Reuters have reported that Microsoft Corp. may have a chance to take market share from the iPod as a Reuters survey showed 35 percent of those interested in its Zune device would be replacing an existing digital music player.
Microsoft, the world’s No. 1 software company, two weeks ago began selling the Zune, which analysts have called its most serious effort yet to compete with Apple Computer Inc.’s (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) iPod, the best-selling player by far.
Apple has sold more than 70 million iPods since its introduction in October 2001, and the iPod now commands more than a 70 percent share of the U.S. market for MP3 players, as they are also known. Microsoft has itself acknowledged that it may take years for its Zune effort to take effect.
Zune was off to a quick start, grabbing 9 percent of the U.S. digital music player market in its first week of sales, taking the No. 2 spot from SanDisk Corp.’s (SNDK.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Sansa, market researcher NPD Group said on Wednesday. Apple remained the market leader with 63 percent unit share, NPD said.
According to the Reuters survey, which was conducted over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Apple remained the leader by a large margin, with about 70 percent of respondents answering unprompted that they would likely buy an iPod.
When given a list of MP3 players from which to choose, 80 percent of respondents chose the iPod. Some 7 percent of those given a list of players that also included Microsoft’s player, picked Zune.
Among those expressing a preference for the Zune, some 35 percent were replacing an existing player while 18 percent of those who voiced an interest in the iPod were upgrading.
Some among the 35 percent were likely already customers of Microsoft’s PlaysForSure initiative, which allows consumers to choose from a selection of devices and music stores which are mutually compatible, Gartner analyst Mike McGuire said.
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