“A cynic would describe Microsoft’s approach to the music player market as simple Apple envy. The iPod has dominant market share and is helping Apple increase its small share of the PC market. So I’ve got to imagine that many in the inner sanctums of Redmond are hot to introduce a slick phone from Microsoft,” Saul Hansell reports for The New York Times.

“I pressed J Allard on this when I met him earlier this week. Mr. Allard runs Microsoft’s Zune unit and handles some other development for its Entertainment and Devices division, which includes the Windows Mobile phone operating system,” Hansell reports. “Microsoft prefers to work with partners, he said, referring to cellphone makers, but he added that ‘we’ll never say never’ to making a Microsoft phone.”

Hansell reports comments made by J Allard which include:

• People are buying [iPhone] because it’s an Apple phone, not because it’s an iPod. It’s a lousy iPod. You can’t skip a track without looking at it. You can’t go running with the thing.

MacDailyNews Note: We’ve been running with the iPhone since June. Love the lap timer, too!

Microsoft will add more features from the Zune into Windows Mobile phones.

MacDailyNews Take: Ooh, phones that squirt!

We didn’t create the Zune because we were dying to get into the hardware business and take inventory risk. We felt we had to do it… [With Windows], we got to create most of the magic and take none of the financial risk. History isn’t going to repeat that with consumer goods.

MacDailyNews Take: You can say that again (last sentence)! Now, about that “magic,” it’s where, exactly?

Full article here.