Apple CEO Steve Jobs is taking a bolder approach to tapping the PC market, with the iPod and iTunes Music Store, according to industry analysts.
A report in The San Francisco Chronicle looks at the alliance between Apple and HP, whereby HP will sell an own branded iPod, and suggests that having found great popularity with its market-leading iPod, Apple does not want to repeat the mistakes of the past.
The mistake being Jobs decision, on return to Apple in 1997, to stop the manufacture of Apple clones. According to the Chronicle, critics say that's one big reason Apple only has 2 per cent market share, according to IDC figures.
The report claims the Apple-HP deal: "Signified a major break in Apple's religiously maintained Iron Curtain separating Macintosh-based technology from the platform built by the Microsoft-Intel alliance."
Paul Saffo, director of the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto told the Chronicle: "I was surprised and pleased by the Apple-HP alliance. It's one of those deals that makes you say, 'It makes a lot of sense'."
IDC's Danielle Levitas said: "The deal also gives Apple instant access to foreign markets."
IDC analyst Roger Kay, said: "Jobs has discovered that selling to Windows customers opens up a total available market two orders of magnitude larger than the Mac base. As the PC industry matures, content is rising in importance, and Steve got to Hollywood ahead of the pack. He can leverage both sides of his shop – video content and computers – in his battle for dominance with his main rivals."
But GartnerG2 analyst Mike McGuire suggests that: "While Apple and Jobs have managed to stay ahead of the pack in bringing digital entertainment to the consumer through computer hardware, the two may be feeling some pressure as others catch up.
"Time is the biggest enemy. The key is you can't wait, because you have momentum. If you can go and partner with somebody who will give you this massive potential distribution, you have to do it. I don't think the Apple-HP deal would have happened five, six or seven years ago."
According to Saffo, "Jobs has more credibility in Hollywood than anyone else (in Silicon Valley), and he earned his chops with Pixar. It took Steve Jobs to get the trust and credibility in Hollywood to pull that off."
But IDC analyst Kay hints: "He might be surprised to find that Hollywood closes it ranks to rebels. By aspiring too high, too quickly, that could be his downfall. But that story's not told yet.''