Microsoft poised to release ‘iPod killer,’ enlists Creative, iRiver, Napster, others

“The first handheld gadgets to play music and movies on Microsoft Corp.’s ‘iPod killer’ software will be available in Europe in the second half of 2004, the world’s largest software company said on Thursday,” Bernhard Warner reports for Reuters. “The gadgets will run on Microsoft’s yet-to-be-unveiled Portable Media Center software in a direct assault on iPod, Apple Computer Inc.’s hot-selling digital music player.”

“Working with a host of manufacturing partners, Microsoft is introducing a device that plays movies and stores digital photos as well as songs in a bid to grab a share of the fast-growing digital media player market,” Warner reports. “‘We think this is going to be one of the hot devices for Christmas 2004,’ said James Bernard, product manager for Portable Media Center.”

“The U.S. software giant has enlisted Creative Technology Ltd. and Korea’s Reigncom Ltd’s iRiver International unit to develop devices for the European market. The Creative players will be sold with 20 gigabytes or 40 gigabytes of storage capacity, the latter would provide 175 hours of video playback or 10,000 songs, Microsoft said. The devices play MP3 files as well as audio and video content recorded in Microsoft’s digital format. The devices run on the Windows CE operating system,” Warner reports.

“The Creative player weighs in at 330 grams (11.5 ounces) — roughly three times as thick as an iPod and roughly twice as long to accommodate its television-quality colour screen. It has a USB port and comes with audio and video outputs cable to play media on a television or stereo hi-fi. Microsoft’s Bernard envisaged a scenario where the owner of a Portable Media Center gadget would be able to store hours of their favourite music and movies on the device. They could then download from a news-oriented Web site a round-up of the day’s news to watch on the train,” Warner reports. “To that end, Microsoft is busy assembling media partners to provide content including movies, music videos and news. It has signed up music label EMI and digital music outfit Napster.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here comes the “Cavalry of the Mediocre” to try to save the day for Microsoft in the digital media arena. Let the battle begin!

SPOILER: don’t tell anyone (we wouldn’t want to miss this impending dustup for the world), but when all is said and done, this time the Indians win.

65 Comments

  1. Yep, as we know everything M$ touches turns into gold. Gotta love those Tablet PC sales eh? Or what about the Windows Media Center PCs? Oh yeah, those are taking the market by storm right? Or maybe not. Well, back to reality, it sounds like M$ is getting more and more desperate these days. Plus with Longhorn nowhere in sight, not even with the Hubble telescope, they have to come up with something quick to try to stem the tide. Something tells me this won’t do them much better than the earlier mentioned couple of attempts have…

  2. “Isn’t it kind of late to make and iPod killer?” asked my wife.
    Ah, she does make a clear point.

    Too late M$. But I’m sure the lemming will take the bait anyway.

  3. …Why did I buy a portable music playerlike the iPod when I could have bought Creative’s “killer” which takes-up six times the volume (thice as long???) and weighs twice as much. This “killer” would be so fun to run with (as I often do)- and I thought my 15 GB was almost too large to use running.
    And the Creavtive bigTHING cannot fit in my pocket. Actually, I thought they made one of these already- it’s called a portable DVD player.
    Anyway, the only killing these things will do is if someone bashes someone else in the head. They totally miss the point (IMHO).

  4. M$ “iPod killer”: $599
    Additional “nessesary” add-ons: $150
    Subscription to media per month: $30
    Watching it fail faster than a foreign exchange student in English Comp: Priceless

  5. Who wants to bet MS won’t charge for it at first–they will PAY companies to use it, thus making a player cheaper to make WITH it than without! That will let Apple’s competitors make players cheaper than Apple ever could. And MS will pay for advertising too. MS will eat the loss–which they can afford to do–until they dominate the market.

    Or such is their plan I suspect. However, I think they have already lost. Like the X-Box, they may be able to keep a money-losing product around. But it will never dominate in the face of Apple elegance and ease-of-use.

    This time, the majority platform IS the best and easiest to use. That’s not an advantage Apple can easily lose.

  6. Prehaps if they model it after porn ads this might work�it’s twice as long and three times thicker, put your puny iPod away and use a real media player. (LOL). Oops but it comes with Windows CE, isn’t that the equivalent of taking viagra then drinking alcohol??

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