With the computer maker in the unusual position as market leader, competitors are rushing to close the gap in the field of digital music. But no one has yet introduced a product that is as easy and useful as the iPod and its companion music store, iTunes, analysts say. "They've had 2 1/2 years, and Apple has shown them the way," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research. "I suspect a lot of companies are struggling with why their players aren't selling as well." Jupiter estimates that the iPod holds a 30 percent market share, while iTunes accounts for nearly 70 percent of legal music downloads. But companies are angling to catch up on the Windows side. The first major threat arrives in mid-February from Roxio, owner of the Napster online music store.
Roxio's Creator 7 will be the closest thing to iTunes on the market — so close that it almost looks like the Apple service. It's integrated with Napster, allowing users to download songs, organize playlists, load a digital-music player and burn a CD. One advantage for Roxio is that Creator supports a number of digital-music players, whereas iTunes is limited to the iPod. Creator also plays songs from other music stores, such as Wal-Mart, that use Microsoft's digital-music format. Because Creator includes video and digital-photo editing functions, Roxio also markets it as an all-in-one digital media solution.
News source: New York Post