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IPod Challengers Cause Apple Stock To Fluctuate

Chris Richardson
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-03-09

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A number of companies introducing products targeting Apple's iPod have caused the company's stock to fluctuate, price-wise.

Recently, a number of competitors released products and services designed to bring Apple's music service, iPod and iTunes included, down a few pegs. To wit, Sony announced its intentions of releasing a number of flash-based, portable, Walkman-branded mp3 players.

However, not only has Sony decided to resurrect the Walkman line with concerns to portable music, they've also announced their intentions to release a Walkman-powered mobile phone, giving them another device to deflect attention from Apple and iPod.

Of course, much like Apple associates iPod with iTunes, Sony's rejuvenated Walkman line will probably be paired with Sony's music download service, Connect.

Finishing off the line-up of devices and innovations Sony plans on using to challenge to the iPod/iTunes throne was the news surrounding the upcoming Playstation Portable. A report yesterday indicated the PSP would be receiving a software package allowing the device to interface and download music from Sony's service.

Apple's challengers do not end with Sony, however. Napster, the name that began the music download revolution, is attempting to make itself relevant again by challenging Apple's ultra-successful iTunes service. Napster's Napster To Go service directly targets iTunes with their "Do The Math" advertising campaign.

Napster's approach is to offer members an opportunity to fill up their mp3 players (except for iPods) with as much music as they can hold for only $15 USD a month. iTunes, on the other hand, charges $.99 per song. Of course, there is a catch to Napster's service: the monthly charge allows you to USE the songs, not OWN them. If you would like to actually purchase songs from Napster, you have to pay an iTunes-like 99 cents a song.

While these challengers may not remove Apple from atop of their mountain, they have caused investors to take notice. During February of this year, Apple's stock split. Since then, Apple's share prices have fallen 10%. Analysts cite the reasons given above to explain Apple's stock prices declining. According to PC Pro:

Since the stock split at the end of February the price has fallen 10 per cent, from a high of $45.14 to yesterday's close of $40.53.

However the prognosis remains good. Wall Street analyst, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, has told clients that he expects Apple to outperform expectations in this financial quarter.

Having surveyed 50 retail stores across the US, Munster said that iMac, PowerBook and Mac mini sales are higher than anticipated while iPod demand remains strong.

PC Pro's article indicates while Apple is indeed facing competition, analysts expects the company to weather these challenges, while meeting, if not exceeding, financial forecasts.

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About the Author:
Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.

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