for joy!

    • "What possibly can Nokia offer me that iTunes doesn't already provide me?"

      For one thing, they could offer standard-format files that aren't encrypted, so you could end up playing them on any digital music player out there. In other words, it is easy to think of a much better product that the one offered in iTunes (which is so useless due to the weird file format encryption that I stay away from it entirely). If Nokia improved on the iTunes weaknesses, it would truly be a "killer".
  • by b1t r0t ( 216468 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @04:33PM (#15876832)

    It'll never happen as long as they insist upon charging people for every little thing they do to their phones. I love my iPod nano, and I have never bought anything from iTMS. I don't even have an iTMS account. While much of my stuff is (gasp!) downloads (mostly stuff from Japan that I can NOT get in an American music store), a lot of was ripped from my own CDs.

    The purpose of iTMS is to sell iPods, not the other way around.

    Just look at what's on your own MP3 player and imagine a greedy cell phone company making you pay them for the privilege of putting them there.

    Note that I rarely use a cell phone anyhow, and the phone I do have is seconded to my mom's cell (since she's the one who wanted me to have a cell phone in the first place), so if I'm wrong in my perception of cell phone companies, then I'm wrong. But what I've been hearing about cell phone companies makes me think I'm pretty close to the mark.

    • But what I've been hearing about cell phone companies makes me think I'm pretty close to the mark.

      You act like all cellphone companies are the same when this could not be further from the truth. If you get a phone from T-Mobile, nearly nothing is locked out. Get the same phone from Verizon (well, almost the same phone - they have different networks) and it's locked down so hard that you can't even use Motorola Mobile Phone Tools to get your fucking pictures off of it.

    • Well, I'm looking on my "mp3 player" (actually, a Nokia 6230) and it is not controlled by greedy telcos: its 1 GB memory card is filled with my MP3's. Actually, here in Vienna, I see far more people with Nokia headsets (obviosly used for listening to music, not for phone calls) than white iPod earphones. (And as there's no real paying music service, they must use their own MP3's, too)
  • It was a good story by Hemingway, right? What does Nokia have to do with it?

    Isn't the right word, oh, I don't know, "rival," or something like that?

    Unless, of course, the Nokia is equipped to sense the proximity of the PortalPlayer chip, and destroy it with a huge electromagnetic pulse. That would qualify as an iPod "killer."
  • You know, with all of these supposed "iPod Killers" running around, you would think someone would have been charged with Conspiracy to Murder already, and scare the rest off.

    I suppose it's fortunate for Mr. iPod that not a single purported killer has been succesfully. Oh, sure, he's taken a few dings, but nothing and no-one has yet to get close to him.
  • I got a sidekick three with a 4gb SD card. I am perfectly happy with MP3 only support. I think the sound is better too and the battery life is much better. The music player app isn't "awesome" but it does the basics and the thing acts like a usb drive when connected to the computer so it's easy to manage and transfer songs. The best part about it is I don't have to keep multiple chargers around and my pockets are less full of crap. Even better when someone calls me when I've got my head phones on the r
  • They survived? Having interviewed with them back when they were "big" in media distribution nothing in their facilities struck me as "wow." I admit I'm biased having worked at NeXT and Apple but damn they just reminded me of what BSquare reminded me -- a knock off building from Microsoft.
  • Killer? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 80's Greg ( 457939 )
    I am always amused at how overdone "*insert company name here* to try an *insert market dominating / news headline catching product here* killer" headlines (and similar) are. Especially when it comes to things like Google, MySpace, or iTunes. First of all, how can one new produt or website possibly come out to actually "kill" one of these brands? Don't sell by the headline, sell by the content. The real killers are lawsuits.
  • Yeah, just like "Virgin Superstore" was a "Tower Records" killer, which was a "Sam Goody" killer.

    What is it with these "business" experts, whether writers, MBAs, VCs or daytraders who can't recognize a simple good business competitor, but have to have an overnight monopoly to be satisfied?
    • "Yeah, just like "Virgin Superstore" was a "Tower Records" killer"

      Could be. I've run across more Virgin Superstores that I have run across Tower's. Never seen a Sam Goody.
  • Anybody else remember loudeye from their days as the parent company of "overpeer," who hosted fake music files on p2ps? http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051212-5748 .html [arstechnica.com] Well, they are forever on my shit-list for that, and now nokia is too. I still don't understand why someone would pay a dollar a song for poor-quality .mp3s when the actual CD is about the same price (cheaper used). Think I'll be stickin to allofmp3 and my good ole ipod.
  • Have they forgotten nGage so soon??
  • if MS can maintain a monopoly with arguably the worst OS currently available in computer space, Apple can maintain a monopoly with the arguably the best music store/player combo with ease. There will be no iTunes killer - that's just not possible right now.
  • by Renesis ( 646465 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:26PM (#15877710)
    I remember when OD2 was 3 guys in a bedroom, and I was one of them.

    The main failure I see in OD2's business model was that it ran a "white label" system. It powered the music stores for brands that didn't give a shit about music. Packard-Bell is a great example. They barely give a shit about building computers, but they know even less about music. Wanadoo (now Orange) was (is?) one of the biggest customers, but again - what does an ISP care about music? Nothing. So none of these partners really cared about their music portals or did anything with them. They just let them rot away.

    MSN is the biggest customer in terms of users, but they never really cared enough to do anything useful - and they showed just how much they cared when they started installing big Flash ads all over their site. The ad revenue probably brought them more than the music ever did.

    Apple made the right decision by building a single brand. Of course, this requires some serious marketing outlay which white-labelling doesn't (your partners spend the marketing beans), but in the end produces a much richer experience IMO.

    Why does Coca-Cola need it's own music store? It's a trick question - they don't. Coca-Cola had their own store built around OD2's platform, but now they've abandoned it and just have a page inside iTunes. THAT is a better combination of brands.

    OD2 Loudeye also pissed their money away buying OverPeer. I kept asking the Korean tech guys - "How will you keep getting more IPs as your servers get blocked?" "Ah, it's our secret" they said. I never did find out their "secret" for all the good it did them. Never start a war against the hardcore pirates on the Internet. They're cleverer than you. And plus, they're 12 years old and have far too much disposable time to fuck you up.

    Am I surprised Nokia bought OD2? A bit. I worked on the N91 project with Nokia a couple of years ago, back in the days when they were pissing themselves with fear over a Apple/Moto iPhone which still hasn't *really* arrived. The idea of Nokia phone which does music is fairly sound - the main idea of course is that you cut out the PC element. You buy and download the songs straight to your phone (and you can sync them back to your desktop too if you want). The spanner in the works, as Apple found to their detriment, is the networks. Apple tried to do it without the networks and they demanded their cut. They want a chunk of every track sold. The problem is, Apple (like all the other music stores with fixed pricing) only makes a couple of cents on most tracks - there is no room for a cut for the networks. And the networks need to pay for all that bandwidth you'll use downloading your songs.

    What have Nokia actually bought? 5 pieces of paper. The contracts with all the record labels (majors + indies). I wouldn't be surprised if that was all they really wanted from the deal. It saves them a whole bunch of work in negotiating contracts and paying royalty advances.

    Do I think Nokia will succeed? Maybe. I've been inside the belly of the beast though. Nokia have gone seriously downhill in recent years. The quality control on their software is shoddy. Their desktop software has always been horrendous. A lot of their software design is outsourced. Internally their organisational structure seems to be dragging them down. I really don't hold out much hope.

    My money is on Apple. They have everything, end-to-end. If they really are building their own phone from scratch with their own UI then they'll end up winning this game. The only thing they lack compared to Nokia is the relationships with the mobile networks, but money can solve that problem - as Apple have hinted previously about setting up their own virtual network.

    Caveat: I'm a OD2 Loudeye shareholder. My shares are barely worth the paper they're written on :)
  • Like most on here, this thing sounds like it will totally fall on its face, just like all the other "iPod killers". The thing is, will having a lot of high-profile iPod clones start to make the Zune look like just another bogus clone (which it really is)? I think it might. I think having all these new products screaming for attention are just going to make people put everything not iPod into the same catagory... that being the "ignore" list.
  • I swear, if I had a dollar for every iPod/iTunes killer that was announced, I could afford an iPod with iTunes.
  • The only reason I don't use my current Nokia phone to play MP3s is that it's too quiet.
    When I'm on a bus or walking next to a busy road, it just doesn't have the volume to shut everything around me out.
    I don't know if it is done to save power, but any music player I buy will need to have a very loud maximum volume without the use of an external amp.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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