Report: Microsoft planning iPod rival | iLounge News


Report: Microsoft planning iPod rival

Microsoft may take on the iPod with a new portable device that combines music, video and gaming, according to BusinessWeek. While the device is still in the planning stages, the software giant has reportedly formed a team to consider the project’s chances.

“After getting trounced for four years in the digital music business by Apple, Microsoft finally seems poised to do something about it,” reports the publication. “BusinessWeek has learned that the software giant is working on plans to develop its own digital media device to rival the iPod, rather than just providing technology to partners. Microsoft hasn’t decided if it will go ahead. But sources inside the company and at its partners say Microsoft has put together a team that’s considering the business end of such an initiative.”

Xbox boss Peter Moore says a Microsoft device would have to do more than music and videos—it needs to leverage the company’s Xbox brand and offer video gaming capabilities. “It can’t just be our version of the iPod,” says Moore. “I think the brand is an opportunity.”

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It would be very interesting to see what this device would be like. For one thing, I know that no one has been able to produce a product that overtakes the popularity of the iPod. Microsoft would need to make a huge step in order to grab people’s attention. There are already a lot of products out there that do simular tasks of the iPod, yet those products don’t seem to compare to the excellence of an iPod. My guess is that iPod will continue to lead the way in portable digital music. Eventually iPod will end up being another trend, but the popularity of the iPod will remain for years to come.

Posted by Andrew B. on January 26, 2006 at 5:46 PM (CST)


so im thinking this is more like an xbox handheld sorta thing, like a psp, becuz i believe apple will always stay true to being a mp3 player being very portable. So this wont be able to compete with ipod, just another coool portable device to have along with your ipod.

Posted by Evan on January 26, 2006 at 6:05 PM (CST)


“What are the odds of this device being compatible with my 20,000 AAC files?  My guess is <1%.”

While I love the iPod, that is my main beef about Apple.  The AAC format is great, but if you want to use it on an mp3 player, you’re forced to use an iPod.  Seems pretty monopolistic (I can hear the Apple army shrieking right now).  If you want to buy from iTunes, you’re forced to use an iPod for portable music playing.  I wish that they would just open up Fairplay so that AAC songs can be used on all players.  iPods aren’t selling because people have to have AAC - they’re selling because they’re superior products.  And they would continue to sell very well even if Apple decided to play nice.

Posted by Rob on January 26, 2006 at 6:38 PM (CST)


They laughed when Microsoft said they will enter the home console market and look at them now.

I find it amusing that a lot of people downplay Microsoft for being what they are. But as history has shown, when they enter a market they always give the consumer a well rounded product and it often becomes succesful. And marketing? I can imagine this player being marketed along with Windows Vista, for all we know it might have an app thats same or better than iTunes.

Posted by petey268 on January 26, 2006 at 7:10 PM (CST)


Toyota is set to become the #1 car maker this year, taking the title from flailing GM; if microsoft doesn’t hurry they will lose out on that too.  And I hear Mitsubishi sell a lot of pens in Japan, maybe they should make pens.  Oh, and with Maytag recently being bought out they have a window to take over the washing machine market.  And…

Posted by towlie on January 26, 2006 at 7:48 PM (CST)


When are these competitors going to learn its not the ipod that is the success it itunes. All MP3 players do the same thing with very similar features but no one has been able to touch iTunes. I love the ipod abd the design sells alot of them but iTunes is the deal breaker.

Posted by Fah Q 2 on January 27, 2006 at 1:28 AM (CST)


Rob wrote: “The AAC format is great, but if you want to use it on an mp3 player, you’re forced to use an iPod… I wish that they would just open up Fairplay so that AAC songs can be used on all players.”

Just to clarify this, AAC is part of the open MPEG 2 standard that can work on any player that supports it. It is not Apple’s proprietary format. If a manufacturer chooses to build a player without AAC support then that’s their loss.

iTunes Music Store songs are in AAC protected by Fairplay DRM which is Apple’s. Fairplay AACs work on the majority of players currently sold so until the iPod starts losing market share, I can’t see Apple licensing Fairplay to their rivals.

Posted by Chris on January 27, 2006 at 7:51 AM (CST)


If the screen isn’t as big as PSP, it won’t be as good a gaming console as PSP. But if it is as big as PSP, it would be a pretty darned big and clunky mp3 player. Whether the big screen videos would make up for that with users is hard to say. If it doesn’t have a hard drive, it will be no competitor to ipod.

Posted by Countach on January 27, 2006 at 8:10 AM (CST)


The mass market will not buy a multi-tool (games, music, video) MP3 player. They just want something that plays music. What Apple has done is get the user experience right.

I smell a train wreck.

Posted by tkarches on January 27, 2006 at 9:37 PM (CST)


“The mass market will not buy a multi-tool (games, music, video) MP3 player.”

Yeah, that PSP certainly tanked ;)

I think it’s far too early to be making all these sweeping statements about the mass market. All the DAPs/PMPs put together are but a fraction of the number of Gameboys sold to date, and a spit in the ocean compared to cell phones (that are more and more electronic swiss army knives). While the iPod is really starting to establish its own gravitational field, selling tens of millions of units annually instead of just a few million, the numbers are still insufficient to be determining what the true mass market wants.

The more honest answer is that no one has figured out what the mass market wants in a portable media player but that Apple has certainly done the best so far. There’s plenty of room for Microsoft to carve a niche.

Now, admittedly, I think there is a problem with trying to combine dedicated gaming and media playing because of form factor trade-offs, but if anyone has the money and market patience to determine if there is a profitable, successful way of doing so, it’s Microsoft.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 28, 2006 at 10:33 AM (CST)


well, we’re all speculating because there’s nothing else to do about it at the moment, however, microsoft’s player will probably do all right for the following reasons:

1. ask the general public what operating systems exist as an alternative to windows, and chances are you’ll get “no clue” or “there’s an alternative to windows?”. apple is still not as user friendly a name as microsoft (read as “windows”), and anyone who disagrees is probably a mac fan/knowledgable/or doesn’t have a mom who yells “wheres the start button” when shes on my powerbook. people will respond to something they find familiar

2. if it becomes something like a portable Windows Media Player, then most people (again, not the kind of folk who dig deep into consumer electronics news) will probably find it easy to use.

3. xbox fans will likely get some special features compatible with the 360 that an ipod cannot currently offer.

just a shot in the dark though, i still love my ipod, but as lame as MS can be, they’re not complete idiots, they just don’t like it when their customers have a lot of control when using their products.

Posted by davie on February 2, 2006 at 3:06 PM (CST)

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