Steve Jobs warned Amazon founder that iTunes would kill CD sales

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Jeff Bezos
Steve Jobs told Jeff Bezos about iTunes for Windows prior to its release.
Photo: Seattle City Council/Wikipedia CC

Over a platter of sushi, Steve Jobs once bragged to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that Apple had created the greatest Windows application ever built. The Apple co-founder then suggested, in a roundabout way, that the software could kill a major stream of revenue for Amazon.

Jobs was referring to iTunes for Windows, which Apple introduced in October 2003 (and which Jobs later referred to as the equivalent of “giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell.”) Bezos got a look at iTunes for Windows before the rest of the world did. And he also endured a typically Jobsian dig about CDs and Amazon’s future.

Today in Apple history: iTunes tops 50 million songs downloaded

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itunes
That's worth a quick dance!
Photo: Apple

March 15: Today in Apple history: iTunes tops 50 million songs downloaded March 15, 2004: The iTunes Music Store hits a musical milestone, having sold an astonishing 50 million songs in less than a year. The achievement cements Apple’s place at the center of the rapidly changing music business — at least for the moment.

Crossing 50 million songs is a major milestone for iTunes and the emerging digital music era,” Steve Jobs said in a statement. “With over 50 million songs already downloaded and an additional 2.5 million songs being downloaded every week, it’s increasingly difficult to imagine others ever catching up with iTunes.”

Today in Apple history: iTunes becomes No. 2 music retailer in U.S.

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iTunespic
iTunes was going from strength to strength.
Photo: Apple

February 26: Today in Apple history: iTunes becomes No. 2 music retailer in U.S. February 26, 2008: Less than five years after launching, the iTunes Music Store becomes the No. 2 music retailer in the United States, second only to Wal-Mart.

In that relatively short period, iTunes sells more than 4 billion songs to more than 50 million customers. The rapid rise to prominence stands as a massive achievement for Apple — and for the revolutionary digital distribution model Cupertino helped pioneer.

Today in Apple history: iTunes rips its way onto Mac

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Rip Mix Burn
Do you remember the first iTunes slogan?
Photo: Apple

January 9 Today in Apple historyJanuary 9, 2001: Steve Jobs introduces customers to iTunes at Macworld.

In a world before the iPod or the iTunes Store, iTunes is simply described by Apple as, “the world’s best and easiest to use jukebox software that lets users create and manage their own music library on their Mac.” Even the biggest Apple fanboy can’t imagine just how significant a step this will be for Apple.

Today in Apple history: iTunes bags its first exclusive movie

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The producers of Purple Violets took a gamble on iTunes movie distribution.
The producers of Purple Violets take a gamble on iTunes movie distribution.
Photo: Wild Ocean Films

November 20: Today in Apple history: iTunes movie distribution begins with Purple Violets, the first film to launch on iTunes November 20, 2007: In a milestone for iTunes movie distribution, Purple Violets becomes the first feature film to launch exclusively on Apple’s platform.

A romantic comedy directed by Edward Burns, Purple Violets stars Selma Blair, Debra Messing and Patrick Wilson. With limited offers from distributors, the filmmakers pin their hopes on iTunes distribution as an alternative way to get their movie in front of viewers.

Today in Apple history: iTunes sales hit astonishing new heights

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iTunespic
iTunes coming to Windows proved a smart move for Apple.
Photo: Apple

November 6: Today in Apple history: After porting iTunes to Windows, iTunes sales hit 1.5 million downloads in one week November 6, 2003: After porting iTunes to Windows, Apple sets a new record for digital music sales: a massive 1.5 million downloads in one week.

Bringing iTunes to PC users opens up a new, lucrative market for Apple. The record-breaking sales clock in at five times more than the 300,000 downloads Napster (remember it?) achieved in its debut week. And 1.5 million is double the 600,000 iTunes downloads per week Apple reported selling to Mac users prior to the Windows release.

Today in Apple history: iTunes video takes world by storm

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Kanye West
Artists like Kanye West helped drive music video downloads past 1 million in less than 20 days.
Photo: Rodrigo Ferrari/Flickr CC

October 31: Today in Apple history: iTunes video takes world by storm October 31, 2005: Less than three weeks after launching video downloads with iTunes 6, Apple reveals that it has already sold more than 1 million music videos.

Apple’s dive into the online digital video market — with 2,000 music videos, Pixar short films and a selection of hit TV shows for $1.99 — looks like the logical next step after selling individual songs on iTunes. Passing the 1 million download benchmark so quickly suggests the plan is a roaring success.

Easily manage your iOS music and data without iTunes

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WALTR 2
Easily transfer music, videos, and other files between iOS devices with drag and drop, and without iTunes.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Our mobile devices were supposed to make life easier. But as time goes on, it gets harder to keep all our tunes, videos and other data where we want it. Part of the challenge is using iTunes — luckily, this tool offers an intuitive alternative.

Today in Apple history: Apple offers ice water to Windows users in hell

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iTunes
On this day in 2003, Steve Jobs revealed his plan to bring iTunes to Windows.
Photo: Apple

October 16: Today in Apple history: iTunes Music Store comes to Windows October 16, 2003: Six months after opening the iTunes Music Store for Mac owners, Apple expands the service to cover Windows PCs as well.

Steve Jobs later quips that making iTunes available to Windows owners is akin to “giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell.”