E-Commerce Times has published an article on the challenges facing Apple with its iTunes Music Store, specifically in the Windows market. The article focuses in part on the format issues between Appleis AAC/FairPlay and Microsoftis Windows Media Audio (WMA) format, and the issues that brings to the table. From the article:
This is not the first time Apple has stood at the forefront of a nascent market. The companyis original Macintosh operating system was the first mainstream OS to use a graphical user interface (GUI), back when Microsoft was still peddling MS-DOS in the 1980s. In a fateful and now-legendary decision, Apple chose not to license its OS to other hardware manufacturers, allowing Microsoft the opportunity to develop a Mac knockoff GUI known as Windows, which now runs on more than 95 percent of all PCs.
Unlike Microsoft, Apple is not primarily a software developer. It designs and manufactures its own hardware. Nevertheless, despite consistent critical and consumer raves about its products, Appleis market share has hovered around 3 percent of the PC market for several years. At this point, it seems, it would take a herculean effort to achieve significant expansion against Microsoftis entrenched dominance.
Appleis foray into the digital music space suggests it is not betting its future simply on its computers and attendant software. But will the company drop the ball again, or will it move quickly to leverage its installed base of Windows iPod users into a Windows foothold for iTunes? If it does, it conceivably could dominate the online music market.