Apple’s Pie in the Sky

Barron’s Online
By Bill Alpert Published: June 29, 2005

THE IPOD SHOWS WHY Apple Computer is a great company. With elegant hardware and friendly software, Apple’s portable player made a profitable business out of digital music — a trick that had eluded record labels and such erstwhile leaders as Sony, Microsoft, Real Networks, and Napster.

Some Apple bulls argue that the shares could go 50% higher, noting how Apple has held its turf against the “iPod killers” of Sony and the digital-music schemes of Microsoft (MSFT). Little noticed by these iPod zealots, however, is a looming threat from overhead with a footprint as large as the continent: Wireless phone companies are teaming up with the music industry to make most mobile phones into music players.

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