Microsoft designing device to rival iPod, other portables

In an attempt to take on the iPod, PlayStation Portable and GameBoy, Microsoft is readying a new handheld device that will combine games, music and videos, according to a report by Dean Takahashi of The Mercury News. This story can be considered further confirmation of a January BusinessWeek article which said that the software giant is “mulling its own digital device that adds gaming to music and video, in an effort to compete with Apple’s iPod empire.” Microsoft has reportedly reorganized its home entertainment and Xbox groups to better plan the device.
“The Microsoft product would compete with Sony, Nintendo and Apple Computer’s products, including the iPod. And Microsoft has some of its most seasoned talent from the division that created its popular Xbox 360 working on it,” Takahashi reports. “Game executive J Allard leads the project, and its director is Greg Gibson, who was the system designer on the Xbox 360 video game console. Bryan Lee, the finance chief on the Xbox business, is leading the business side of the project.”

Takahashi continues: “By anchoring its entertainment device as a handheld game player, Microsoft is starting from its position of strength in the entertainment business that it hopes Apple cannot match, even with its iPod. The game press has dubbed it an ‘iPod killer,’ but its functions would likely more closely resemble Sony’s PlayStation Portable multimedia gaming device.” Takahashi says that the device might not be released until 2007.

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