Apple Computer's iPod digital music player is not expected to lose significant market share in the next 12 to 18 months, despite the challenge from Microsoft's upcoming Zune player, a market research firm said Wednesday.
The popular Apple device, which accounts for more than three quarters of portable music players sold, shows no signs of losing momentum, having conditioned users to expect and buy regular upgrades, JupiterResearch said. Strong design and ease of use is also helping to keep sales strong.
As a result, Apple is expected to hold on to its dominant position in the U.S. market for the next 12 to 18 months, JupiterResearch analyst Michael Gartenberg said. During that time, Apple is expected to remain strong against competition from Microsoft's Zune, set for release in mid-November, and from music phones.
"It's Apple's game to lose," Gartenberg said. "But there will be constant pressure on Apple to innovate and refresh the product line to continue capturing the hearts and minds of consumers."
Microsoft is expected to become a serious threat over time, but it will take awhile for the company to gain traction in the market, and deliver products with features capable of luring customers from Apple, Gartenberg said.