Today’s Wall Street Journal tells us:
Amazon, the world’s No. 1 online retailer, is in advanced talks with the four global music companies about a digital-music service with a range of features designed to set it apart. Among them: Amazon-branded portable music players, designed and built for the retailer, and a subscription service that would deeply discount and preload those devices with songs, not unlike mobile phones that are included with subscription plans as part of the deal.
Hmm, “range of features designed to set it apart.” Where have I heard that before?
[sound of dream-like harp arpeggio followed by a deep announcer’s voice intoning “Dateline: October 12, 2004”]
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The consumer electronics arm of the Virgin Group is introducing a new 5-gigabyte hard-disk portable music player, bringing a powerful brand name in music to the increasingly crowded product space.
Virgin Electronics hopes its slim Virgin Player, which debuts Tuesday and is smaller than a deck of cards, will rise as a lead competitor to Apple Computer Inc.’s wildly popular iPod players. Apple dominates the portable player market that is filled also with choices from Rio Audio, Sony Corp., Samsung Electronics, and Creative Labs Inc., among others.
But few of the rivals have introduced a direct challenge to the iPod Mini model, which has a 4-gigabyte capacity. And that’s the segment San Jose-based Virgin Electronics is pursuing – people who may want to tote about 1,000 songs in their pocketable devices but don’t necessarily need the whopping 20-gigabyte-or-more capacity of audio players offered by Apple, Sony, Samsung and others.
“No one else has the same sort of brand energy that Apple or Virgin has. Plus, our heritage is music,” said Greg Woock, chief executive of Virgin Electronics. “Apple is dominating, yes, but the market share that it has today is not going to last.”
Like shooting fish in a barrel….