SanDisk, the makers of the Sansa line of media players, has admitted that "You can't out-iPod the iPod,". In a tell all interview the CEO of SanDisk, Eli Harari, tells of their former strategy for the media player market including his idea of running "iDont" advertisements citing that iPods were for those who only followed a crowd.
Unfortunately for SanDisk the iPod fad never died out, in fact, it remains so strong that even goliath Microsoft is having a hard time making a dent in the market share that Apple commands. Even though SanDisk sold products that had more features for less money it was never able to acquire the image that Apple was able to develop with the iPod. The classic white ear buds with a solid white mp3 players was indicative of Apple, if it was white then everyone knew you had an iPod.
SanDisk was able to make some ground with its Sansa line of products, it proved that flash based storage was the best medium for such devices and Apple did follow Sansa down this path.
Other than media players SanDisk's main product is flash based storage; this market is not as strong as one would hope in the exploding market. During the holiday season SanDisk lost 500 million dollars because the price (along with the economy) crashed.
SanDisk will not be leaving the market as it is firmly in the #2 position of media players sold but no longer competes directly with the iPod; "Sansa remains a niche low-end device selling for about $99".
Sometimes a product with more features is not always going to win the consumer battle. The gurus at Apple built up a brand with an image that can not be matched by many companies in the world; iPod is to music players as Coke is to the beverage industry.