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Apple Computer’s iPod digital media players continue to be the most popular in the industry compared to competing products of this kind, according to a study from analysts. The company continues to control over 75% of the market and there is still no rival that has over 10% market share.

The iPod accounted for 76.6% of all portable music players shipped from January through June, compared with 75.3% the same period a year ago, according to a report from NPD Group. At the same time, SanDisk commands 8.9% of the market, Creative Labs commands 3.7% of the market, while Samsung Electronics and Sony have 3.7% and 2.2% of the market, reports Information Week web-site.

The popularity of Apple’s iPod player is conditioned by sleek design, ease of use and integration with iTunes music store, something, that not all the rivals can offer at once.

But analysts believe that Apple’s dominance will face tough competition in the near future, as makers of cell phones are developing mobile phones with music capabilities and network carriers begin to offer their own music stores.

NPD analysts also believe that Microsoft’s Zune will become a serious competitor for the iPod, as Microsoft is powerful enough to push its device heavily into the market.

“Anytime you have a company entering the market with billions of dollars in the bank, you have to consider them a credible threat. They view music as a strategic piece of their broad consumer media strategy,” said NPD analyst Ross Rubin.

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