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: BuyMusic.com is dead – March 28, 2004

84 Comments

  1. Another M$ product they are “planning” to be released. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    Oh my, God! This is getting comical.

    I’m planning to bring peace to the world. FYI

    DJ

  2. This has “Vista fatigue” written all over it. Promise the world and deliver a yard 4 years later. This device will bomb majorly!

    Oh, and just for good measure, Office 2007 was supposed to launch by Christmas and it’s coming out when now?

  3. 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

    Actually I have been screaming at Apple to produce something like this that bypasses the computer for YEARS!.

    All that’s needed is a iPod with a slightly bigger processor, a touch screen with pen and a light version of iTunes. People can buy and sample music right on the iPod. Mix and make playlists too. Optical and analog outputs of course.

    The dock will have it’s own hard drive that automatically backs up everything on the iPod when recharging, it will also have it’s own cd burner. It also would have it’s own DSL modem with some sort of ‘pay by the minute’ broadband service with Earthlink or something.

    Download 20 songs for 99¢ plus $2 service charge.

    The problem this will solve is that there are zillions of people out there that like to have a iPod, like music, but are NOT computer savvy or have the money to buy one and keep it malware free.

    It’s time to bring the joy of iPods to non-computer savvy folks!!

  4. Channel Z: That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

    What would be the point of that??? Are you really that lazy? Do you really want to pay the same amout for the solution you proposed as you would for a freakin’ laptop?

    If you want a device like that why not just ask for an “iPod Phone”?!?!

  5. The problem this will solve is that there are zillions of people out there that like to have a iPod, like music, but are NOT computer savvy or have the money to buy one and keep it malware free.

    It’s time to bring the joy of iPods to non-computer savvy folks!!

    —————

    Macdude, We’ve been through this all before… What non-tech savvy person is going to pay $29.99 a monthfor broadband service just so they can download songs for 99 cents to their iPod.

    The answer is none.

  6. OK, Microsoft is getting closer to developing a potential iPod killer (no matter how much you may discount the idea). They own the software (such as it is), the player and the service. Just like Apple. But here’s their weakness: they have to use WMA for the player and for the service.

    Have you ever tried to navigate Rhapsody, Napster 2.0, MSN, etc? Neither have I, but those that have, report that at best they are clumsy.

    Now try to navigate them on a 3″ screen, using the available buttons on Microsoft’s player, IF you can get a wireless signal.

    I see this effort as a threat to everybody except Apple and SanDisk. That means Microsoft is competing for about 18% of the market, and the other manufacturers aren’t going to just roll over.

    The first casualties (in alphabetical order), if it isn’t Microsoft itself, will be Archos, Dell and Samsung.

  7. It’s time to bring the joy of iPods to non-computer savvy folks!!

    ——————–

    Considering that 79% of American households have at least one computer, you’re speaking about a market that doesn’t really exist.

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