Lock-in via the ecosystem

Well I was somewhat dissappointed in the iPod announements on Tuesday.  As I blogged earlier, I lost my 30 GB 4G iPod about 10 days ago and I was waiting for the new iPod announcement before deciding what to replace it with.  If Apple had come out with the widely anticipated ‘true’ video iPod that would have been the default choice.  As it is they introduced what many have called the 5 1/2 Gen iPod with no wide screen (although the spotlight like search is a nice feature that I would like to have).  So you would think now that since I am not all that impressed with the new iPods and we are probably 6 months away from another refresh, that I would start to look elsewhere.
While I am excited about the Zune (supposed to be announce today from what I’ve read elsewhere), I am still strongly leaning toward the iPod.  Why, you ask?  One word: accessories.  Not the ones I could buy, but the ones I already have.  I have a case, a dock, 3 synch cables and an FM transceiver.  In all about $200 worth of plastic and fabric.  I know I could replace all of these with other items that fit a different player from Sansa or Crearive, but that makes the switching cost that much higher.  Instead of a Sansa player being $200 comapred to $250 for the same from Apple, the Sansa is $400 because of the accessories I would have to replace.
In some small way the fact that an iPod (however unimpressed I may be) is still in the lead for my next MP3 player, speaks to the power of the ecosystem surrounding your product.  Don;t get me wrong, I bought my first iPod because it was the best product…however, I will probably by my next iPod because of the investment I have made in the supporting cast.






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