The Lite Side

Apple's Unveils iMusic Threat Index

- 2004.01.14

CUPERTINO- Apple Computer lowered the iMusic Threat Index to baby blue (mild concern) based on a new ad campaign from Dell which suggests that anyone who wants to purchase an iPod will have to spend orders of magnitude more money than purchasers of the new Dell DJ. Apple justified lowering the threat level by saying anyone who would be willing to purchase Dell's need only compare it with the freshly released, tiny iPod mini or the latest entry-level full-sized iPod.

As more companies have entered the digital music business both with online music stores and new hardware like the Dell DJ, Apple Computer developed the iMusic Threat Index to determine the level of threat each one posed to the iTunes Music Store and the iPod itself. At his daily briefing, Mr. Jobs gets an overall threat assessment for the industry as a whole, plus individual rankings for individual companies.

At present, the iMusic Threat Index scale has five levels that correspond to colors of the iPod mini:

  • Gray: Little to no threat - Any MP3 player in a blister package or sold at Walmart
  • Baby blue: Mild concern, signs of possible market flooding followed by periods of stagnation
  • Green: Product has at least one feature superior to iPod/iTMS, but fortunately has one fatal flaw (usually Windows Media Player DRM)
  • Gold: Possible iPod- or iTMS-killer. If form factor is too similar, triggers Apple Corporate Lawyer Ninjas; if online sales are cheaper, triggers the Simpler DRM Defense Strategy (SDRMDS)
  • Hot pink: Time to pick a new area to innovate; initiate Plan Newton; bail! bail! bail!

iPod supporters are advised to stay on the alert for possible breakthrough products and to recite the iPod Owner's Mantra when threatened: I only want as many features as can be made to work reliably.

Apple iCEO Steve Jobs issued a statement following the drop in threat level in which he said "just because another clunky MP3 player is on the market, there is no reason to relax our vigilance. We have the greatest system in the world, and those misguided souls who oppose us will soon taste the flavor of justice--err, reduced market share."

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