Who Made the IPod Killer? Apple Did.

by Luke Wroblewski November 4, 2009

There's been no shortage of digital media players that aimed for "iPod killer" status: Samsung's P3, Microsoft's Zune, Sony's X-series Walkman, Creative, Sandisk, and so on. But with over 220 million sold, Apple's iPod still has a 73.8% marketshare of digital music players. So while a lot of different companies have tried to "kill" the iPod -none have succeeded.

But in the second quarter of 2009, the iPod, once Apple's No. 1 source of revenue, fell into third place after the Mac and the iPhone. As recently as 2006, the iPod had accounted for 55.5% of Apple's revenue. By August 2009, it was at less than 18%.

So who shipped the iPod killer? Apple did -when they released the iPhone. As Andy Zaky pointed out:

"It would be incredibly naive for one to believe that iPhone sales aren't cannibalizing iPod sales to some degree. While not everyone who is in the market for an iPhone is in the market for an MP3 player, iPhone purchasers who are in both markets have little need to own both an iPod and an iPhone."

Apple's third quarter numbers further support the story. The company sold eight percent fewer iPods, and seven percent more iPhones compared to a year ago. It's not easy to replace your cash cow with something unproven. Just look at all the companies that can't or won't cannibalize themselves and end up being eaten by new competition or ideas. So I applaud Apple for looking at their products as ruthlessly as their competitors do.

And while, Microsoft, RIM, Palm, HTC, Motorola and more now seek to release "iPhone killers" My money is on Apple being the one who releases a product that really does kill the iPhone.