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Battling Back Against the iPod

Techstination feature for Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Battling back against the iPod. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's design and interface convinced millions of consumers to buy Apple iPods…even though they have often cost more than music players that have had more capacity and better battery life. Now Apple is going after the low end of the market…with the flash memory based iPod Shuffle…priced as low as 99 dollars for a 512 megabyte model. At Rio….a company that came out with the original portable MP3 player in 1998….vice president Dan Torres acknowledges Apple is on a roll…

"First off, they definitely have come at this market with …the key message there is price and style. But obviously on price, we think the market has been heading there. We've been tracking where flash pricing has been going. Looking at this product, it's kind of a batteries not included product in terms of…there's things that seem to be missing."

Such as an LCD display for song information and selection….and perhaps just as important….a memory card slot. Still…Apple's pricing for the Shuffle has undercut Rio and other rivals. Torres says the company will be playing catch up…

"In terms of what they've brought to market, this is not a significant change other than just accelerating the pricing actions for the market, which were already happening."

Rio has been selling a 256 megabyte player…with about half the memory of the 99 dollar iPod Shuffle….for 135 dollars. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.