“Minority high school students from the Seattle region made the most of their audience with Bill Gates on Friday – including one question so incisive that many in the Microsoft Corp. chairman’s own industry would like to know the answer. ‘Is Microsoft going to develop a handheld, you know, MP3 player, to combat iPod?’ asked Schyler Mishra, 19, a senior at Seattle’s John Marshall High School, referring to Apple Computer’s dominant music device,” Todd Bishop reports for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “Gates, appearing at the company’s annual Minority Student Day, had already complimented Apple, Google and other rivals during his speech, while also touting Xbox 360 and other Microsoft products. He smiled at the question and proceeded to give the students a lesson in the art of the indirect answer. ‘Yeah, Apple has done a fantastic job with the iPod. How many of you have iPods?’ he asked, as a smattering of students around the conference room raised their hands.”
Bishop reports, “Gates looked around the room and continued: ‘We are talking with partners about how we, working with those partners, can make even better music players. We’ve got some in the market today. I’d say in total they have about 20 percent market share, which is lower than we like, and so we’re seeing where we can come together to make a device that’s less expensive and connects in better ways, does photos and videos in better ways.’ He added: ‘I don’t think what’s out in the market today is the final answer. But again, it just shows the magic of software. Apple did a very good job on iTunes, did the user-interface design right. That means we’ll have to match all that good work and do something even better.’ And so, Gates concluded, ‘Between us and our partners, you can expect to see some pretty hot products coming out over the next couple of years.’”
Full article here.
“Microsoft‘s strategy has been to allow various device manufacturers to create players that would be compatible with its software, arguing that it offered consumers more options. However, BusinessWeek reported last week that Microsoft is mulling its own media device in an effort to cut into Apple‘s nearly 70 percent U.S. market share. The company declined to comment on the article at the time,” Reuters reports. “Gates did not disclose any plans for a Microsoft-branded device on Friday and alluded often to working together with partners for future media devices.”
Full article here.
• MacBook Pro. The first Mac notebook built upon Intel Core Duo with iLife ’06, Front Row and built-in iSight. Starting at $1999. Free shipping.
• iMac. Twice as amazing — Intel Core Duo, iLife ’06, Front Row media experience, Apple Remote, built-in iSight. Starting at $1299. Free shipping.
• iMac and MacBook Pro owners: Apple USB Modem. Easily connect to the Internet using dial-up service. Only $49.
• iPod Radio Remote. Listen to FM radio on your iPod and control everything with a convenient wired remote. Just $49.
• iPod. 15,000 songs. 25,000 photos. 150 hours of video. The new iPod. 30GB and 60GB models start at just $299. Free shipping.
• Connect iPod to your television set with the iPod AV Cable. Just $19.
Thurrott: For any chance of success, Microsoft iPod competitor would have to be perfect – January 27, 2006
Microsoft poised to create portable digital media device to rival Apple iPod – January 26, 2006
Steve Jobs’ suggestion of Microsoft-branded MP3 player a precursor to FairPlay licensing? – January 20, 2006