Who will slay iPod?

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Sony's Playstation Portable device due out in March has been touted as an "iPod killer." Nokia and Motorola's next-generation wireless phones with music capabilities are said to make them "iPod killers." And a raft of MP3 players from Dell's DJ to Rio's Carbon to Creative's Zen have bragged, born or been tagged with the moniker "iPod killer."

In the cutthroat world of music players, it's apparently not enough to be simply "the next iPod"-the competition actually has to kill them. Just what is it about the iPod that's making the consumer electronics industry so bloodthirsty? It's probably not the iPod devices themselves so much as Apple's big, fat and mostly unchallenged market share of over 90% causing the rampant murderous thoughts.

"Competitors have been promising iPod killers for a long time, but no one really has an iPod competitor much less an iPod killer," said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. "Although digital music is still a fairly nascent market, the Apple brand is quickly becoming it." The desire to best the top player, and establish a competing device or brand in the top spot is only natural.

Of course, popularizing a marketing term like "iPod killer" only reaffirms and could even advance that dominance. As one industry observer pointed out, "It's part wishful thinking , but also part compliment."

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