Is it better for a company to limit accessories for their product or make it openly compatible? Say you can only use Apples $40 headphones for a $60 Ipod shuffle vs $40 headphones (any brand) with a $60 Sony Mp3 device. Does limiting choices deter people from purchasing a shuffle? or does making it compatible “cheapen” it’s image?

it probably depends on the consumer. I only use my apple headphones for my iPhone… but they come with it…

I’m sure you’d find some third-party adapter very soon in that example. If Apple forced you to only use apple headphones, some company like logitech or the like would have a simple plug to allow you to use any headphone you choose. Only the purists would stick to Apple at that point.

If the third party product didn’t come out, there would likely be outcry from the public… unless someone like Sennheisser made their headphones.

Is it better for a company to limit accessories for their product or make it openly compatible?

two totally different business models and two totally different consumers

Windows/OSX vs Linux - just one example

it depends who makes the accessory, what purpose it serves, and what product the accessory is for

Since there is no right or wrong answer to your question… the inverse is a possibility as well.

Do companies/consumers associate an increased perceived value of a cheap/not-well-made accessory that is specifically for a nice/valuable/successfully-designed product?

In other words, without the ‘host’ nice product, would the accessory otherwise be total garbage? but since it is right next to X product (Bugatti, B&O, B&R, Apple, Gulfstream, etc, etc) does it take some of that luxury/value from the product and inject it into itself?

also, as a side note…

there really is no way to limit the ability for other brands to make accessories for any product

does Crocs make the little jewel inserts for their shoes? I believe, if I’m not mistaken, a bunch of third party brands produce and sell these little accessories for the Crocs. insane. but people buy them by the dozens.

if you design and build it, they will make accessories (if they want to, that is)

and a PS—

my favorite little trick Apple pulled regarding compatibility of product accessories was when I wanted to display images from my iPod to the TV, to test out how it looked/operated. Apple was selling the cord (headphone jack male to 3 color RCA outs) for $40 or $50 at their store, and I couldn’t justify spending that much on that simple of a cable for what I wanted it to do.
I went to Radio Shack, spent $4, got the same exact cable, in black. tested it out on the TV, nothing, nothing, black screen with static. searched for the answer on Google for 20 seconds, Apple switched the wiring so you “have” to buy their expensive cable if you weren’t smart enough to look for an answer. It ended up being like Red to Yellow, Yellow to Black, and Black to Red, something like that - worked perfectly.

That’s exactly the sort of thing I would expect Apple to do. Amazing. They try to market themselves (and do so successfully) as a friendly, easy to work with company where all their products work together. So long as you only use their products…