Apple CEO Steve Jobs doesn't see the iPod as a way to help convince Windows users to go Mac anymore.
Speaking this week to The Guardian's Neil McIntosh, Jobs said: "We brought the iPod to Windows. That was a big decision. That was basically a decision not to use the iPod to drive people to Macs. We’re going to use it as a music device, and we’re going to put it on Windows. The majority of iPods we sell are used on Windows."
Jobs explained that Apple's European iTunes Music Store aims to be a "really good" product at a "really aggressive price"; and characterized Europe's song download market as "very, very tiny".
He also asks why smaller companies are involved in the business, "most of the money goes to the record labels," he observed. Apple is currently the largest and is only just breaking even, and also has iPods to sell. "They must be losing money," he surmised.
Jobs also describes the difficulty encountered launching the service in Europe, a territory in which artists rights are owned by different people in different countries, with no centralized database to help new music services manage rights issues. "We had to sit down with the labels and figure all this out," Jobs said.
While Jobs failed to elaborate on his company's contentious relationship with Europe's indie labels, he said: "We are open for business now and will have time to sign them up over the next several weeks."
As Macworld UK exclusively reported this week, negotiations between Apple and the Association of Independent Music (an umbrella body that represents hundreds of independent labels) broke down last Monday morning. It's that thought tentative moves to bridge the gap are being made, but it's "too early" to say.
On how people use their iPods, Jobs said: "People are listening to lots more music. I think there is a renaissance in music that this is going to ignite."
The Guardian has also published an excellent profile of Jobs, calling him a "visionary in the industry". It discusses his birth (to an Egyptian Arab father and a Wisconsin mother) and subsequent adoption by Paul and Clara Jobs, and looks briefly at the background of his youth – a combination of 1960s-inspired psychedelia and technological innovation. Jobs' favourite artist remains Bob Dylan (despite his affectionate onstage hug with Alicia Keys at the iTunes launch Tuesday).
This report quotes former Apple CEO Gil Amelio, who described Jobs' moods as: "Flip-flopping from a soaring high, when he was an absolute delight to be around, to a mood of extreme anger or intense gloom that excluded any rational or civil conversation."
The piece ends with an amusing New York Times quote from Jobs about Bill Gates: "I wish him the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He'd be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger."
The magazine for iPod Users