Apple Kicks Microsoft While It's Down

It's now been six months since Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) launched its controversial new platform. Windows 8 has been derided as confusing, and the software giant has received no small amount of criticism over its choice to ditch the Smart Menu. Microsoft may be about to address some of these flaws with Windows 8.1, known as "Blue," but the Windows brand is certainly hurting right now. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) is now taking the opportunity to kick its longtime rival while it's down.

In an interview with CNN Money, Windows exec Tami Reller said not to "expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon." The ball is in Apple's court, as Reller added, "iTunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It's not for lack of trying." That's something of a blow to Microsoft's ambitions for Windows 8, particularly since iTunes is the largest digital music store on the planet.

iTunes will still be available in desktop mode, since Windows 8 is backwards compatible with legacy apps. Reller was specifically referring to a "Metro" styled version of Apple's jukebox. Microsoft's big interface push with live-tiles will be undermined to the extent that high-profile developers shun Metro.

That also means that all Windows RT devices, such as Surface RT, will have no way to get iTunes since Windows RT doesn't support legacy apps and has to get all content from the Windows Store. Windows RT users and Metro enthusiasts are just out of luck.

The decision is in contrast to how Apple played iTunes a decade ago. While iTunes and the iPod originally launched in 2001 with only Mac support, the decision to expand compatibility to Windows in 2003 did wonders for the iPod business as it significantly boosted the iPod's reach and appeal. It's like night and day.

Source: SEC filings. Calendar quarters shown.

The big difference between now and then is that Apple has grown its PC market share since then, and is in less need of a Windows boost. Additionally, addressing the Metro subset of the broader Windows ecosystem wouldn't be much of an incremental gain for Apple, since most Windows devices can still use iTunes in desktop mode.

Netmarketshare's stats show that Apple's not missing a lot by excluding Windows RT, which peaked at 0.02%. The absence of a Metro iTunes won't bother Apple much, but it might peeve Microsoft a little bit.

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  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2013, at 1:35 AM, makelvin wrote:

    What right does Microsoft have to be peeved at Apple for not having a Metro version of iTunes on their Windows 8 platform? The Windows 8 has only been out for about 6 months. Majority of Windows users still prefer Windows 7. Windows 8 RT has been a complete flop from any perspective.

    Now compare this to the fact that Microsoft still has not ported their Office apps to iOS even though the iPad has been out for 3 years and iPhone has been out for over 6. Not to mention there are over hundred millions of iOS devices around the world right now.

    So if Microsoft still have not ported their Office apps to iOS yet, then they are in no position to complain about Apple for not porting their iTunes app anytime soon. Get real.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2013, at 2:11 AM, marv08 wrote:

    "The decision is in contrast to how Apple played iTunes a decade ago. While iTunes and the iPod originally launched in 2001 with only Mac support, the decision to expand compatibility to Windows in 2003 did wonders for the iPod business as it significantly boosted the iPod's reach and appeal."

    It's not in contrast at all. Apple's iTunes did support Windows on the desktop, as it had around 95% PC market share back then. It would have never become relevant without Windows support. Windows 8 RT has a market share below 2% of the tablet market, which is a lot smaller than the PC market. Adding the tablet and PC markets together, RT does not even register.

    Why would Apple make an effort to make RT more attractive? When even MS can't make it attractive enough to sell? For which share of online media sales are RT devices responsible? They do not make it into a single statistic.

    But on the other side... Why do people buy a RT tablet, when they want iTunes on their tablet? How about doing some research before buying something?

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2013, at 2:46 AM, scal2013 wrote:

    Shouldn't the discussion be focused on what the consumers want? It seems to me that they both have a large number of consumers that have already invested in either of the two platforms. If both companies thought more about the consumer's desires they would both have happier customers and gain more loyalty.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2013, at 3:24 AM, LRK88 wrote:

    When Microsoft finally launches Office for IOS devices then Apple can launch iTunes for Windows 8.XX

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2013, at 5:48 AM, crash3085 wrote:

    Considering what a pile of dung iTunes is now, why would anyone want it anyway?

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2013, at 6:48 AM, babyleg wrote:

    I own the new iMac, iPad, 2 iPhones and when it comes to iTunes, I only download free apps. I don't buy any content on iTunes. The same hold tru to Windows Store. I listen to the online radio but that's it. Pandora is #1 to me as is Netflix and Hulu. As for Office, there is a version for Mac, I bought and use it.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2013, at 9:19 AM, lowkeck wrote:

    Apple won't make itunes for windows 8??? I have windows 8 and I run itunes just fine. Hey Evan maybe you should do some research before you write another pro Apple propaganda piece.

    Besides, iTunes sucks now. Who wants it?

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2013, at 9:47 AM, Octavarium wrote:

    I like spotify.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2013, at 12:23 PM, patsaxon wrote:

    Apple iTunes is available on Windows 8 as I had down loaded it on my mother's new PC. I think Windows 8 is the best O/S from Microsoft, much better than XP as I hate the start button. Everyone needs to give Windows 8 a chance as it is so wonderful! Even though I am an Apple user, I am also considering buying a PC with Windows 8.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 5:38 PM, hembreeder wrote:

    If you are a Mac user you don't need a PC to run Windows.

    You can run it on your Mac very, very well, using any of at least three programs, including one from Apple.

    One program, Parallels, will actually let you run Windows and Mac OS at the same time. You won't be able to do that on a Windows machine of any kind no matter what programs you run. Not legally.

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