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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 21:38 GMT 22:38 UK
Apple could 'double market share'
Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils Apple's iMac
Steve Jobs: Stress on innovation
Steve Jobs, the man who co-founded Apple and returned to the computer maker to spearhead its revival, has given an upbeat assessment of the company's future.

Although he acknowledged that times were tough for all technology firms, he added that Apple's focus on good design would help it thrive.

He predicted that the hard times would last until at least the end of 2002 and would spell the end for some ailing firms.

"Some companies will go out of business," he told the BBC's World Business Report.

Music makers

By contrast, he said, Apple was currently doing well.

"We're experiencing more people interested in switching to Mac than any time I can remember in the last few years," he said.

The flat-screen iMac, Apple
Some may dislike the design
"We are trying to innovate our way through this year as we navigate through this difficult time and so far that is working pretty well," said Mr Jobs.

Mr Jobs was in London to receive British Design and Art Direction Awards for the iPod portable music player and the titanium PowerBook laptop.

He predicted future success for the company as home computers became hubs for all the digital activities users get up to such as taking digital photographs and burning CDs of digital music.

"The personal computer is going to remain the digital hub," he said.

"A lot of other digital devices will in essence be peripherals and work in collaboration with the computer."

One of the key devices was the iPod music player that has a multi-gigabyte hard drive onboard that can hold thousands of music tracks.

Share price

The recording industry is known to be wary of portable music players because they fear they will encourage people to pirate pop records, but Mr Jobs said the iPod was trying to please both sides.

He said the ability to use the iPod to pirate music was limited because files can only be uploaded to the gadget and it works with only one computer.

The iPod, Apple
Apple's portable music player, the iPod
"We try to walk a middle path between protecting copyright owners of the music and also protecting the end users rights to use legally protected music in the ways that they want," said Mr Jobs.

Apple, which before Mr Jobs return in 1997 had reported losses of $1bn, was one of the "very few" firms in the sector making money.

In mid-April the company's reported profits of $40 million, slightly down on the $43m it made during the same period in 2001.

"Apple is faring, relatively, pretty well but it is a difficult time for everyone," he said.

Apple's market share of the home computer market remains small at 5%, but Mr Jobs said this was still bigger than Mercedes and BMW could boast in the US car market.

"Our market share is small, but by no means small enough to be inconsequential," he said.

He said the firm could be well placed to double its market share.

"The great thing is when you have 5% market share, all you have to do is convince another five out of the other 95% to switch and you have doubled your market share," Mr Jobs added.

See also:

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