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Microsoft may have thrown Apple an iPod nano headache

post #1 of 86
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Apple is notifying some of its customers this week that it will be unable to meet quoted delivery times for its new 16GB iPod nanos, fueling rumors that the company was forced to make a last minute change to the product line, possibly at the hands of rival Microsoft.

In an email to customers Thursday, the Cupertino-based company informed online shoppers in the UK that delivery of 16GB iPod nanos originally slated to arrive between September 17th and 22nd won't ship until the 25th. They're now scheduled to land on customers' doorsteps "on or before" September 29th.

"Please note that these dates are estimated lead-times only. Once your order has dispatched, you will receive a Dispatch Notification email, which will provide you with detailed delivery information," Apple wrote. "Your business is very important to us, and we apologise for any inconvenience that this change may cause."

In the same email, Apple contends that demand for the new iPod nano "has been higher than anticipated" and that it's shipping units "as quickly as possible, but cannot meet the dispatch" dates originally quoted.

That said, there's been an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that 16GB models remain unavailable simply because Apple's original plans for the fourth-generation iPod nano leading up to last Tuesday's event called for only 4GB and 8GB configurations.

As such, it's likely manufacturing ramp of the 16GB models didn't begin until just recently because Foxconn, Apple's iPod manufacturing partner in the East, was busy pumping out 4GB and 8GB models instead. Though unannounced last Tuesday, those 4GB models mysteriously began cropping up at European retailers earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the German blog Cyberbloc quite confidently claimed that that it was told the 4GB models were the result of a production fault that stemmed from Apple's initial intention of marketing only 4GB and 8GB models.

The official response from Apple was on the matter was that it decided to produce a "limited number of 4GB iPod nanos for some international markets." The statement suggests the 4GB models were the afterthought as opposed to the 16GB model, but doesn't explain a motive, why availability of the 4GB models will soon cease, or why they're priced relatively close to the 8GB model.

Separately, AppleInsider has learned that some Apple retail stores actually received marketing material last week for the fourth-generation nanos listing only 4GB and 8GB models, which they were then asked to return. Those materials were said to have priced the players in line with the third-generation nanos -- $149 for a 4GB model and $199 for the 8GB.

This has led some industry watchers to question whether it was Microsoft, for once, who caught its longtime rival to south off-guard and possibly pressed its margins in the process. On Monday September 8th, just one day before Apple chief executive Steve Jobs announced the fourth-generation iPod nano, reports surfaced on Microsoft's plans to introduce an 8GB Zune at $149 and a 16GB Zune at $200 around the same time.

Jobs isn't one to let himself be shown up on capacity claims.

"Both of these are shipping out of our factories. The 8-gig should be in stock the next few days," he said while announcing the new nanos last Tuesday. "The 16-gigs, uhh, hopefully this weekend. Early next week at the latest."



Both of Microsoft's new Zunes contain Wi-Fi functionality and other features absent from the new nanos. Meanwhile, Apple's online store in the US currently lists immediate availability of the 8GB nanos, but a 2 to 4 day wait for the 16GB models. Apple retail stores contacted by AppleInsider said they just began receiving 16GB nanos today, but only in a few colors.

If industry speculation is accurate, and AppleInsider believes the evidence supports the case, then Apple's rumored last-minute switch-up may have saved the company same face.

Even given the higher capacity nanos, the Associated Press on Thursday ran a joint review of the new Microsoft and Apple players, noting that updates to both lines have made the buying decision a difficult one.

"The Zune has a long way to go to become a threat to the iPod," wrote the news agency's Rachel Metz. "But it is getting closer."
post #2 of 86
Competition FTW !!!
post #3 of 86
If this is true, Microsoft should be kicking itself, and probably will have a corporate policy against leaks, similar to Apple's.
post #4 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnqh View Post

If this is true, Microsoft should be kicking itself, and probably will have a corporate policy against leaks, similar to Apple's.

Yup, sucks for them. For once, they would have had an advantage over the iPod nano in pricing/capacity. However, it wouldn't have helped them one bit. SanDisk players have been cheaper on a per GB basis than iPod nanos for years and they still can't touch Apple's dominance.

But the bigger question remains, why the hell did Apple think they could get away with a simple exterior update while not boosting the capacity of the drives from a year ago and not changing prices (if the rumors are true)? Do they think we're that stupid?

At least they cut prices on the iPod touch despite the lack of storage capacity updates...
post #5 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


But the bigger question remains, why the hell did Apple think they could get away with a simple exterior update while not boosting the capacity of the drives from a year ago and not changing prices (if the rumors are true)? Do they think we're that stupid?


They have been getting a way with it for years with the computers and monitors.
post #6 of 86
Finally Microsoft is pushing Apple towards competition. It's a good start. Means Apple is gonna fight back with cool new stuff.
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post #7 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by YTV View Post

Competition FTW !!!

Is only fair if the opponent doesn't have a monopoly that guarantees profits quarter after quarter. It helps fund money losing products till that product catches up and wins.
post #8 of 86
Quote:
"The Zune has a long way to go to become a threat to the iPod," wrote the news agency's Rachel Metz. "But it is getting closer."


I can walk to the end of my driveway and be closer to Dublin, but it doesn't mean much.
post #9 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by YTV View Post

Competition FTW !!!

If this is true, it is proof that Apple doesn't have an iPod monopoly. Majority, sure, but not a a control of the supply or trade.
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post #10 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

Finally Microsoft is pushing Apple towards competition. It's a good start. Means Apple is gonna fight back with cool new stuff.

Exactly, now maybe pressure from Microsoft can force Apple to implement wireless sync for the iPod touch and iPhone -- it can't be that hard to implement. I mean, the iPod touch/iPhone can already access your library wirelessly with the Remote.app.

That's one of the features that I miss from the Zune 30 that I had before upgrading to a 32GB iPod touch. Since my Zune stayed in my car most of the time hooked up with a car power adapter, my Zune would wirelessly sync while it was in my garage automatically without having to even take it out of my car.
post #11 of 86
My red 16gb nano arrived today! The last day they had in their "window". They fedex expressed it to me to get it here on time when I didn't express order it. Thanks Apple, great job getting it here on time!
post #12 of 86
If this is true, I'm quite frankly amazed at the speed of Apple's turn-around. JIT sure has its benefits.
post #13 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

I can walk to the end of my driveway and be closer to Dublin, but it doesn't mean much.

I like this analogy very much.
post #14 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

I can walk to the end of my driveway and be closer to Dublin, but it doesn't mean much.

If we're talking about a Zune 8/16 compared to an iPod touch, then I'd agree with you. But if we're simply talking strictly music/video players like the Zune 8/16 and iPod nano range, I don't see how the Zune is that far off.

The machine is built to play music and video -- there's not much you could possibly do to **** that up. The Zune has WiFi, wireless sync, wireless access to the Zune Marketplace, ZunePass subscription downloads, FM tagging, etc.

It seems like a decent alternative.
post #15 of 86
These things are selling like hot cakes, just look at Amazon.com top selling MP3s, from #1 to 30 there's nothing but new ipods and best buy is almost the same way
post #16 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

It seems like a decent alternative.

Sure... It works perfect with every computer in my house... oh wait.

Dublin is closer.
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post #17 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by gar View Post

Sure... It works perfect with every computer in my house... oh wait.

Dublin is closer.

It works on 90% of computers out there That being said, I understand your point.
post #18 of 86
"began cropped up" ????

Seriously?

You not only wrote that, but you then highlighted it and made a link out of it without even noticing what a horrible mangled attempt at the English language it is?

It's wrong in several ways, it's not like it's just a simple spelling mistake.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #19 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

If we're talking about a Zune 8/16 compared to an iPod touch, then I'd agree with you. But if we're simply talking strictly music/video players like the Zune 8/16 and iPod nano range, I don't see how the Zune is that far off.

The machine is built to play music and video -- there's not much you could possibly do to **** that up. The Zune has WiFi, wireless sync, wireless access to the Zune Marketplace, ZunePass subscription downloads, FM tagging, etc.

It seems like a decent alternative.


Agreed. I would much rather have the flash based zune. I suppose the iPod touch is better but it's way too big and way too expensive. I am getting a zune soon I am tired of my iPod and iTunes. My dad has a zune and I love it. I do have an iPhone though. I just wish it had better 3g reception.
post #20 of 86
I got my 16GB Black yesterday
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post #21 of 86
I'm really glad they have an 8 and 16gb version. I mean if you have a lot of video files, photo's 4 and 8 just don't cut it anymore. 8 maybe but definitely not 4. When they first introduced the iPhone it was only 4 and 8. I won't buy an iPhone till it has at least 32gb.
post #22 of 86
A bit off but I wonder WHY the Touch is still not available in Japan !
I think that's crazy !

Anyway...
post #23 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

Yup, sucks for them. For once, they would have had an advantage over the iPod nano in pricing/capacity. However, it wouldn't have helped them one bit. SanDisk players have been cheaper on a per GB basis than iPod nanos for years and they still can't touch Apple's dominance.

But the bigger question remains, why the hell did Apple think they could get away with a simple exterior update while not boosting the capacity of the drives from a year ago and not changing prices (if the rumors are true)? Do they think we're that stupid?

At least they cut prices on the iPod touch despite the lack of storage capacity updates...

This may give a reason why. Over a year ago, in an interview, Ballmer was asked when the Zunes woud be available out of the USA. His answer was that they would just lose more money if they did that. That was in a Tv interview. I may have the link somewhere.

The understanding is that the Zune line is not making money for MS. Apple's line does make money.

I just hope that the "new" pricing isn't putting the iPods in that same profitless category as the Zune.
post #24 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by maclvr03 View Post

I'm really glad they have an 8 and 16gb version. I mean if you have a lot of video files, photo's 4 and 8 just don't cut it anymore. 8 maybe but definitely not 4. When they first introduced the iPhone it was only 4 and 8. I won't buy an iPhone till it has at least 32gb.

Not sure how many videos you want to watch on a tiny Nano screen. And 14,000 pictures can fit on a 16gb Nano, if you let itunes convert them. If you did it yourself with a 3rd party program im sure you could squeeze 100,000 pictures easily.

How many pictures do you want to view on a 2" screen?
post #25 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I just hope that the "new" pricing isn't putting the iPods in that same profitless category as the Zune.

Me too, because these means Apple will then use other methods to make a worthwhile profit on the device. I won't be too happy if it's content or a lowered build quality.


Quote:
Originally Posted by maclvr03 View Post

I'm really glad they have an 8 and 16gb version. I mean if you have a lot of video files, photo's 4 and 8 just don't cut it anymore. 8 maybe but definitely not 4. When they first introduced the iPhone it was only 4 and 8. I won't buy an iPhone till it has at least 32gb.

The problem I have with the "the capacity isn't enough" argument is that the current capacity never seems to be enough. When a 32GB iPhone is released in 2009 we'll be reading "I'd get an iPhone if it was 64GB, because 32GB just isn't enough." The same will continue with each revision for each product. If I'm incorrectly lumping you in with the 'never satisfied' crowd, then I sincerely apologize.
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post #26 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

If we're talking about a Zune 8/16 compared to an iPod touch, then I'd agree with you. But if we're simply talking strictly music/video players like the Zune 8/16 and iPod nano range, I don't see how the Zune is that far off.

The machine is built to play music and video -- there's not much you could possibly do to **** that up. The Zune has WiFi, wireless sync, wireless access to the Zune Marketplace, ZunePass subscription downloads, FM tagging, etc.

It seems like a decent alternative.

Your comments are hard to argue with. That said, MS has abused and abandoned both customers and partners as they struggle to kill the iPod and iTunes. That's a big strike. Last time I saw WMP (it's been a long time) I did't care for the interface at all, I found it awkward.

On the other hand, my touch should definitely support wifi syncing. It's one of those things Apple holds back to keep people cheering at special events down the road. But at this point there's no excuse for it not being in there. My Apple TV can do it...

I'm not mad that the iPods don't have FM. But the Apple branded Radio Remote that physically fits the iPod touch should WORK on the touch!

If I weren't such an Apple fanatic I'd probably have a Zune.
post #27 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post

Agreed. I would much rather have the flash based zune. I suppose the iPod touch is better but it's way too big and way too expensive. I am getting a zune soon I am tired of my iPod and iTunes. My dad has a zune and I love it. I do have an iPhone though. I just wish it had better 3g reception.

Then go get your Zune then.... enjoy the Microsoft Marketplace with the point system that takes more of your money. enjoy yourself! We won't miss you!


Seriously do not understand why so many people forgive Microsoft and defend them when *clearly* Microsoft is about winning and not about innovation or even caring about their own products. Look at a brown Zune and tell me they really care about you as a consumer. Please, whatever Apple or someone on the block that creates the next cool toy, Microsoft is right behind them to copy it in the worst way possible. It's like buying an iPod look-a-like made in/from China and saying it's way better than an iPod and think the product will actually be around when the next cool thing arrives. Please, give me a break!
post #28 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Your comments are hard to argue with. That said, MS has abused and abandoned both customers and partners as they struggle to kill the iPod and iTunes. That's a big strike. Last time I saw WMP (it's been a long time) I did't care for the interface at all, I found it awkward.

On the other hand, my touch should definitely support wifi syncing. It's one of those things Apple holds back to keep people cheering at special events down the road. But at this point there's no excuse for it not being in there. My Apple TV can do it...

I'm not mad that the iPods don't have FM. But the Apple branded Radio Remote that physically fits the iPod touch should WORK on the touch!

If I weren't such an Apple fanatic I'd probably have a Zune.

Zunes don't use WMP (at least not anymore). Zunes have used their own specialized software since the 2.0 firmware. It's not exactly what I would call 100% user-friendly, but I found it more bearable than iTunes which has grown into a bloated pig over the years.

And yeah, wireless sync would be kickass on my iPod touch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nofear1az View Post

Then go get your Zune then.... enjoy the Microsoft Marketplace with the point system that takes more of your money. enjoy yourself! We won't miss you!


Seriously do not understand why so many people forgive Microsoft and defend them when *clearly* Microsoft is about winning and not about innovation or even caring about their own products. Look at a brown Zune and tell me they really care about you as a consumer. Please, whatever Apple or someone on the block that creates something cool, Microsoft is right behind 'em to copy it in the worst way possible. It's like buying an iPod look-a-like made in China and saying it's way better than an iPod and think the product will be actually be around when the next cool thing arrives. Please give me a break!

Why so hostile? I don't show blind alegiance to any one company -- in fact, I don't really give a crap about companies, I care about their products.

As for the Zune Marketplace, pfff. I scoff at it and iTunes. I buy all of my music from the Amazon MP3 store. Cheaper downloads and DRM free -- just the way it should be. And it integrates nicely with iTunes, so I can't complain.

The only thing I use iTunes for (purchasing) is for the Apps Store.
post #29 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

Yup, sucks for them. For once, they would have had an advantage over the iPod nano in pricing/capacity. However, it wouldn't have helped them one bit. SanDisk players have been cheaper on a per GB basis than iPod nanos for years and they still can't touch Apple's dominance.

But the bigger question remains, why the hell did Apple think they could get away with a simple exterior update while not boosting the capacity of the drives from a year ago and not changing prices (if the rumors are true)? Do they think we're that stupid?

At least they cut prices on the iPod touch despite the lack of storage capacity updates...

Hopefully, Apple has learned the lesson and will not skimp on specs with the MacBook/MacBook Pro updates... \
post #30 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

I can walk to the end of my driveway and be closer to Dublin, but it doesn't mean much.

I thought all roads lead to Rome
post #31 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by nofear1az View Post

Then go get your Zune then.... enjoy the Microsoft Marketplace with the point system that takes more of your money. enjoy yourself! We won't miss you!


Seriously do not understand why so many people forgive Microsoft and defend them when *clearly* Microsoft is about winning and not about innovation or even caring about their own products. Look at a brown Zune and tell me they really care about you as a consumer. Please, whatever Apple or someone on the block that creates the next cool toy, Microsoft is right behind them to copy it in the worst way possible. It's like buying an iPod look-a-like made in/from China and saying it's way better than an iPod and think the product will actually be around when the next cool thing arrives. Please, give me a break!

I agree with Mazda ! Why so hostile??

Anyway, if I were abandoning iPod and iTunes who else would I go with other than MS? Who else has a good chance of being around in two years? I like to think MS won't make the same mistake of abandoning everyone again. But I'm not going to hope for the best and go with Best Buy and Napster. Or my cell carrier. Or Kelloggs. It's not about rewarding MS. It's about self-defense.

iTunes bloated? Yeah, it could use a little tightening up. I used to think it was soooo cool the way the single button at the top right of iTunes changed its function to reflect what you'd clicked on. Like if you clicked on a CD it became an import button, click on a playlist and it became a burn button. It was truly elegant. Now the buttons are kind of tossed onto the bottom in a very un-Apple way.
post #32 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

Zunes don't use WMP (at least not anymore). Zunes have used their own specialized software since the 2.0 firmware. It's not exactly what I would call 100% user-friendly, but I found it more bearable than iTunes which has grown into a bloated pig over the years.

And yeah, wireless sync would be kickass on my iPod touch.



Why so hostile? I don't show blind alegiance to any one company -- in fact, I don't really give a crap about companies, I care about their products.

As for the Zune Marketplace, pfff. I scoff at it and iTunes. I buy all of my music from the Amazon MP3 store. Cheaper downloads and DRM free -- just the way it should be. And it integrates nicely with iTunes, so I can't complain.

The only thing I use iTunes for (purchasing) is for the Apps Store.

Same here. I have not bought a single song from iTunes but still use it to organize my library. Yes, there are better applications than iTunes but none of them make it easy enough to sync with our family's ipods (and now even Blackberries!).
post #33 of 86
It's quite alarming that Apple, a company that rarely slipped since Jobs came back in 97, is now slipping n sliding all over the place.
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post #34 of 86
A 2 to 4 day wait? Oh Noes!!!!
post #35 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

I agree with Mazda ! Why so hostile??

Anyway, if I were abandoning iPod and iTunes who else would I go with other than MS? Who else has a good chance of being around in two years? I like to think MS won't make the same mistake of abandoning everyone again. But I'm not going to hope for the best and go with Best Buy and Napster. Or my cell carrier. Or Kelloggs. It's not about rewarding MS. It's about self-defense.

iTunes bloated? Yeah, it could use a little tightening up. I used to think it was soooo cool the way the single button at the top right of iTunes changed its function to reflect what you'd clicked on. Like if you clicked on a CD it became an import button, click on a playlist and it became a burn button. It was truly elegant. Now the buttons are kind of tossed onto the bottom in a very un-Apple way.

You're assuming that MS will have good sense. What does that mean here? This is a business that's not growing for them. Look at the sales numbers.

It took almost one year to sell the first million. MS gave as a reason why, the fact that they only had one model, which was only competing with Apple's most expensive HDD based player. One model, two HDD sizes. Sounds reasonable.

But the second year, MS has had a line-up that resembles the Nano's, and the Classics. But guess what? It took an entire year for them to sell the second million. In doing so, their marketshare went from 3.4% to 2.6%.

Is it good sense to keep selling these machines, which even Ballmer himself has more than hinted they were losing money on?

I hope not for them. The advice MS has been getting in articles in industry publications has been to discontinue this area entirely.

Even though they deny it, they just might.

After all, they swore that Plays for Sure was very important to them too.
post #36 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

It's quite alarming that Apple, a company that rarely slipped since Jobs came back in 97, is now slipping n sliding all over the place.

How so? They are gaining market share at a phenomenal rate in a mature computer market. They broke into the phone business and changed everything. Despite claims that everyone already has an iPod there is still growth in that market.

You mean the problems with mobile me? nobody but us nerds know about that. problems with iPhone and 3G? a blip.

Apple has emerged as one of the most valuable brands in the world. Take a look at the quarterly numbers. Take a look at the most researched stocks.

There's nothing going on at Apple that can't easily be fixed, sidestepped, or ignored.
post #37 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

...the second year, MS has had a line-up that resembles the Nano's, and the Classics. But guess what? It took an entire year for them to sell the second million. In doing so, their marketshare went from 3.4% to 2.6%.

Is it good sense to keep selling these machines, which even Ballmer himself has more than hinted they were losing money on?

I hope not for them. The advice MS has been getting in articles in industry publications has been to discontinue this area entirely.

Even though they deny it, they just might.

After all, they swore that Plays for Sure was very important to them too.

I think it's one of those things they THINK they can't let go of. Just ike the browser, just like competing with Google. I don't see them giving up on Zune any time soon. More likely, I see them imitating Apple's intergration of the touch / iPhone with Apple TV.

It's pretty easy for MS to look at iTunes - iPod and say "what does that have that we don't have?" - and not come up with concrete answers. They think their product is just as good, and they'll spend money trying to convince everyone else that they're right. Losing money doesn't matter. They think it's important. When did the XBOX start making money?
post #38 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

I think it's one of those things they THINK they can't let go of. Just ike the browser, just like competing with Google. I don't see them giving up on Zune any time soon. More likely, I see them imitating Apple's intergration of the touch / iPhone with Apple TV.

It's pretty easy for MS to look at iTunes - iPod and say "what does that have that we don't have?" - and not come up with concrete answers. They think their product is just as good, and they'll spend money trying to convince everyone else that they're right. Losing money doesn't matter. They think it's important. When did the XBOX start making money?

The XBox.

That's an interestng question. Their entertainment division has annunced they made a profit this quarter for the first time since they released the original XBox.

But, did it really? MS was forced to put $1.3 billion aside early this year for the purpose of honoring warrantee repairs on the famous red ring of death, and other problems. When you assume this quarters costs for that, they end up with another loss, and that will continue through the future because of this. When you consider that they just lowered their prices considerably, those losses should continue for some time.

But, the XBox is far more important to MS's plans than the Zune is. At least they've gotten some traction from it. They've gotten none with the Zune.

The plans that both MS and Sony have for their machines are grandiose.

The Zune is but a bit player in those plans, and seems to be more oriented towards ending their embarrassment at Apple's hands in the music business more than anything else. Since they've failed at it, they may want to keep it going for a bit more, but, in the end, what more purpose would they have?

If at the end of the third year, they haven't increased sales, and lose more marketshare with it, they will have no choice but to abandon it. Even MS must swallow their pride after a time.
post #39 of 86
my friend got a 4 gig ipod touch.
post #40 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by techfreak85 View Post

my friend got a 4 gig ipod touch.

Huh. how?
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