Apple has defied the global IT slump by innovating, says company CEO Steve Jobs, who has also dubbed iTunes Music Store as a history-making service.

Jobs told UK national newspaper The Independent: "Dell and Apple are the only companies making money by selling PCs. Dell does it by being cheapest. We do it by being innovative."

Apple benefits from being the only computer company able to offer truly integrated solutions, says Jobs: "Other computer makers provide one part of the solution; we're the last company providing everything. With the other guys, whenever something doesn't work they all point fingers at each other: it's the software, it's the hardware, it's the network. With us, we make the whole widget."

Jobs believes integration is one reason for the success of iTunes Music Store: "No other company does the player and software jukebox. The others are trying, and finding it's harder than they thought."

He added: "The music companies are thrilled with iTunes. When history looks back, the service will gain recognition for being an incredible landmark in the music industry because it was the first time that online music could be sold legally in a pay-per-download model, so good and easily and fun and fast and reliable."

Jobs revealed the iTunes service was three years in the making: "It isn't easy to do the Store. We have to write software for the users' machines, because a Web browser isn't enough. And it has to be able to do a lot of transactions. We also need to be able to pump a lot of bits over the Net."

In a another interview – with the International Herald Tribune – Jobs refused to answer queries about Apple's Music Store and Panther.

He said: "Our job is to provide really great products to our customers. Why don't the other guys do the same?"