Industry heavyweights team to take on iPod in Japan | iLounge News


Industry heavyweights team to take on iPod in Japan

Microsoft, Toshiba, Victor, NTT DoCoMo and five other companies have teamed up to offer digital music and video services and media players to compete with Apple in Japan. Bloomberg News reports: “The companies will develop a portable music and video player for the Japanese market, according to a Microsoft press release dated yesterday. The device would challenge Apple’s iPod… Microsoft will develop the software while consumer electronics makers Toshiba and Victor, will make the portable device. DoCoMo, Japan’s largest mobile phone operator, last month said it would offer a handset that is compatible with Microsoft’s software, and that lets customers transfer Windows format music files from their personal computers to their cell-phones.”

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I can transfer AACs from my Mac to my SonyEricsson over bluetooth now. So what?

Posted by eiscir on June 1, 2006 at 4:36 PM (CDT)


MS is certainly having a tough time with the iPod.  The takeover ain’t quite as easy as giving away Internet Explorer for free, is it?!

I’ve lost track of how many “iPod killer” schemes that MS has cooked up over the past several years.

Posted by The Raven on June 1, 2006 at 6:59 PM (CDT)


“I’ve lost track of how many “iPod killer” schemes that MS has cooked up over the past several years.”

You should think harder then since a) it cannot possibly several years since the iPod hasn’t been around even five years and can only really be considered successful for at most three of those years (and that’s stretching things), and b) the answer is at most three schemes: The Microsoft Music Store (kind of grasping for an iPod killing scheme), Plays For Sure, and the Urge + WMP11 (which hasn’t even gone final).

The truth is that Microsoft hasn’t really done much of anything to compete with the iPod as they just don’t care all that much. They’re not in the hardware business and they’re doing just fine licensing the Janus DRM that everybody but Apple and Real uses. Whether or not anybody unseats Apple as top dog doesn’t affect MS’s bottom line, and that’s all they’re worried about.

Posted by Code Monkey on June 1, 2006 at 10:41 PM (CDT)


Urge + WMP11

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Particularly with regards to the Urge plug-in. The EULA for Urge is extremely opened ended in what MTV/Urge can install on your computer. And all of it legal, because the end user rubber stamped their approval in accepting the EULA.

Urge appears to be just what the RIAA ordered.

BTW, MSFT does indeed care about Apple’s fortunes. There are billions going to Cupertino and not to Redmond and their partners, and those Windoze geeks across the lake from me simply can’t have that, since it’s all about control of content distribution, something that despite MSFT’s best efforts is not an area that MSFT has a strong foothold on.

If few consumers are buying into the Play For Sure mantra, then MSFT’s partners in the Janus dark side won’t be very happy, or likely to continue on drowning in red ink. MSFT may have their license agreements, but if the retail end of the business isn’t there for those licensees, then guess what, in short order there won’t be any licensees for Redmond to be happy over.

Posted by flatline response on June 2, 2006 at 12:32 AM (CDT)


“The truth is that Microsoft hasn’t really done much of anything to compete with the iPod as they just don’t care all that much.”

I agree with you on this one.  I think is funny how everyone looks at Microsoft and say “well, do something”. People think that Apple only competes with Microsoft. Apple competes with the entire PC industry. Its Hardware makers(Dell,HP,etc)Its Software makers(all those programs that only run on Windows)and Operating systems.(Microsoft being the big boy on this one)

The iPod is a success because the software and hardware makers is the same, creating a seemless experience. Microsoft teaming up with others might’ve had work in the beginnings of the PC industry ,Cough,IBM,Cough, but it may not be what consumers want out of their digital music players.

Posted by gbendana on June 2, 2006 at 12:33 AM (CDT)


People in japan download way more music on their cell phones than on their PCs, and Docomo is the absolute celle phone leader in japan.

THis partnership means that they (NTT) probably will never sell an ipod phone (or whatever it’s called) and that’s bad news for apple.

Last year the japanese downloaded 89 million songs onheir phones, and only 6 million on their PCs.

This is really bad news for apple, people : imagine the major carriers issuing a press release saying “we will not work with apple.” That’s bad unless customer studies show that people do not want to merge their cell phones with their ipod (on a long terme basis)

Posted by John on June 2, 2006 at 5:07 AM (CDT)


Oh man, why don’t they give a press-release when they’ve got actual product to ship? Yet another “We are jealous of ipod and want to beat them but can’t” press release.

Posted by Countach on June 2, 2006 at 5:18 AM (CDT)


“The truth is that Microsoft hasn’t really done much of anything to compete with the iPod as they just don’t care all that much.”

What a load of BS.

Posted by The Raven on June 2, 2006 at 7:40 AM (CDT)


“You should think harder then since a) it cannot possibly several years since the iPod hasn’t been around even five years”

So, tell me, where’s the $50.00 iPod Killer that MS said it was going to come up with back in 2004?

Apparently, you need to go back and brush up on your iPod history, bub.

Posted by The Raven on June 2, 2006 at 7:51 AM (CDT)


Hey, Code Monkey…

here are juast a few quotes and headlines from 2004, 2005 & 2006:

MS, partners tout Portable Media Center ‘iPod killer’

Microsoft Ponders iPod Killer

“A $50 Microsoft iPod Killer? Feh!!”

Microsoft works with partners to dethrone iPod

MS cheers as Amazon offers ‘iPod killer’ Media Centers

“Microsoft mouth Yusuf Mehdi told the Goldman Sachs fifth annual Internet Conference this week that the MS team is working on devices, to be rolled out with its music service later this year, that will “look and feel as good as the iPod for as little as $50.”

Microsoft’s iPod killer?

Microsoft Plotting XBox Portable? Or ‘iPod Killer’?

Microsoft SideShow — iPod Killer?

Will Microsoft Succeed With iPod Killer?

Handheld Xbox: third time lucky for MS iPod killer scheme?

Gates plans ‘iPod killer’ partnerships

Microsoft, MTV, iRiver take on Apple

So, as you can see, MS couldn’t care less about the iPod.

Posted by The Raven on June 2, 2006 at 8:09 AM (CDT)



And did any of those see the light of day? No. Was Microsoft responsible for the “iPod killer” tagline inserted over their press comments? No. How many of those programs were little more than rampant speculation on the part of the reporters? Almost none.

They have unveiled 3 *actual* programs that could be construed to be competing directly with iPod/iTunes.

If you want to see some huge but failed assault on Apple’s greatness, go right ahead. It won’t change the fact that MS hasn’t really done much at all.

If MS really wanted to take on the iPod we would have seen the equivalent of the X-box, not a handful of partnerships to help other DAP manufacturers make their products work better with WMP along with their store and Plays For Sure certification.

If nothing else, I suspect that MS believes that in the end the market will take Apple off its throne without a lot of valiant charges, and they’re probably right. At some point, we will see the Win95 of the DAP world and at that point you might was well start selling your Apple stock (again). Apple never understands that as much as they’re right about great products being about the user experience, they are about more than that as well (price, flexibility, competition for manufacturers, etc.).

Unlike a company like iRiver, Microsoft doesn’t have to take the battle by 2007, 2008, or even 2018. They’re profitable and so long as they don’t spend too much money on supporting *other* companies’ DAP lines, they’ll do just fine at chinking away at Apple’s market share until Apple is just one more player in a big market.

Posted by Code Monkey on June 2, 2006 at 8:30 AM (CDT)


This should be as successful as the XBox is in Japan ... or their new JPEG-killer ... anyone switching to the new MS graphics format?

Shouldn’t they be working on their OS instead of trying to sell two formats people have rejected for 10 years? WMA & a new JPEG? But that MS for you - constantly 5 years behind ...

2006 - discovered that Google might a threat after all ...

So, they will throw money at it - they spent $10 BILLION dollars to sell 25 million XBoxes - and look to be third still after 2006 ...

They spent $4 BILLION to try and dethrone AOL.

When consumers have a choice, they seldom choose MS ...

Posted by jbelkin on June 2, 2006 at 12:34 PM (CDT)


“And did any of those see the light of day?”

And this matters, why?  If MS does anything well, it is TALK.  Blah, blah, blah.  Truth is, they can’t deliver on an “iPod Killer”, but they figure they might as well keep stooges like you eagerly awaiting just what they MIGHT someday pull out their a**.

So, where is that $50.00 iPod Killer, Code Monkey?!  You keep avoiding the question.

Posted by The Raven on June 2, 2006 at 5:23 PM (CDT)


“So, where is that $50.00 iPod Killer, Code Monkey?!  You keep avoiding the question.”

That was never a question in discussion. The question was your inability to count to three with regards to how many failed schemes Microsoft had tried.

The problem is that you are trapped in the same reality distortion field as whoever tried to report some offhand remark about a $50 pricepoint as fact. There isn’t some big Apple versus Microsoft competition for the DAP market, there never was, and unless the market changes without MS needing to do much, there never will be.

I don’t care about Apple, I don’t care about Microsoft, they’re just companies that make good products (yep, both of them). Most of what both of them ever start considering is dropped before it ever reaches proof of concept stage, and most of it fails shortly thereafter, it’s just the way things are. All this corporate fanatacism is like getting all worked up because General Mills is putting out a new cereal that reminds you of something Kellogg’s already made.

Posted by Code Monkey on June 2, 2006 at 5:44 PM (CDT)


The Scene: a dark room in a warehouse in Tokyo- a haze of cigar smoke and the smell of an elegant seven course meal hangs in the air.  The heads of Microsoft, Toshiba, Victor, NTT DoCoMo and er, five other companies are sitting around a circular table.

Bill Gates addresses Toru Uchiike and the rest of the table by clinking his glass with a silver steak knife, “Our collaboration will result in total world domination of the DAP market- WE WILL KILL THE IPOD!”

Oh, sorry I was in an alternate reality- and after reading this story, I guess that these companies are in one as well.  Good luck to you MS and company- I don’t have a lot of faith in your ability to create anything as remotely easy to use as the iPod- more power to you though- maybe it will drive innovation and slash DAP prices…

Posted by Anthony on June 2, 2006 at 6:34 PM (CDT)

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