Apple’s continued success in the music player market has galvanised some of its key foes to work more closely together.

Underlining that point, Business Day reports statements from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. Gates has said Microsoft will support Creative Technology and others in their attempt to derail Apple’s success in the market.

“The iPod has done great marketing and great design”, Gates said, adding, “we have to do something with our partners that’s just better”.

Apple dominance faces threats

Despite storm clouds gathering around its enemies’ camps, Apple defied Wall Street projections in its last quarter. It shipped in excess of six million iPods in just thirteen weeks, and retains command of 70 per cent of the growing music player market.

iTunes Music Store’s share of the legal music download market continues to grow. Apple now commands 80 per cent of that market in the US, the company revealed last night, citing statistics from Neilsen SoundScan.

The company revealed that its “Other Music Products category”, a catch-all term for public accounting purposes which includes iTunes sales along with iPod service and accessory sales, saw a 230 per cent year-on-year spike to hit $243 million in revenue.

The drive for competing firms to make alliances to dent Apple’s market share is clear. DBS Vickers analyst Don See told Business Day that Microsoft may even acquire Creative Technology to spearhead its attempt to ensure Windows-dominance of the digital music market.