In his latest Byte of the Apple column for
, Alex Salkever postulates that Apple should
duplicate its success
with iTunes for Windows by doing the same thing with iPhoto.
iPhoto is one fourth of Apple’s iLife suite, which also includes iTunes. The software enables users to organize and share their digital photos. There are equivalents on the Windows platform already, Salkever noted. Salkever doesn’t see Apple pulling a repeat performance with a digital camera equivalent to the iPod, either — he said that the market is already fragmented with heavy hitters like Sony, Kodak and Canon.
iTunes is a free download, and by its own admission, Apple doesn’t make much money — if any at all — on the iTunes Music Store. iTunes does drive sales of the iPod, however, which has high margins and therefore helps Apple’s bottom line greatly.
Salkever envisions iPhoto for Windows as a commercial product, it seems, even though he notes that it’s a free download for Mac users. Salkever envisions iPhoto for Windows’ potential market ranging from $45 million to $100 million dollars, depending on how large a slice of the PC digital camera market Apple was able to carve for itself.
Salkever admits that this idea is rife with potential hazards, such as devaluing the unique software available to Mac users. He sees the potential benefit of Apple opening its kimono wider to Windows users as more beneficial in the long run, even as Apple maintains “its cozy hardware business.”
Regardless of whether Apple follows Salkever’s advice and does iPhoto or something else, the columnist said that the important thing is that Apple should strike while the iron is hot. Awareness of iTunes and iPod among Windows users is at an all time high, thanks to Apple’s recent ad campaign, and Salkever thinks that Apple needs to follow it up with another software product that can help capture that same market segment’s hearts and minds.
“… If Steve Jobs is really serious about the digital lifestyle — and profits — selling something to the other 95% of computer users is much better than selling them nothing,” he concluded.