“In a bid to capture the huge audience for handheld entertainment gadgets, Microsoft is designing a product that combines video games, music and video in one handheld device, according to sources familiar with the project,” Dean Takahashi reports for The Mercury News. “The Microsoft product would compete with Sony, Nintendo and Apple Computer’s products, including the iPod. And Microsoft has some of its most seasoned talent from the division that created its popular Xbox 360 working on it. Game executive J Allard leads the project, and its director is Greg Gibson, who was the system designer on the Xbox 360 video game console. Bryan Lee, the finance chief on the Xbox business, is leading the business side of the project.”
“By anchoring its entertainment device as a handheld game player, Microsoft is starting from its position of strength in the entertainment business that it hopes Apple cannot match, even with its iPod. The game press has dubbed it an ‘iPod killer,’ but its functions would likely more closely resemble Sony’s PlayStation Portable multimedia gaming device,” Takahashi reports. “Meanwhile, Microsoft’s efforts in PocketPC handhelds and Portable Media Players have fallen short in competition with the iPod. Last week, Microsoft unveiled Project Origami, a handheld Windows computer. But that device isn’t targeted on pure entertainment as the Xplayer is. The existence of these other projects suggests that there is still some infighting within Microsoft about its best approach to portable gadgets. The handheld project is still in its early stages. Microsoft is still figuring out which strategy to pursue in music technology, according to sources familiar with the matter. The code name for its music service, which would be the equivalent of Apple’s iTunes, is ‘Alexandria.'”
“It could be 2007 before the device hits store shelves. That gives rivals such as Sony, Nintendo and Apple considerable time to consolidate their position and come up with their own new gadgets in the meantime,” Takahashi reports.
More details in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The number of iPod and iTunes “killers” currently sitting on death row is uncountable. All of them are tied to Microsoft in some way or another. The only true “iPod killer” and “iTunes killer” is Apple. We heartily encourage Microsoft to keep throwing their money away on a market they’ve already lost long ago.
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