SAN FRANCISCO – Despite reported earnings quadrupling in the fourth quarter, Apple Computer shares plummeted in after-hours trading on Tuesday. The drop appears the result of investor confidence waning as overall sales of iPods fell short of analysts' high expectations. This news arrives just as market competitors Microsoft and RealNetworks settle their antitrust suit. The settlement poses a threat to Apple’s iTunes music service, a companion program for the iPod. Apple’s market share of online music shares remains strong, but growing competitors continue to emerge to steal slices of Apple’s pie.

To provide our readers with quality news and consumer reports, here’s an abbreviated history of portable music:

65 million years ago – Lacking a soundtrack, dinosaurs just died (In Your Arms Tonight)

2000 years ago (+ or – ) – Jesus reportedly walks on water, sells footage to Apple for future iPod commercial

900 years ago – The Inquisition sponsors first playlist entitled “Music to Torture Heretics To”

450 years ago – “Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets;” Helps LFO write most thought-provoking line of “Summer Girls”

1976 – “Rocky” debuts in theaters; joggers fantasize about listening to “Rocky’s Theme”

1979 – First Sony Walkman sold, new way to avoid conversation in subways is established;

1980 – Sony trademarks “word+Man” naming concept, lawsuit over Japanese Yakuza “Hitman” leads to bloodshed and a John Woo Film starring Jet-Li

Mid-1990’s – Random guy wakes up one morning and is reported saying “You know what would be good: having 50,000 songs that I never listen to in a portable format…and waffles.”

2001 – First Generation of iPod released; Some PC users converted to Mac-ism; E-War begins as Mac-users are ritualistically sacrificed until Apple releases a PC-compatible iPod

2005 – iPod listed as one of “Top 5 Sexiest Personal Accesories” for college students; “Having a Soul” ranked one of “Top 5 Over-rated Personal Attributes”