A timely iTunes snapshot
There is a certain irony in Apple benefiting so much from what was essentially a missed business opportunity a decade ago. After sitting out the digital music explosion begun in 1999 by Napster and pirates everywhere, Apple decided it was better to be late at the party than not show up at all and introduced the iPod MP3 player in 2001.
Many thought the iPod was the best portable music player on the market and it sold well, helped by free jukebox software called iTunes. But the real breakthrough came two years later, when Apple introduced the iTunes Music Store, offering the first wide selection of digitised major-label songs for just 99 cents a song.
Best of all, from Apple’s perspective, was that the store kept iPod users coming back again and again. The iTunes store was a service, consumers became accustomed to using it frequently, and it kept on selling almost free intangible goods cheaply.
These were all traits which prefigured the App store.