Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Calls of f Note Part 1

- Piper Jaffray comments on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) saying that as has been the case for the last several years of CES, they did not see any devices that we believe could prove to be significantly competitive with the iPod. Firm continues to believe Microsoft's Zune is the best iPod alternative and they continue to be surprised at the lack of a compelling offering from consumer electronics giants like Sony.

There were no announcements related to Zune at CES, but Microsoft (Bach) did say that Microsoft's and Apple's paths will cross more in the future in this category. Regarding new/updated Zune players, the company (Bach) indicated that an annual release cycle makes sense, with annual pre-holiday releases. Also, Bach stated that the company wants to get a music player right before looking into multi-function devices (i.e., cell phone/MP3 player combo).

Sony did not release any compelling MP3 players at CES. Creative did not release any new devices at CES (at least through the first day of the show). Employees of Creative that the firmspoke to at the booth were themselves surprised that the company has not had a faster product release schedule, citing that Creative's last release in the HDD MP3 player space was over a year ago (Zen Vision M)

SanDisk released three MP3 players at CES, but none that the firm feels will significantly steal iPod market share.

Notablecalls: Not actionable but good to know category. WSJ has a piece saying AAPL may announce the iPhone as early as today as the co will kick off its annual Macworld event today and CEO Steve Jobs is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at 9 a.m. PT (12 p.m. ET). Note that ThinkEquity is out with their comments on AAPL saying they do not expect apple to announce a phone at Macworld. If they are wrong, and we do see a phone, they expect to see it delivered in the form of a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). After all, with its world-class brand, strong distribution capability and industry-leading content aggregation platform (iTunes), Apple tops firm's list of yet-to-be-announced MVNOs.

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