Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claims that his company’s Zune media player took 20% of the high-end digital audio player market—those devices priced $249 or above—following its debut in November. Ballmer’s estimates compare to those of the NPD Group, which said this month that the Zune accounted for only 2.8% of the total digital audio player market in the five-week period from Nov. 19 to Dec. 23.
“We came into the market, a market in which they are very strong, and we took, I don’t know, but I think most estimates would say we took about 20-25% of the high end of the market,” Ballmer said in a CNBC interview. “We weren’t down at some of the lower price points, but for devices $249 and over we took, you know, let’s say about 20% of the market. So, I feel like we’re in the game, we’re driving our innovation hard and, uh, okay, we’re not the incumbent, he’s the incumbent in this game, but at the end of the day, he’s going to have to keep up an agenda that we’re gonna drive as well.”
Characteristically, Ballmer also laughed at Apple’s iPhone and its premium pricing. “$500 full-subsidized with a plan! I said that is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard which makes it not a very good email machine,” Ballmer said. “Now, it may sell very well or not, I, you know. We have our strategy, we’ve got great Windows Mobile devices in the market today. You can get a Motorola Q phone now for $99, it’s a very capable machine, it’ll do music, it’ll do Internet, it’ll do email, it’ll do instant messaging. So, I kinda look at that and I say, well, I like our strategy. I like it a lot.”