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. Until we all get T3 connections at home, I do not know anyone willing to spend hours downloading some movie to watch it on a 4 inch screen.

    I am sorry, but the DVD player in the car, and the home theatre system at home are perfect. So what do I need with mini video player?

    Are people only going to download and play music videos and trailers? I don’t think so.

  2. It has been reported elsewhere that this is a non-exclusive agreement between Microsoft and Disney. Apple’s technologies are not shut out by this particular pact with the devil. Besides, others here have intelligently commented on the dubious merits of a portable downloadable video player thingy in the first place.

  3. I don’t get it. The world is already filled with portable video players called laptop computers. I remember when companies were trying to sell eBook reader tablets a few years back and it was a total flop. I don’t think a puny device that just plays movies will work either. People can watch movies on thier laptops and get a far better screen experience than with one of these devices. The battle is, again, going to be about format, probably MPEG4 AVC vs WMV.

  4. You can listen to an IPod while driving,walking in the park, while sun bathing on a beach, While walking to work. One can not watch TV clips, on a portable player and get decent results.(driving while watching tv–shudder) Even if you use 22 minute shows(half hour episode in the US) that turns out to be what 20-25 megs?? that is a 10 minute download on my cable network during peak hours.(5 during the day one everyone is at work)
    Portable DVD players are showing up in odd places usally when small childern need to be entertained in odd places. But I don’t see people downloading videos, when DVD’s can be used in more places easier., with less DRM than wma.

  5. How about those disposable DVDs Disney is testing? The chemical coating renders them inoperable after 2 days. Sounds like they let the lawyers into the R&D dept. Who the f*** in their right mind would buy that?

  6. Disposable DVDs. YUK! We got way too much disposable stuff already bad for the enviroment. Imagine millions of disposable DVDs clogging up landfills unless they can recycle them.

  7. It may be a little early to write MS’s epitaph, but they sure seem like they’ve developed Alzheimer’s. Seems like all they ever announce is mediocre-sounding vaporware and vapor products, to appear sometime in the vague future, while Apple only announces real products that rock.

  8. So – the idea to produce a hand held that can ‘fetch and play video’?.
    Firstly, there is the broadband issue. I live outside the US, and I know few people using hi speed at home due to cost.
    Secondly, the user experience is also very different. It sounds cool, but what is the purpose of taking movies on the go? It might be okay to view trailers, but watching a movie is much different from listening to music. You can have your ipod in the car and listen to music while driving, but id say watching a movie while driving could be lethal. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> Im a film buff and have invested in a half reasonable home theatre system. That’s how I want to enjoy my movie experience. I have no issue with hiring a film from DVD shop.
    Thirdly – Apple seem to have far more credibility in the film and music industry than Microsoft. Disney’s recent films really have been a little lacklustre (my 3 year old likes Pixars Toy Story 1 & 2, and Finding Nemo), Eisner and Jobs clearly have issues and Microsoft need to get their DRM scheme licensed to a wider audience. Devices aside, that’s the basis of this deal. And on that basis, I would suggest to Apple they may need to look at licensing their FairPlay DRM. The surprising HP deal is definitely a good move.
    This portable movie thing sounds cool, but ultimately is more of a techno gimmick – like Microsoft’s wrist watch recently demoed or the tablet PC. So Microsoft and Disney can jump into bed together, and while I own an ipod, if Apple ever produced a rumoured ‘video pod’, I doubt I would buy one of those either. Analysts really just don’t get it sometimes.

  9. As long as it runs with WMA there is no chance in hell anyone with a decent set of ears would choose it over an iPOD.

    Still, there are plenty of tin ear zombies out there just like there are equally clueless consumers who can’t see the advantages of a Mac, so I am sure the thing will sell, just not enough to take on Apple.

  10. How are people going to have the time to download a movie file, when they are busy updating their virus software, downloading another security patch, running spyware removal programs, answering hundreds of bogus emails, reinstalling drivers and software that are incompatible with the lastest security patch, and reinstalling windows itself, because it becomes so corrupt with all this extra crap?

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