Apple's Jobs nixes iPod partnerships

Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs publicly dismisses an overture from RealNetworks to allow Apple's popular digital music player to work with music services other than iTunes.

CUPERTINO, Calif.--Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs publicly dismissed on Thursday an overture from RealNetworks to open up the iPod, saying such a move does not make business sense.

Speaking at Apple's annual shareholder meeting here, Jobs said there would be both an initial and ongoing cost to allowing the iPod to work with other music services.

"To be honest, it's just not worth it," Jobs said, noting that RealNetworks has made a number of overtures to Apple and adding that Real's music service has been "less than successful."

Although some at the meeting questioned Apple's declining market share , Apple executives noted that the company has chosen not to compete in the low-end desktop PC market. One executive justified the move, noting that that the company chose instead to focus on the iPod, which has been highly profitable for the company and has a 40 percent to 50 percent unit share of the market.

Apple also defended the decision to close a Sacramento, Calif.-area manufacturing plant, saying it was in shareholders' best interests.

"We could save the company over $3 million per quarter by doing this," said Tim Cook, Apple's executive vice president of sales and operations.

Also at the meeting, Apple shareholders elected the company's slate of directors and ratified the company's choice of KPMG as auditor. The California Public Employees' Retirement System, an influential shareholder, had said earlier in the month that it would withhold votes for Apple's slate of directors, but Apple said about 82 percent of shareholders who voted prior to the meeting approved the management-backed slate.

Shareholders also voted down a union-backed proposal designed to put limits on executive pay. Apple management had opposed the measure.

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    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.


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