Microsoft working with Philips, Samsung, Creative on Apple iPod killers

“Microsoft Corp. said Apple Computer Inc.’s best-selling iPod music player will face increased competition from new products in the end-of-year shopping season,” Ian King and Dina Bass report for Bloomberg News. “Microsoft is working with electronics makers including Royal Philips Electronics NV, Samsung Electronics Co. and Creative Technology Ltd. to design and test music players that rival iPod, said Erik Huggers, the head of Microsoft’s Digital Media Division.”

“‘Come this fall there is going to be a number of devices that get close to competing with Apple’s iPod,’ Huggers said in an interview in San Francisco yesterday,'” King and Bass report. “By the second quarter of next year ‘there is going to be a whole lineup of products that can compete with Apple in industrial design, usability, functionality and features.'”

“‘It’s going to take a lot to dethrone Apple,’ said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research in New York. ‘Apple won’t sit on its laurels and I expect we’ll see another iteration of the iPod for the holiday. Unless Microsoft is really willing to spend the time and effort to get behind a player or a select group of players, it’s not going to happen,'” King and Bass report.

King and Bass report, “Microsoft is helping electronics makers ‘build world-class devices, that really work well, with great industrial design, with lots of content available, with great software on the PC to make it all work together,’ Huggers said. While Apple’s iPod and iTunes music store work together easily, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft has faced difficulty showing customers which of the many Windows-based players and music stores are compatible. A campaign called ‘PlaysForSure’ to put a logo on devices that would show consumers what works together, hasn’t helped because not all devices with the logo actually work with the promised services. ‘We tend to call it ‘PlaysForAlmostSure’,’ Gartenberg said. ‘Meanwhile Apple’s iPod and iTunes are dancing together like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.'”

Full article here.
We seem to recall that Microsoft said about the same thing last year. Last September, BusinessWeek reported that Microsoft was launching its most comprehensive foray yet into the digital media world. Portable video players, which run on Microsoft software and were made by Samsung Group and others, were supposed to be just a piece of the tech giant’s plan to steal Apple’s rock ‘n’ roll mojo.

BusinessWeek wrote at the time, “”The Colossus of Redmond is rolling out an update of its Windows Media Player audio and video software that’s designed to make it just as easy to purchase and manage music with Microsoft-powered gear as it is with Apple’s iPod and iTunes combo. ‘There’s nothing that the iPod does that I say: ‘Oh, wow, I don’t think we can do that,” Gates says. The new Windows Media software has mimicked iTunes, letting users buy in one click songs from MSN Music and a handful of other music retailers and have the tunes automatically added to music libraries.”

Oh, wow, we didn’t think you could do that, Bill. And we were right. See you around the same time next year.

Related articles:
Microsoft’s plan to steal Apple’s rock ‘n’ roll mojo faces rocky road – September 01, 2004

Study: 32 million U.S. adults plan to buy iPod in next 12 months – July 20, 2005
Needham & Co: Apple ‘iPod Halo Effect’ fueling Mac purchases; predict 43 million iPod sales in 2006 – July 18, 2005
Apple smashes street with record revenue, earnings; shipped 6.155 million iPods – July 13, 2005


  1. Not that I’d ever root for Microsoft, but they could really tighten up their strategy by picking one partner and sticking with that partner. Multiple new devices on the market will just add to the confusion of the digital music player market and further solidify Apple’s place in the market.

    Huggers. (hehe)

  2. “that work really well together” does he mean, sometimes it works with some things, as long as you download the right drivers and the latest windows patch and then manage your DRMs and have your spyware cleaned out (and don’t have a virus)?

  3. “Microsoft working with Philips, Samsung, Creative on Apple iPod killers”

    A design committee will never beat a crazy lone innovator.

    They might try to match iPod/iTunes, but they will never equal or beat Apple’s combo.

  4. The iPod will face more competition. Much more competition. But all of these competitors will only be selling digital music players, not iPods. The iPod has become the ‘Scotch’ of tape, the ‘Reynolds’ of wrap. The iPod is now synonymous with digital music player. It’s going to be impossible for any other manufacturer to change this now.

  5. Microsoft working with the partners means the products will never see the light of day, or if it does, will come out so convoluted that no one will be able to figure out how to use it. As they say, too many cooks ruin the stew.

  6. Don’t tell me that Microsoft hasn’t already got its mangement 100% occupied already on:
    a) Stemming the security issues
    b) building OSX features into LongVista

    Just another attempt at spoiling. Tough that it won’t achieve anything.

  7. *Yawn*

    Well M$ will say and do anything to keep their hordes of brainless flock with them.

    I agree that Apple cannot afford to sit on its laurels and with little over a month until Apple Expo, Paris where rumors of a 5th generation iPod abound could just herald the culmination of the too-late-to-join effect of the portable MP3 market.

    iPod+iTunes/iTMS+95% market share=welcome Bill Gates to the niche for a change, better get used to it as Vista will also go the same way.

  8. At least Gates just admitted that he copied that iTunes Music Store, and Apple (once again).

    But it matters not really, as Mac Daily News pointed out. Microsoft can ram a vapor-filled semi into the press all they want; it means very little.

    But, maybe I should watch my fingers as they type. After all; Windows is secure, fun, and stable– right..?

  9. Well, I think Apple could NEVER overdo with commercials, informing the masses of the whole range of superior technology.

    I´ve never got the message about the genious interface with the click-wheel trough their commercials. After trying it for 1,5 seconds, anyone realize that buying anything without it, is pretty much like buying a car without a steeringwheel!!

    Not to mention the immence amount of ads on Tiger and the rest of the “lifestyle”, simply lacking… ???

    V.I.S.T.A. will probably hit the markets without anyone realizing it´s just a bad copy of proven technology!!!! 🙁

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