Feeds

Apple touts iTunes' UK 80% market share

Under pressure

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Case in point: why buy the Rolling Stones' critically acclaimed new album, A Bigger Bang, from iTunes when you can get it much more cheaply at Virgin Digital, for example. Both stores charge £0.79 a song, but Virgin is selling the whole album for £5.89 to ITMS' £7.99 - a 26 per cent discount.

Differentiation, differentiation, differentiation

No wonder Apple stresses ITMS' exclusive content, and it's clear that such material is going to play an increasingly important role in differentiating online music services. Like the bricks'n'mortar stores of today, they are going to sell essentially the same catalogues, with differentiation becoming a matter of brand, exclusives and pricing.

Just as, say, 15 years ago, regular music buyers would inherently favour Virgin, HMV or Our Price - then the major UK music chains because of the perceived feel of the stores rather than more practical criteria like stock levels and pricing, so today they will associate with one of the music stores. But that leaves a large potential audience of more casual buyers who don't identify with a specific brand.

We haven't tried HMV's download software yet, but as far as Napster and Virgin Digital go, Apple's iTunes has the clear lead. It is, we think, simply easier to navigate and buy from and, for this user at least, has the advantage of reproducing album art much, much better than its rivals do. It's no surprise that many iTunes features have migrated to other such apps - Virgin Digital's software owes plenty to iTunes' developers. Imitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flattery...

Apple also has another, more subtle benefit: its own format. Yes, that's clearly an advantage because of the iPod tie-in, but it also differentiates its songs as the desktop level. ITMS-acquired or iTunes-ripped songs have their own, distinctive icon. Tracks from HMV, Napster, Tesco, Virgin, Woolworths, Wippit and almost all the other song services available in the UK all yield generic Windows Media Player icons.

Apple may have such advantages, but its statement today suggests it's not relying on them - or the iPod - to maintain the lead it enjoys over its rivals. Indeed, with ITMS projected to contribute a small but significant figure to Apple's bottom line next year, it has to look beyond the portable player. The competition is, at last, heating up and Apple clearly feels rising temperature. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.