IPod's reign at top to end says Apple co-founder

LONDON - Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak has said the iPod's domination of the MP3 player market is not likely to last much longer and also warned the economic downturn will bring fewer product launches and another dotcom crash.

Wozniak, who launched Apple with friend Steve Jobs back in 1976, told the Daily Telegraph that the iPod could eventually find itself obsolete, like transistor radios and the Sony Walkman, and that the technology industry as a whole is in need of a slowdown.

Wozniak said: "The iPod has sort of lived a long life at number one. It's kind of like everyone has got one or two or three. You get to a point when they are on display everywhere, they get really cheap and they not selling as much."

According to Apple's quarterly sales statements, more than 150m iPod's have been sold globally as of March 2008.

Wozniak predicted fewer major product launches in the oncoming future due to the economic downturn, especially "the really revolutionary stuff which makes you say 'Oh my God'".

Speaking frankly, he said Apple's iPhone 3G could potentially turn off customers because of it's Apple-only application policy, unlike the recently released open-source Google phone, the T-Mobile G1.

He said: "Consumers aren't getting all they want when companies are very proprietary and lock their products down. I would like to write some more powerful apps than what you're allowed."

Yesterday Apple's shares fell 20% after analysts re-valued the stock in light of weakened consumer spending. Technology giants like Google and Yahoo! have also seen their market values drop amid the financial crisis.

Wozniak branded the stock downgrade "correct" and predicted that a minor version of the dotcom market crash could be on the horizon.

He said: "For 20 years we have had this replacement and upgrade market. It is very easy to postpone that when there are financial uncertainties."

Overinvestment in Web 2.0 technology and social networking could trigger a replica market crash, like the dotcom bubble that wiped out $5tn (£2.5tn) in the market value of technology companies in March 2000.