Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Apple's New iTunes Pricing

Lots of big news from Apple over the past few days. On the iTunes front, the company announced a new three-tiered pricing structure, as opposed to the prior pricing strategy of having all songs available at 99 cents each. At the same time, Apple will remove digital rights management protection from all its songs. This appears to be part of a grand compromise between the record companies and Apple. The record companies sought the tiered pricing, so that they could charge a slight premium for new songs. This could help produce a surge in revenue for the record companies for those songs that become big hits. Meanwhile, Apple's consumers will be happy that the songs can now be copied onto other devices. The removal of the DRM protection could lead to a new surge in iTunes sales, and it could help fuel even further growth of the iPhone, iTouch, and iPod businesses. The biggest news, however, concerns Steve Jobs' health. Rumors have swirled for months now, and finally, the company disclosed some news about Jobs' situation. Still, many investors wonder about succession planning at the company. Rarely have we seen a company for which investors seem to believe that the performance is so dependent on one person. While it may or may not be true, the investor sentiment is very powerful.

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