The New York Times has published an in-depth article on the current state of the digital music market, playing particular attention to the emerging battle between Apple and Microsoft. In that article, reporter Saul Hansell said that Apple could become the Sony of the 21st century. Though not noted by Mr. Hansell in his article, this happens to be in line with Steve Jobsi own stated goal of making Apple the Sony of the computer world. From the Timesi article:
For that to happen, however, Mr. Jobs must do what he failed to do last time: prevail over his old nemesis, Bill Gates, who sees entertainment as Microsoftis next great frontier. Microsoft is working hard to make sure that the iPod is less like the Walkman and more like the Betamax, Sonyis videocassette format that was defeated in the marketplace by VHS.
A few days after Appleis U2 extravaganza, Mr. Gates, Microsoftis chairman, paced around his office overlooking the rolling hills of suburban Seattle and recalled another advertisement that Apple made 25 years ago. "When I.B.M. came out with their PC, Apple ran an ad saying, iWelcome,i" said Mr. Gates. "They havenit yet run the ad welcoming us into the music business.
"Apple should," he added.
The full (3 page) article has much more in it, and we recommend it as a very good read. (The New York Times requires free registration.) Among other things covered is the difference between todayis battle in the music world and yesterdayis battle between Windows and the Mac OS.