Greetings from France. It's nice to be in a country that has an even lower market share for Apple products than the United States. People are just so much more enlightened here. More on this later, but first I have to get this out of the way:
So Apple claims to have sold 3 Billion songs via the iTunes Music Store. It's unclear how many of these are giveaways, and how many represent actual sales, but whatever. Those are the numbers they're pushing, so it's what we have to work with. The Mac web and their willing accomplices in the mainstream tech press are falling all over themselves to report this "achievement".
I don't see why this is a big deal. On the excellent Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus, I've used elaborate charts like this one to show that iTunes has peaked and is clearly dying:
But some of you still don't get it. So here are the only numbers you really need to know:
Number of Zunes sold: Over 1,000,0000
Number of songs sold on the iTunes music store that will play on the Zune: ZERO
Number of songs sold on the iTunes music store that will play on any portable player other than the iPod: ZERO
Look at this chart for proof (click on the image for a larger version):
It's only a matter of time until Apple's feeble efforts in music sink the company into irrelevancy. The number speak for themselves. Obviously.