Microsoft to release wireless ‘iPod killer’ by Christmas to challenge Apple

“Microsoft Corp. is planning to have a portable music and video player out by Christmas in a challenge to Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod,” Bloomberg reports.

“The digital player will have a wireless Internet connection, enabling users to download music without being linked to a computer, a feature the iPod doesn’t offer, according to people briefed on Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft’s plans,” Bloomberg reports.

“Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, is seeking to take share from Apple’s iPod, which commands 77 percent of the $4 billion U.S. market for digital music players, based on figures from market researcher NPD Group Inc. Apple’s iTunes music store is used for 72 percent of music downloads. Microsoft has spent the past six years relying on partners to make players that use its software,” Bloomberg reports.

“Microsoft hired music industry executive Chris Stephenson, who is among Microsoft officials who have met with music and Hollywood companies to seek licenses for their content, according to industry officials with knowledge of the plans. J Allard, 37, a Microsoft Xbox vice president, is overseeing the development of the device, the people said,” Bloomberg reports. “Microsoft met with music companies including EMI Group Plc and Universal Music Group, and TV broadcasters NBC, Fox and CBS Corp. to gain content for a music and video store to compete with Apple’s iTunes, according to people familiar with the meetings.”

“Microsoft’s device will be able to connect to the Internet and other devices using the wireless fidelity, or Wi-Fi, standard, which iTunes doesn’t have, the people said,” Bloomberg reports. “Microsoft is also promising the screen will have a better quality picture than the iPod, according to the people, who saw the slideshow Microsoft is using to promote the device.”

“Since Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs introduced the iPod in October 2001, the company has sold more than 50.8 million players. Apple also is talking with Hollywood studios to add movies to the music, television shows and podcasts already offered on iTunes, Variety magazine reported on June 19,” Bloomberg reports.

Microsoft’s MSN Music store has 3 percent of the market for music downloads. The company has a partnership with Viacom Inc.’s MTV on a music service called Urge and any new subscription service Microsoft builds for its new device would compete with Urge. Microsoft also promotes RealNetworks Inc.’s Rhapsody service as part of an antitrust lawsuit settlement,” Bloomberg reports. “In a February interview, Ballmer said Microsoft is ‘committed to doing what it takes to succeed” against Apple… Sandisk is the closest competitor to Apple’s iPod, with a market share of less than 10 percent, Port Washington, New York- based NPD said.”

Full article here.
Ohhh, that all sounds very scary for Apple unless you realize that Steve Jobs most probably has not stopped iPod+iTunes R&D in order to let also-rans like Microsoft catch up. Microsoft is always behind; this case is no different. We foresee people rushing out to buy Microsoft portable digital media players in much the same way they ran to dealerships for Oldsmobiles. And, yes, Ballmer really ought to be committed.

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Related articles:
Analyst Wu: Microsoft unlikely to dethrone Apple iPod+iTunes – June 21, 2006
Microsoft preps iPod+iTunes killer – June 19, 2006
Report: Microsoft readying Apple iPod+iTunes rival – June 16, 2006
Microsoft: No iPod killer planned – June 05, 2006
Microsoft, Toshiba, DoCoMo, Victor to develop Japan iPod+iTunes killer – June 02, 2006

Patent application shows iPod capable of live wireless video conferencing – June 13, 2006
Apple patent application filed for wireless iPod+iTunes distribution – May 04, 2006
Generator Research: Apple to Ship $4.2bn in Wireless iPods (WiPods) by 2010 – March 14, 2006
Ready for your wireless Apple iPod? – February 09, 2006
Wireless iPod? CSR and PortalPlayer to bring wireless connectivity to personal media players – February 08, 2006
Wireless Apple iPods coming in 2006? – December 09, 2005

More blood on Apple iTunes Music Store’s play button: MyCokeMusic is dead – June 20, 2006
More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: iRiver gives up on digital media player market – May 23, 2006
More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: Sony’s Walkman Bean is cooked – February 13, 2006
More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: Dell dumps ‘DJ’ hard-drive MP3 player line – February 04, 2006
More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: iRiver pulling out of Europe? – February 01, 2006
More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: Thomson gives up on MP3 player, CE markets – December 12, 2005
More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: BenQ withdraws from MP3 player markets – November 28, 2005
More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: Olympus halts production of portable digital music players – November 09, 2005
More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: Rio is dead – August 26, 2005
Apple’s iPod has blood on its Click Wheel: Virgin Electronics is dead – March 08, 2005
Apple’s iTunes Music Store has blood on its play button: is dead – March 28, 2004


  1. MS has to figure out how to load content onto the unit before they try to shove it down our throuts..

    At least with this attempt they will be truely CRUSHED at all points.

    maybe if they build in office support it will take off… oh wait.. no one uses office anymore.

  2. Wireless!!!

    Apple, that is what I want.

    I am tired of my headphones getting caugh on things.

    And, to be honest, a subscription service for music I would never want to buy would be nice too.

    There is music I want to own and music I would never want to own, but want to hear every once in awhile. Apple, please give me a choice to have both.

  3. So, the report comes that the player will have a better screen and wi-fi according to a presentation? When do we trust Microsoft’s presentations as fact that they will release a so called “product” by December.

    “In other news, Microsoft announced today (through reliable sources who saw a presentation) that they have delayed their ‘iPod Killer’ once again. It now is reported the device will be slightly larger than a brick, twice as heavy as Steve Ballmer, and hold about 100 songs — all with a battery life of about 2 minutes. This device dubbed the “Sinking Ship” player is due in six months from now durring 2010’s Windows Convention — proudly displaying next to Window’s Vista.”

  4. MDN, first you criticize any player that is not an iPod and say they are all rip-offs and blood on the wheel… Then a player is rumored to be quite different from an iPod and you criticize it by saying that “well Apples probably doing that too.” What gives?

    The iPod is a fantastic device, it doesn’t mean that there can’t be another fantastic device as well.

  5. The Microsoft iPod killer will be out Christmas of 06

    in October they will announce a delay and push it back until January.

    In November they will push it out to March of 07 and will cut the wireless connectivity feature.

    In December they will announce the player will no longer recieve radio.

    In January (1 month after it was SUPPOSED to be released) Microsoft will be in legal trouble with NBC and it’s licensing. Other companies will follow suit and pull out from the deal.

    as February 07 rolls around they will announce that the Micro$oft iPod killer will be ready for release but it will no longer play music. Instead it will be a remote control for the xBox as soon as the cord is added back in. The problem is that even though it’s no longer WiFi capable it is still susceptible to viruses,spyware and adware. Luckily Microsoft VirusProtectPlus is right around the corner with a release date of June 2008.

  6. Somehow, I think this will be a Origami like device, just smaller, and of course running windows.

    But, big deal. It can download music wirelessly. It still needs an internet connection. It’s gotta be bigger and an iPod. It’s NOT a phone. So, why would I want something big, and bulky it play music wirelessly?

    Apple needs to come up with a iPhone that takes the best parts of the iPod, phones, and PDAs and puts it in something about the size of my 5th Generation iPod.

  7. microsoft’s rumored wi-fi portable and related services will compete with other microsoft backed ventures like urge and rhapsody. real brite there guys. if i where mtv or real i’d be really pissed off. but what can they do, develop their own solution?

    mdn is right when it says that all these also runs will fail because they all rely on microsoft who’s also competing with them.

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