The Day Dell's Music Died

Since everyone's probably talking about Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) changes to its iPod product lineup today, people might not have noticed that Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) quietly pulled most of its own MP3 players from the market, according to a CNET report on Monday. Dell's decision is hardly surprising; these days, the iPod is the hot MP3 player, end of story.

Dell will no longer sell any of its DJ digital music players, except for its $99 512MB flash music player, the DJ Ditty. Dell's 5GB Pocket DJ, 20GB Dell DJ20, and 30GB Dell DJ30 are all going the way of the dodo.

For Apple -- once a computer specialist with a small but loyal following -- the iPod's runaway popularity must feel good. Sticking it to Dell in the MP3-player business must feel good, too. (Don't forget, last summer Fool contributor Tim Beyers commented on rumors that Apple's computers would include Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) chips, figuring that Dell might be Apple's real target.)

Though computers remain its primary focus, Dell is trying to branch out into consumer electronics of all types. However, its music-player line was widely regarded as a pale shadow of the iPod. Dell had plenty of competition among other would-be iPod rivals: Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) , Creative (Nasdaq: CREAF  ) , and SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK  ) all have their own players with various features, but none has gained the iPod's pop-culture status.

As Dell's DJ attempt illustrates, sometimes a good run is better than a bad stand. No one is certain how the long-awaited convergence of the "digital living room" will affect consumer electronics manufacturers. For now, the iPod seems to have a lock on the digital music world, but the digital age is still in its infancy. Though it's ceding this sector of the market, Dell certainly still has an eye toward the future.

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CNET is aMotley Fool Rule Breakerspick and Dell is aMotley Fool Stock Advisorselection. To see what other companies David and Tom Gardner have highlighted as great stocks for the long term, click here for a 30-day free trial.

Alyce Lomaxdoes not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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