SanDisk CEO concedes that Apple's iPod has won the war

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Since the debut of the first iPod in 2001, almost every consumer technology company has tried to create an ?iPod killer? to outsell it. SanDisk is one of those companies with its Sansa line of media players, but founder and CEO Eli Harari has now admitted that the iPod has sovereignty.



The company's chief appeared to concede defeat on Wednesday, stating at his company's Milpitas, California headquarters that Apple had effectively secured the market for itself.



?You can?t out-iPod the iPod,? Harari said.



The seeming admission came after years of fiercer competition between SanDisk and Apple that culminated in a negative "iDon't" ad campaign: the former actively insulted iPod owners by accusing them of slavishly following trends rather than thinking for themselves.



SanDisk offers several models in its Sansa line, with traits that often correspond with models in Apple?s iPod lineup. But while SanDisk has had some firsts relative to the iPod, such as the first 8GB flash player on the market, the Sansa players have lacked companion music store and software to present a formidable challenge to the iPod, not to mention the complete absence of a touchscreen device a year and a half after the debut of the iPod touch.



To date, SanDisk has had such little relative success in unseating Apple that its competition has stemmed from Microsoft, whose Zune line has regularly placed third in the market and has been more likely to steal share from Apple's competitors than Apple itself.



Meanwhile, iPod sales and performance continue to be strong. The company recently sold over 11 million iPods during the winter, a new unit record for a non-holiday quarter. According to NPD data, Apple?s digital media player market share continues to stay above 70 percent within the US.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 89
    ipedroipedro Posts: 63member
    Now what? They give up?



    They may not get first place but SanDisk should continue selling their players although I think the new ZuneHD will be a formidable opponent to the iPod.
  • Reply 2 of 89
    gtl215gtl215 Posts: 242member
    the great part of this article is how the sandisk CEO basically admits that their "iDont" campaign was just that - an ad campaign. Their products truly had very little else to offer besides the sole fact of being a "non-ipod." I mean, "slavishly" following the masses is what the majority of PC buyers do when they buy windows. But if you're gonna claim that your products are for those that think different (irony, much?) then at least have something compelling to offer.
  • Reply 3 of 89
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iPedro View Post


    Now what? They give up?



    They may not get first place but SanDisk should continue selling their players although I think the new ZuneHD will be a formidable opponent to the iPod.



    Agreed. The Zune HD is an unstoppable force that may just edge out the Nano.



    Seriously though the game is over for smaller players. Only Microsoft has the ducats to plan to setup an app store. Apple's ability to leverage the App store across the iPhone and iPod Touch is a kill shot to any smaller company that simply cannot afford an equivalent entry.
  • Reply 4 of 89
    chrisnhchrisnh Posts: 41member
    The Sansa Clip is a wonderful little product, coming from someone who is now on his fifth iPod. Quite simply, the Sana Clip excels with audio books and the iPod doesn't. It has everything to do with the WMA format, which allows me to download free audio books right onto the device via the OverDrive application. The iPod wants me to play by their MP3 rules, which don't lend themselves as nicely to audio books. Plus, my Sansa Clip is tiny and features an FM tuner plus an audio recorder...neither of which are on my current iPod. There's a place for both devices, so Mr. SanDisk shouldn't get all doom-and-gloom here.
  • Reply 5 of 89
    djames42djames42 Posts: 298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iPedro View Post


    They may not get first place but SanDisk should continue selling their players although I think the new ZuneHD will be a formidable opponent to the iPod.



    I was just coming here to say I hope SanDisk stays in the game. The shuffle is a nice device, but for me, I much prefer my SanDisk clip. I paid about $25 for a 2gb version last year - that makes it about a third of the cost of the shuffle. I definitely prefer using iTunes to manage my collection (which is why I also have a 80gb Classic and an iPhone), but this is nearly as light and adds such features as a screen and FM Radio support (which is nice at the gym where I can use it to tune in to television if I want). I can't remember if it has Rhapsody support, but I have a larger format SanDisk that I bought specifically for Rhapsody-to-go (note to Steve Jobs: there are some people who do want subscription music and would kill for this on the iPod).



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GTL215 View Post


    the great part of this article is how the sandisk CEO basically admits that their "iDont" campaign was just that - an ad campaign. Their products truly had very little else to offer besides the sole fact of being a "non-ipod." I mean, "slavishly" following the masses is what the majority of PC buyers do when they buy windows. But if you're gonna claim that your products are for those that think different (irony, much?) then at least have something compelling to offer.



    I disagree to a point. If I could only have one MP3 player, it would certainly be an iPod. But since I can afford more than one, I do have two SanDisk products: a Sansa for subscription music, and a Clip for a lightweight device. SanDisk does have something to offer - some additional features and at less cost. I still much prefer my iDevices, but the SanDisk devices have their place...
  • Reply 6 of 89
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member
    damn, this should be headed under "no shit!", nice of them to admit the obvious, something Microsoft can't do.
  • Reply 7 of 89
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    damn, this should be headed under "no shit!", nice of them to admit the obvious, something Microsoft can't do.



    Why would they? Apple never admitted they lost OS war, though it is obvious considering market shares. And this guy is silly - stating the obvious. Plus, they likely didn't loose only to Apple - I'd bet other brands like Creative, Sony... are selling more MP3 players than SanDisk anyway.
  • Reply 8 of 89
    igxqrrligxqrrl Posts: 105member
    IMO the shuffle is the chink in Apple's armor. Apple does not currently offer a compelling low-cost iPod.



    Of course no vendor wants to be pigeon-holed in the low end of the market. But I'd take a $50 Sansa Clip with a screen over the new shuffle and its proprietary controls, even if the new shuffle were $10 cheaper.
  • Reply 9 of 89
    expatexpat Posts: 110member
    A lot of media players are losing simply because people want more out of their MP3 players than music and video. Lets face it, even the classic and Nano can play games, and have basic apps (calender, address book). Then you have the touch, which is basically a computer for all intents and purposes. Most of these companies can't match this because they simply produce media. I don't think anyone expects San Disk to produce a touchscreen media player with its own OS (unless a viable open source option comes out, but I still doubt it).



    Now that the hardware and software is shaping up, Microsoft is really the only competitor. Apple has been in the hardware and software business since day one, and with the xBox and original Zune, MS has been making hardware.



    I do agree that the Zune HD is a possible competitor. I have seen the past zunes (at stores, never in the wild) and they seemed a lot less slick compared to the iPods. Their prices were about the same, so why wouldn't you use an iPod? The HD actually looks somewhat decent, but there's a lot that we don't know. They have yet to actually release specs, and there's no signs of an app store the likes of what Apple has. And of course, there are no prices. If the zune is priced affordably, then it could take off. If the HD is the same cost as the iPod, probably not. And of course, if it is more than an iPod, we can all have a laugh at the MS fanboys with a "Zune-tax"
  • Reply 10 of 89
    expatexpat Posts: 110member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post


    Of course no vendor wants to be pigeon-holed in the low end of the market. But I'd take a $50 Sansa Clip with a screen over the new shuffle and its proprietary controls, even if the new shuffle were $10 cheaper.



    Agreed on the new Shuffle, but the 2nd gen was great, and they still have it. I'll take that as my work-out iPod any day.
  • Reply 11 of 89
    gtl215gtl215 Posts: 242member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Expat View Post


    Their prices were about the same, so why wouldn't you use an iPod?



    the sandisk ceo admitted their strategy was to lure those apple-haters with the prospect of owning a non-ipod. That was their main selling point.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Expat View Post


    If the zune is priced affordably, then it could take off. If the HD is the same cost as the iPod, probably not.



    Or they could take a page from Palm, and make snive comments like, "why would we price it the same as an iPhone when we have a better product?" then turn around and offer the Pre with a mail-in-rebate. HA! That's probably my favorite right there. "Yeah, our product is priced higher because it's better.....but you can get your money back and it will cost the same"
  • Reply 12 of 89
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,069member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nikon133 View Post


    Plus, they likely didn't loose only to Apple - I'd bet other brands like Creative, Sony... are selling more MP3 players than SanDisk anyway.



    Well, as SanDisk is number two and MS number three, it is unlikely that any of them is selling more.
  • Reply 13 of 89
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post


    IMO the shuffle is the chink in Apple's armor. Apple does not currently offer a compelling low-cost iPod.



    And what is this? http://store.apple.com/ca/browse/hom...en?mco=OTQwMjA
  • Reply 14 of 89
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,233member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nikon133 View Post


    Apple never admitted they lost OS war, though it is obvious considering market shares. And this guy is silly - stating the obvious.



    I'd watch this space a little longer before I declare it done and dusted.



    The whole point of the iPod is the seamless connectivity with iTunes. If you haven't got that you may aswell be selling external hard drives. It would be better for the consumer if apple simply allowed other devices to sync with iTunes like the palm pre. Of course I understand that the don't because the iTunes store is designed entirely to drive hardware sales. I think lots more people would be upset about the exclusivity if the iPods weren't so great to use.
  • Reply 15 of 89
    igxqrrligxqrrl Posts: 105member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    And what is this? http://store.apple.com/ca/browse/hom...en?mco=OTQwMjA





    You missed where I said "compelling".



    Remove the blinders, and then compare the 1GB 2nd gen Shuffle for $45 to the 4GB Sansa Clip for $51, and you'll see what I mean. Oh, and in case it wasn't obvious, the Clip supports (collective gasp) *playlists*! And you can see the song on its (collective gasp) *screen*.
  • Reply 16 of 89
    steviet02steviet02 Posts: 594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post


    You missed where I said "compelling".



    Remove the blinders, and then compare the 1GB 2nd gen Shuffle for $45 to the 4GB Sansa Clip for $51, and you'll see what I mean. Oh, and in case it wasn't obvious, the Clip supports (collective gasp) *playlists*! And you can see the song on its (collective gasp) *screen*.



    Not that the screen and playlist functionality (never-mind the additional 2GB) isn't worth it but the 4GB clip is $80. You need to compare the 1GB Clip @ $40 or the 2GB Clip @ $60.
  • Reply 17 of 89
    slapppyslapppy Posts: 331member
    Too bad they don't have that automatic profit set up that MS has to fund the Zune. Oh well, Zune HD is coming soon and that little "HD" tag is whats going to take a ton of sales away from Apple. Nice marketing from MS with that little tag change.
  • Reply 18 of 89
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nikon133 View Post


    Why would they? Apple never admitted they lost OS war, though it is obvious considering market shares.



    Not have the most marketshare doesn?t equate to losing. It?s not like Apple and MS are competing in the same way for OS dominance. Apple has developed an OS solely to sell their higher-end PCs while MS is just selling an OS. I?m surprised that Apple has as much OS marketshare as they do with their business model, but no one has lost. MS hasn?t lost the PMP game just because the iPod has outsold the Zune, they are clearly still in it and their PMP has continually improved.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post


    You missed where I said ?compelling?.



    Your posted stated ?currently? which elude to Apple having a player that was previously compelling. I thought the same thing as Abster2core did. Based on that Apple has never had a compelling competitor to Sandisk from your standpoint. Which is fine, the Sansa is a great little device for what it is.
  • Reply 19 of 89
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,706member
    Well I'm sure glad Apple didn't give up when it became clear that the Windows PC would dominate the personal computer market. They kept on trying, kept on innovating, and kept on marketing. Their efforts have paid off in spades. I'm more proud and satisfied to be a Mac user than ever. The Microsoft juggernaut is slowly but surely slowing down and no longer firing on all cylinders. Even Uncle Fester is making up excuses these days.



    SanDisk should not give up either.
  • Reply 20 of 89
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,706member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by slapppy View Post


    Too bad they don't have that automatic profit set up that MS has to fund the Zune. Oh well, Zune HD is coming soon and that little "HD" tag is whats going to take a ton of sales away from Apple. Nice marketing from MS with that little tag change.



    Yeah, right, uh huh. We'll see.
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