What is it about the iPod that causes so many to be obsessed with its demise? Analysts always seem to be on the lookout for the iPod killer, whether it's a competing mp3 player or the mobile phone. The obsession spills over to the iTunes store, the relationship between which and the iPod people don't seem to get. So let's say it again: the iTunes store isn't there to make money directly; it's a loss leader to help boost sales of the iPod. And for an added bonus (to the company), the tracks' DRM help lock users into iPods, since they can't easily transport songs to another device. Back in September, an analyst at Jupiter warned that consumers weren't into the iTunes store, since most tracks people had on their iPods weren't bought from it. That's true, but it's not a problem for the company. As long as iTunes does its job of bringing people to the iPod and keeping them there, then it's doing its job. For some reason we needed another report saying exactly the same thing, as Forrester is now warning that most iPod users aren't buying iTunes-based songs, and that sales on the service have slowed down. Again, this warning means nothing. It bears no reflection on the health of the iPod, which will rack up another excellent holiday season, making Apple plenty of money. Furthermore, it's not even clear that iTunes is suffering, as Forrester alleges. Another firm came out slamming the Forrester report, noting that the timing of the sales is affected by things like gift cards, and the fact that people load up their iTunes after having received one for a Christmas gift. So, until iPod sales actually start to slow down (which has to happen eventually), can we cool it with all of the premature obituaries?
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