Sun's McNealy: The iPod is doomed

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Sun Microsystems Chief Executive Scott McNealy consistently credits Apple Computer for good marketing--to the point where he listed what he believes will be his own company's glorious iPod moments. But McNealy said Wednesday believes the iPod itself will be replaced in coming years by music stored in the network.

"Your iPod is like your home answering machine. It's a temporary thing," McNealy said at a panel discussion featuring reminiscences by Sun's four cofounders at the Computer History Museum here. "It's going to be hard to sell a lot of iPods five years from now when every cell phone is going to be able to automatically access your library wherever you are."

Of course, Sun has a vested interest in the view: It hopes to sell the hardware and software that would be used for such a networked service.

McNealy doesn't use his iPod, he said, but it's nothing personal.

"I just never have time. With four boys, age 4,6,8 and 10, if you don't hear anything you've got to be scared. Every moment on an airplane I am sleeping or reading hard copy. When I'm in the car I'm listening to KCBS and getting angry. My wife doesn't like it when I come home and put on my iPod," McNealy said, pantomiming the act as he called out "Hi honey" and performed a brief seated boogie.

Apple sold 14 million iPods in the fourth quarter of 2005, the company said Tuesday.

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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