Microsoft teams with Orange to produce Motorola Apple iTunes phone competitor

“Microsoft has teamed up with mobile operator Orange to try to gain control of the digital music business, which the software giant believes could be worth hundreds of billions of pounds a year,” Tony Glover reports for The Business.

“The Business has learned that Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has persuaded Orange to develop a mobile phone, the SPV C550, which will double as a Microsoft music player. Consumers will keep their music on a computer and transfer it to their mobiles. The music phone will go on sale in HMV’s flagship stores next month. HMV is using Microsoft software to run its digital music internet download service, HMV Digital Jukebox, which can be accessed by the phones,” Glover reports. “Microsoft spokesman Jason Langridge said: ‘The mobile digital music market is about to take off. Porting digital music on to mobile phones represents a massive opportunity for Microsoft. While Apple has sold about 10m iPods worldwide to date, a quarter of the world’s population own mobile phones, which Microsoft software can turn into digital music players.'”

Glover reports, “Gates has timed the launch to coincide with his arch-rival Apple founder and chief executive Steve Jobs’ long-awaited unveiling of an iTunes phone, expected this week… Microsoft plans to topple Apple’s iTunes from its position as the world’s best-selling digital music service and make Windows Media Audio the industry standard. The Microsoft-powered phone will do everything that an iPod can but will be incompatible with Apple’s products.”

Full article here.
Comparing Apples to Oranges, which one do you think most consumers will choose?

Orange’s Microsoft Windows Media phone will only work with Windows and not the world’s market-dominating iTunes Music Store (iTMS). It would seem there’s a rather limited audience for such a closed and limited solution – see iTMS competitors’ lack of succes. There are also too many cooks in the kitchen: Microsoft, Orange, and HMV for things to be expected to work very well. Why does Microsoft exclude tens of millions of Mac users who have proven to be strong buyers of digital music and digital music players? Open up, Microsoft!

Motorola’s Apple iTunes phone will work openly with both Mac and Windows and seamlessly with the iTunes Music Store.

Oh, by the way, Microsoft spokesman Jason Langridge is either wrong or lying. Apple has sold well over twice as many iPods as he wants to admit publicly: 21 million iPods (rough estimate of 25 million as of today) worldwide to date. Do you think it was just an innocent mistake that the Microsoft spokesman happened to get the number of iPods sold so completely wrong?

Finally, the de facto standard for legal digital online music files is Apple’s protected MPEG-4 Audio AAC with FairPlay DRM (.m4p) which holds 80-percent market share, is cross-platform, and has passed well over half a billion tracks sold.

Related articles:
RUMOR: Motorola Apple iTunes phones to offer 256, 512MB storage, ability to buy music via networks – September 02, 2005
Germany’s T-Mobile to offer Motorola Apple iTunes mobile phone – September 02, 2005
BofA: ‘Apple-branded’ Motorola iTunes cell phones due next week – September 02, 2005
Report: Motorola teams with O2 carrier for Apple iTunes phone in UK – September 01, 2005
Madonna, Green Day, Little Richard and others to star in Motorola Apple iTunes phone ads – September 01, 2005
Apple in deal with Cingular to offer Motorola iTunes phone – August 30, 2005
Analysts speculate on what Apple CEO Steve Jobs will unveil during ‘special event’ next Wednesday – August 29, 2005
Apple announces ‘special event’ to be held September 7th – August 29, 2005
Report: Motorola to debut ROKR Apple iTunes phone on September 7 – August 25, 2005
Motorola: ROKR Apple iTunes phone debut ‘big enough to have its own event’ – August 19, 2005
The de facto standard for legal digital online music files: Apple’s protected MPEG-4 Audio (.m4p) – December 15, 2004

47 Comments

  1. I don’t think this will impact Apple too much (if at all). The MotoPod is going to finally launch next Wednesday (versus next month), be available in the US and UK (and also probably in other markets we’re unaware of). Not to mention the fact of the possibility for other phone makers and service providers to hop on board in the future, Apple seems to have the beginnings of another strong pillar for their digital music strategy in place.

    Ballmer can go back to throwing chairs now.

  2. nothing Steve does is as it seems. Who knows, he may even surprise us on the 7th by saying he purchased Microsoft and is putting it out of its misery….the secretaries and cleaning crew are now running MS, eveyone else is bailing

  3. Apple introduces Safari and M$ stops supporting the Macintosh platform with there crappy Internet Explorer. When Apple introduces their spreadsheet program and solidifies their office suite with a general upgrade to Pages and Keynote, will M$ once again be on the run?

    Well, let’s get the ball rolling: If you truly despise M$ and everything they stand for, stop using their shit, bloated Office product. Stop sleeping with the enemy! There are very good, nimble alternatives to M$ crap.

    Rock on Steve!

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  4. Microsoft smartphones already sync with Windows Media Player, so I’m not sure what’s “new” about Microsoft’s phone. I think it’s sad that Microsoft has to completely re-introduce a phone feature they’ve already had (and has apparently not been very successful) for 3 years.

  5. MDN you missed this pearler: “a quarter of the world’s population own mobile phones, which Microsoft software can turn into digital music players.”

    Excuse me? They have software which can turn ANY phone into a digital music player?

  6. Why does Microsoft think it has to dominate every damn market on the planet, they fight with Google over search, they fight with Apple over OS and Music, they fight states over document formats, they fight to maintain a monopoly thats fading fast, merely because they don’t want to learn how to get along with the others in the sandbox.

  7. Apple should rejoice at this news.

    Apple has been battling the carriers over music on cell phones. The carriers do not want users to be able to download music from their computers. They want users to download from the carrier’s proprietary music service.

    Apple on the other hand, wants users to be able to download from their computers, or directly from iTMS.

    With MSFT now getting in the ring, the carriers are going to have a harder time fighting off handsets that allow users to download music, independant of their proprietary services.

    The popularity of the iPod and iTMS will give any handset, that is iTunes compatible, a significant market advantage.

    This assumes that music on cell phones is really something that the market wants. I’m not convinced that it is, BUT not having a music cellphone for the market would be worse than having one for a market that doesn’t exist. Its just a matter of covering bases and heading off the competition at this point.

  8. Music on Cell phones has a problem, battery life.

    The first time a person drains their phone battery listening to music and gets cut off during a phone call because their battery is weak, will be the last time they listen to music on it worth a darn.

    They will get a dedicated device, like a iPod. 😀

    Apple see’s dollar signs.

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