Jobs: Microsoft must build MP3 player this year to compete | iLounge News


Jobs: Microsoft must build MP3 player this year to compete

Following his keynote speech last week at Macworld Expo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs spoke to Newsweek in an exclusive interview. While the majority of the excerpts pertain to the new Intel-based Macs, Jobs does talk about iPod competition and Apple’s record-breaking 14 million iPod shipment number.

“The problem is, the PC model doesn’t work in the consumer electronics industry, where you’ve got all these companies and some do one thing and another does another thing. It just doesn’t work,” Jobs said. “What’s going to happen is that Microsoft is going to have to get into the hardware business of making MP3 players. This year. X-player, or whatever.”

Jobs also said that Apple could have sold more than 14 million iPods during the holiday quarter if it had received more components.

“We couldn’t get enough flash memory, we couldn’t get enough of everything [to meet all the demand],” Jobs said. “We had to call the numbers six months in advance. So we sat around and had some meaningful discussions about what that number should be, and we ended up picking the highest of the numbers. You’ve got to admit, picking 14 million in the spring of last year, when the most you’ve ever sold was four and half million, was a pretty big bet. But it turned out that that number was too low.”

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iTunes is not that great.  Mac OS is worse.  iPods need something more innovative than including video (which truly sucks quality/practicality wise).  I am waiting for Microsoft or some other company (obviously Creative, iRiver, and Samsung have failed) to create something that is really new.  In all honesty, the iPod hasn’t gone under significant change.  The last big change was IMHO going to color screen, which allowed so many options.  So far, they haven’t banked as much as they could have utilizing this feature.  You are good with your iPods Apple, better get it better if you want to keep up this ‘white’ supremacy.

Posted by blah on January 17, 2006 at 5:44 PM (CST)


No way that Bill gates can sell more then 14 MILLION mps/mp4 players:)

Posted by ipoder555 on January 17, 2006 at 10:23 PM (CST)


If MS made their own DAP, expect every person/company/country suing the company for anti-trust. It will be too much headache for Bill. Besides, MS is going from a different direction, taking over the PDA and smartphone market with its Windows mobile OS. Will Steve Jobs bring back the newton? :)

Posted by lawsuit on January 18, 2006 at 2:20 AM (CST)


“...Consider how many past hardware project failures they’ve had. Aside from Natural Keyboards (still the best general KBs available, IMO), Xbox, and mice, pretty much everything else they’ve dabbled in has tanked…” - flatline response

I had to laugh when I read this. Other than the ipod, name another phenomenal success that Apple has had in it’s history. The Lisa?, The Newton?...umm nope, The Pippin? again I’m afraid. I could go on..

People do seem to have terribly short memories. Another fact is no one remains top dog forever - remember Commodore and Atari and how they dominated the home computer market in the 1980’s?

Microsoft is gradually being challenged in emerging techologies which are set to undermine it’s core business in the long run. New technologies (I’d say convergence items which incorporate media functionality) will I suspect undermine the ipod in the long run. It will remain the top dog for some time yet but not forever.

Posted by nicad on January 18, 2006 at 7:38 PM (CST)


I had to laugh when I read this. Other than the ipod, name another phenomenal success that Apple has had in it’s history. The Lisa?, The Newton?...umm nope, The Pippin? again I’m afraid. I could go on..

And your point is?  Apple has had a TON of flops; so what? (You should’ve listed the Apple III before Lisa…now THAT was a real dog; at least Lisa had tech that applied directly to the first Macintosh—how’s that last one for a phenomenal success, btw? And I still have my Apple II+, if only for the memories…). 

In this particular case, Apple is not the one on the hot seat: Microsoft is.  Redmond is the one who is supposed to build this all-defining WMA player. So where are MSFT’s phenomenal hardware successes that would prove to a skeptic that they could make the king of all DAPs? (Yes, I know they didn’t always make the hardware with the following listings, but they did PLENTY to shape these devices.)

Tablet PC?  Only if you’re a doctor or in the construction industry has this device done anything at all. MSFT’s partners are still waiting for this Next Big Thing to break loose.

Pocket PC?  Do they still make these?  Hard to tell by the sales numbers. About the only thing “good” for MSFT in this market is that they’ve taken out PalmOS. But I’m still waiting for MSFT to demolish RIM like they bragged they would; it’s more likely the courts will do it for them instead, since they’ve been unable to do it themselves in any sort of timely manner, based upon the merits of what alternatives they have to offer.

Remember Microsoft’s DVR service, UltimateTV? The one that was supposed to crush TiVo and ReplayTV, but now is wimpering in some corner of Rupert Murdoch’s DirecTV kingdom. How about all of their gaming devices, those steering wheels and joysticks that they ultimately gave up the market to Logitech and others?

And about their wonderfully invisible Wi-Fi shlock from a couple or so years ago? And their stupendous foray into the realm of PC speakers, which lasted, what, about a year or so? WebTV anyone?

And then there was the MSX system, way back in the early days; Mercifully stuck a fork in that dog, even though some like the Japanese thought it was kewl. And Media Center PC? For all its promise at the middle of ‘05, what happened by Christmas? Not a damned thing.

Even with their successes, there are many who count the original Xbox as something of a failure as well, since it never could cut into the PS2’s lead (which in fact EXPANDED that lead during the Xbox’s life cycle), despite having hardware that, on paper, should’ve been superior and coding that made programming for the Xbox a breeze when compared to the Sony design. I happen to like the Xbox a lot, more so than the PS2, so I personally count it as a success. But the jury is definitely still out on the 360, with no blockbuster titles and totally anemic production capacity. And the PS3 and Revolution waiting in the wings.

Yeah, you’re really done a heck of a job in convincing me that Microsoft can build a portable MP3 device (not that you really tried to, but I HAD to have a counterpoint to justify this long-winded post).  Then again, any company that could set loose on the world that horrid Windows Me has to have at least a bit of bravado, however false. Maybe they could use some of THAT to make a DAP. But somehow I doubt it.

Posted by flatline response on January 19, 2006 at 6:19 AM (CST)


Anyone here remember Microsoft’s “iPod killer”? What were they called, um…PMC! Still don’t know? Oh thats right, because they were total failures. And because Gates is such a sore loser, he tried to make fun of the iPod saying it wouldn’t last long (that was back in ‘03, oh look, its now ‘06)

Posted by Nobody on January 19, 2006 at 4:45 PM (CST)


flatline response, my point was that the in you earlier post you inferred that Microsoft is a one-trick wonder when equally that criticism could well be directed at Apple and it’s iPod.

My comment wasn’t at all about convincing you or anyone else that Microsoft should build a DAP. Reread my post. My point was this. ultimately be it Apple or Microsoft, no one stays top dog in their respective fields forever. New technology paths that better mesh into people’s lifestyles rather than direct competitors in the existing will usually prevail in the long run. The end to the iPod’s dominance won’t come from a direct competitor but rather an indirect one, perhaps the new convergence phone/media players which are becoming more prevalant for instance? Equally, perhaps Microsoft will meet it’s match with the likes of Google et al as their existing technology becomes increasingly irrelevant and a new field emerges?

Posted by nicad on January 19, 2006 at 5:10 PM (CST)


If nobody likes windows i dont think they’ll like an mp3 player:()

Posted by ipoder555 on January 20, 2006 at 10:07 PM (CST)



Perhaps I took liberties with your post, but as much as I may have “misread” yours, I think you read way too much into my original posting.

Originally I questioned MSFT’s own skills at making an MP3 player. My conclusion that Redmond is incapable of making one that would good enough be an iPod “killer” was indeed predicated on their failures with past hardware projects. Do these examples absolutely mean that Microsoft can’t build the thing? Not really, but they are indicative of the sort of incomplete, half-baked attitude that pervades with too many of these products of theirs.

My contention is that MSFT hasn’t shown me that they have the fortitude and the long-term drive to develop such a device all the way through so that it has any chance of succeeding in the marketplace. More often, they see one of their pet hardware products do poorly when it hits store shelves, and they’d rather pull the plug and move on to the next one. Only with the Xbox franchise have they shown the sort of stubborness in attitude that I believe it takes to achieve ultimate success. But even there, they go and screwed the pooch by not initially taking the risk of lining up massive production capacity for the 360 to meet the potential of high demand (which there was and still is), instead seemingly playing it conservative—and cheap—in case the 360 turned out to be a slow seller.  No heart, no win; simple as that.

THAT was the point of my original post. Whether manufacturing a direct competitor to the iPod, or building an all-new genotype that pushes the boundaries of “MP3 player” and “media device”...Microsoft’s past hardware devices, even including those like the Xbox and input devices where the company has had some level of retail success, don’t show me that they as a corporate and manufacturing mindset are dedicated enough to ‘do hardware, and do it right’.

Any inference that Microsoft is one-product house (which was never my intention) is only true if that ‘lone’ product is as inclusive as the category of “software”. They DO do software successfully (how good the quality is often debatable, particularly with Windows and its security issues, but the market success isn’t, despite all the grumblings of monopolistic tendencies). But MSFT the Hardware Maker is, in my mind, too much the unproven quantity, with no dedication to do the shriven thing to actually become the ‘iPod Killer’.

Posted by flatline response on January 22, 2006 at 8:10 AM (CST)

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