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.


  1. It is clearly intended for a different market. So, how can it be an iPod killer?

    Also, are they conceeding the US market to iPod? I could not find any reference to the release of this killer in the US. Too bad, MS didn’t realize that iPod is wildly popular in the UK too. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    One last thing: I am pretty sure that Apple will have released the 4th gen. iPod for a few months by the time MS releases their player.

  2. JimmyN: “Plus with Longhorn nowhere in sight, not even with the Hubble telescope”.

    That is the most hilarious thing I have seen in a long time. Thanks JimmyB

  3. Whether this video brick sells or not I’m concerned that with all the money at it’s disposal and the tactics it uses when it feels it’s monopoly slipping even to the slightest degree Microsoft is a very dangerous adversary. They will try to hold on to their strangle hold of the world at any cost.

    BTW, “optional car-battery backpack” Hahaha. That was great, NoPCZone.

  4. Microsoft. A media player. That runs on WinBloze CE (crappy experience).


    *sniff. Oh, man. Thanks… that was a good one. ::::chuckle::::

  5. roughly three times as thick as an iPod and roughly twice as long

    And four times as heavy, and doesn’t fit into any pocket. <sarcasm> Yep, that’s an iPod killer, all right.

    One of those eyeglass projection displays would be ideal for a video iPod. I’d want one of those!

  6. Microsoft is becoming exponentially prolific with vapourware – my guess is that this thing will never be sold. You won’t see any other tech company preannouncing new gadgets so far off when upgrade cycles are so tight.

    I reckon their strategy must be “we haven’t introduced any new products for a while – we’ll just keep on promising things in order to mislead the market, and satisfy our true believers”.

    Due for Xmas? Give me a break.

  7. Yeah, I’ll bet Jobs is shitting himself. This thing is like the size of the Newton, which as i recall tanked in no small part due to it’s bulk.

    What we see here is MS trying to grow a pair and take on Apple where Apple is the leader, since lately Apple has been one-upping them on their own turf. It’s an attempt to save face, and it’s pretty obvious where this attempt will land them…

    Though there are so many Thurrotts out there it’ll still sell enough that MS won’t have to cancel the project as soon after introduction as we’d all love to see.

    I seriously hate Microsoft.

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