• United States
Contributing Writer

Apple takes e-commerce up a notch

May 13, 20032 mins
AppleEnterprise ApplicationsiTunes

* Steve Jobs hits a high note with iTunes

You couldn’t open a newspaper or news Web site last week without seeing the tremendous approval of the debut of Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

As the record industry is battling universities, service providers and anyone else they can target over illegal file sharing, Apple walked in the front door and proved that people would pay to legally download music.

It’s a brilliant maneuver by Steve Jobs and his crew. Create a piece of hardware that is so attractive and usable that people will want to load it up with new music almost immediately. Then, roll out a service that lets them do that – at minimal cost. Ninety-nine cents for a song, is not too much to ask. And the iPod is the perfect springboard for this revolution. (Look for all the other audio file players out there to seek out similar deals.)

Jobs did a similar thing with Mac computers. When I was in college, everyone wanted one because they were so attractive and user-friendly. Once we all had one, we wanted it to go beyond the basic applications and suddenly we were consuming graphics applications, word processing applications, chat technology and more.  It’s a logical and powerful connection.

According to Apple, more than one million songs were sold the first week the iTunes store was open, breaking all estimates the company had set for itself. In turn, the company also boosted sales of its iPod gear. And Apple has major plans to widen its library of music – albums and single tracks.

I’ve always been a proponent of building the killer application that would make e-commerce a necessity. Maybe I had it wrong. Maybe the key is to build the killer hardware that would create the necessity. Hats off to you, Mr. Jobs.