Apple’s business model beating Microsoft’s

So says Walt Mossberg, the man with the job I envy most in technology.

I agree with what he says for the most part on the advantages of the end-to-end model versus the component model. One thing I would say that’s slightly different is that Apple is winning not merely because of the tight linkages, but because of the quality of the end product, and their huge market share.

Having lost what Mossberg describes as “the first war” in the personal computing space, Apple took a look at the MP3 player market and delivered a product significantly ahead of the competition in quality and ease of use. Even when connected to a PC (as I did with my first iPod), using MusicMatch for the music software, I liked the experience better than other players I’d considered. Once iTunes came to the PC, it made things even easier.

Part of what helped Apple get its current marketshare in the digital music market is their refusal to inflict the subscription model on their customers. They understood that people want to own music instead of renting it and delivered just that. Between that, their great per-track price point, and the minimum necessary DRM, there are plenty of reasons to choose Apple over the competition.