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August 7, 2006

Apple rounds out iPod domination of the US auto market

Posted by David Hunter at 1:52 PM ET.

While we await whatever Steve Jobs is going to introduce today at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, it’s worth noting this item from last week from May Wong at the AP:

In the latest boost to its dominance in portable music players, Apple Computer Inc. is teaming with General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. to integrate the iPod into car audio systems.

GM and Ford are the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 automakers, and the new alliances mean the iconic audio gadget will now be compatible with more than 70 percent of the new 2007 model vehicles sold in the United States, Apple said Thursday.

GM and Mazda will offer iPod integration on all new models, Apple said, and Ford will offer it on many of its Ford and Lincoln Mercury models later this year.

Germany’s BMW AG two years ago incorporated iPods directly into its car audio systems, allowing users to plug the music player into an adapter that goes into the glove box and access the iPod’s music library through the car’s standard controls.

By last fall, as sales of the iPod continued to surge, Apple had signed similar deals with about a dozen more car companies, including Acura, Audi, Ferrari, Honda, Nissan, and Volkswagen.

Follow the link for more details, but while Ford, for instance, offers a token connection for other players, if you want a personal media player integrated with your car’s controls, it has to be an iPod. Michael Gartenberg:

This is good news for Apple, not so good for the other folks out there. Let’s face it, you buy a new Mercedes with an iPod connector and you can control it via the steering wheel, how likely are you to buy something else… like a Zune?

One reporter asked me why it took so long to get Ford and GM on board. The real question is how did Apple manage to get this done so quickly.

Microsoft had been trying out the “industry standard media player dock” ploy as a counter to the iPod hegemony, but that seems to have been forgotten with the excitement over the Zune which apparently has a proprietary connector too.

Filed under Apple, Argo, Coopetition, Microsoft, Standards, Zune

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