Virgin's iPod Killer Dead

By Richard Menta 3/9/05

Back in October Virgin entered the official iPod race, coming out with its 5GB iPod Mini competitor. It didn't take long for the effort to fail, though, as the not yet 6 months old electronics division of the Virgin company has pulled the Virgin Player from the market.

Coming off of Virgin head Sir Richard Branson's stunning success sponsoring the quickest non-stop flight around the world, the failure of the Virgin Player shows the other side of risk. It represents the closing of Virgin's entire small electronics division that was headed by Handspring and Creative Technology alum Greg Woock.

Virgin Player discontinued

Despite strong reviews of the product, sales were probably quite poor to close such an investment so quickly. Virgin Electonics most likely was bleeding a lot of money. That shows the popularity Apple's iPod as a brand.

Competing manufacturers, like long time MP3 participant Creative Technologies, have committed hundreds of millions of dollars just to market against the iPod. The barriers to entering this market have risen dramatically over the last several months alone as have the costs.

While the iPod will eventually lose some market share over time, how much it will lose and how many dozens of of companies will be there to tear their piece of it remain unknown at this point. Virgin may have dropped out because it's continuation required the investment of additional funds over the short term. Funds that were far more than Branson was willing to commit.

Note: keep an eye on eBay over the next several months as new-in-the-box Virgin Players most likely will be cheap bargains for those looking for a good, high-capacity player well under the market price. Virgin has vowed to honor the warranties for this player if that is a concern.


iRiver H10 5GB Audio Jukebox is available on Amazon

Other MP3 stories:
iTunes Prices Too High
Can Free Broadcast TV Really Be Napsterized?
Rated "I" for Inappropriate

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