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Steve Wozniak on the iPod

The Telegraph’s recent interview with Steve Wozniak has gotten a lot of play online today for some reason. I don’t see what the big deal is.

He predicts the imminent death of the company's most popular product, the iPod.

"The iPod has sort of lived a long life at number one," he says. "Things like, that if you look back to transistor radios and Walkmans, they kind of die out after a while.

"It's kind of like everyone has got one or two or three. You get to a point when they are on display everywhere, they get real cheap and they are not selling as much."

Yep. But then why is this so controversial? It’s pretty obvious.

On the Microsoft front, the question, obviously turns to the Zune. If the iPod, with whatever percent of the market it now controls, is going to die, what does that say about Zune, which has just 3 percent? I think this year’s software-heavy Zune 3 platform improvements, plus the recent news of the Zune software showing up in more places, explains Microsoft’s thinking pretty clearly. The age of single-use products is coming to an end. Is the future of mobile music tied up with cell phones? Yeah, I think so.

Curiously, Wozniak also has some tough words for Apple’s iPhone though.

"Consumers aren't getting all they want when companies are very proprietary and lock their products down," he says when comparing the iPhone's closed operating system to the new Google phone's open source system which allows anyone to modify and adapt the way the phone works. "I would like to write some more powerful apps than what you're allowed," he laments.

Fair enough. There are two platforms right now that should worry Apple. One is Google Android. It’s pretty clear the first Android phone isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it’s interesting and of course anyone can use the software and extend it how they see fit. That’s a key differentiator Apple can’t (won’t) match.

The second is the Blackberry. Unlike the first Android phone, the first touch-based Blackberry, the Storm, has gotten some pretty seriously positive early reviews. I think that’s surprised some people, and if Apple had come out with the Storm’s feedback-sensitive screen first, the iCabal would have held Jobs up as the Second Coming.

So where does this leave Windows Mobile? It’s not a pretty picture. The current version of this system is utilitarian at best and I don’t see any major changes coming to get me or anyone else particularly excited. And that’s bad news for Microsoft, especially if they’re tying the future of Zune to Windows Mobile as well.

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