Microsoft’s plan to unseat Apple’s iPod juggernaut

“Call it the Axis of E-video. Disney aligned itself with Microsoft yesterday by announcing it would use the software maker’s digital-media format when the studio offers its movies online. The deal brings together Bill Gates and Michael Eisner, two chairman renowned for crushing their competitors. And in this case, their archrival is the same – Steve Jobs,” Stephen Lynch reports for The New York Post.

“Jobs heads both Apple and Pixar, the core of a digital alliance that includes companies such as H-P and AOL. On the other side of this battle: Microsoft and its partners, which include Time Warner, Disney and Wal-Mart,” Lynch reports. “These entanglements may have been a sticking point in the failed negotiations between Disney and Pixar, industry sources said. Jobs may have insisted that Disney not align itself with his longtime nemesis, these sources suggested.”

“…Microsoft may be plotting to unseat Apple by leapfrogging ahead to movies and TV. Microsoft plans to introduce handheld devices later this year that will let users fetch and play movies on the go. If the only way to download Disney movies is on a Microsoft-powered digital player, a consumer might buy music that would play on the same device, said Joe Wilcox, an analyst with Jupiter Research. It might finally give Microsoft a leg up on Apple’s iPod,” Lynch reports.

Full article here.


  1. For Christ sake, who’d want to have a little player that plays Disney Movies??? In an era where home theatres are at lead, I see no point in trying to get the public to watch trailers on a wee �gameboy� kinda screen.
    Disney pissed at Jobs honesty? Well, Mickey feels rejected and sometimes rejection pushes people to make bigger mistakes.
    Wouldn’t that be funny to watch a movie that start with – Disney & Microsoft <Ctrl, Alt, Del>. Giggle.

  2. It is a shame that in this kind of battle the consumer losses. This is the way it has been for to long in the tech industry. Have you noticed in any other industry competition has lead to better products, but in our current tech industry competition has lead to alliances and moves that do not help the consumer, but instead hurt us. It is a shame really.

  3. Genius you said? I’d think twice because portable DVD players are already available, yet parents aren’t willing to spend over 500$ to give their kids as one additional entertainment device.
    Again, M$ will likely use the file format. We all know that a DVD holds over 4GB in space. How many movies will this player hold and will people be allowed to convert their DVDs to a file that can be shared? What about the Rights and Protection laws?
    If as you say it’s for kids, then parents will have to be wealthy and deal with all the technical aspect of the product which I’m not sure will be very appealing.

  4. They ain’t going to be playing movies on that thing, well maybe eventually, but can you imagine the ads they’ll be shoving at people first before the movies.

    And, why are movies “on-the-go” so cool anyways?

    Whatever Apple comes up with with their Pixlet codec will be infinitely better than anything M$ does. Disney’s just pissed and shooting back at Jobs. Let them, he’s right, they make crap now and have diluted their brand considerably under Eisner. There are plenty of other studios to align with yet.

    IMHO this isn’t going to be a standards war like VHS vs. Beta. Consumers won’t stand for it again, plus the physicals in this case are digital files (not machines) which will HAVE to be transcodeable or the market won’t emerge due to incompatability.

  5. Along the same lines as Boeing777 comments, I can’t picture someone buying a movie playing device (which will be quite a bit larger than an iPod) and saying, “Gee, this is so portable, I think I’ll just use it as my music player.”

    Consumers want small music players. Look at the iPod and iPod Mini. Nice and small, easy to use. You wouldn’t carry a portable movie player to the club to work out, or to go for a run.

    Strange what people will say…

  6. A perfect example of what is right about Apple and Pixar, and to a lesser extent, what is wrong with Microsoft and Disney.

    M$&D are focused on what they can do rather than what people want. A portable movie player is possible, so they’ll make one and their PR machines will whoop and holler.

    Apple and Pixar really listen to people, and put a *lot* of effort into understanding what they want (even if the people themselves don’t know).

    This is obvious with Apple and M$, but I believe it’s true with Pixar and Disney too. Disney’s latest have been dismal. It’s as if they think a hit movie is just a collection of frames with their name on it. It’s arrogance.

  7. Spin, spin, spin. That’s all this is. The iPod/iTunes rule is a fact. How to spin? We’re going to take it “back” with video. OK, but how are multiple HDTV shows and movies going to fit on small portable player, and who is going to want to watch it on a small screen? Video on small players is inevitable, but we need more storage capacity first, the ability to beam a digital video signal to larger screens and/or better portable displays (folding?). Also, we need faster download speeds. Steve has explained all this and he’s right on the money. This is a tech that’s 5 years at least away.

  8. “Jobs heads both Apple and Pixar, the core of a digital alliance that includes companies such as H-P and AOL. On the other side of this battle: Microsoft and its partners, which include Time Warner, Disney and Wal-Mart,” Lynch reports.
    A couple of problems with that statement: 1)AOL & Time-Warner are one and the same and 2) HP is a charter member of the Wintel cartel.

  9. until i can download a movie as fast as I can a song from iTunes I rather just buy it from direct tv and save it to tivo or never watch it again depending on the crap that hollywood is making.
    And finally Disney isn’t the crown jewel here … Paramount, Fox and other movie groups are out there willing to jump aboard.
    Finally which company made majority of Disney’s top movies the past 10 years… oh yea Pixar.
    It’s not Microsoft that I have a problem with it’s the fact Disney is a crap company as long as Eisner is still the dictator of it.

  10. First, Jobs maintains his theory that music is not the same as media, and the online movie industry is ahead of it’s time and will not catch on with the fever that online music has. Second, he already has a leading video format, Quicktime, that can probably be slapped with a new version of Fairplay and go DRM. It’s just too soon.

    MS is just bitter because they totally missed the boat on music and think that this is the logical next step.

  11. I don’t see poratable DVD players flying off the shelves,which are dropping in price, so why do they think a portable video player will work?

    IMHO, I prefer to watch movies on my comfy-ass couch in full Dolby Digital surround, not on some tiny screen with headphones- that would kind of kill the impact of what the Director intended.

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