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July 6, 2006

iPod Killer update

Posted by David Hunter at 12:35 PM ET.

I guess “entertainment industry executives” just can’t keep their lips zipped since after yesterday’s Bloomberg News story about a Microsoft plan to compete with Apple’s iPod, they seem to have been falling over themselves to dish to a reporter. Jeff Leeds at the NY Times:

Microsoft has been developing its own hand-held music and video player to challenge Apple Computer’s iPod and expects to have it in stores in time for the holiday season, entertainment industry executives briefed on the company’s plans said last night.

The company has also held negotiations, the executives said, with major record companies and some major television networks in order to settle on terms that would allow it to sell music and video content online through a service similar to Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

A senior executive at a major TV network said Microsoft had not yet received commitments from the networks to supply programming to its online store. But the executive said that the networks would welcome competition for Apple in downloads.

Music industry executives in particular have complained about Apple’s control over the digital music market and its power to determine pricing of songs and albums.

And the fact that Microsoft’s previous hardware partners for the Portable Media Center specification and related media player software would be getting the shaft has begun to attract notice:

The shift is likely to anger Samsung, Sony, Creative Technology and other manufacturers that were persuaded to use Microsoft’s software in their devices, because a Microsoft player would compete with theirs.

It’ll probably get smoothed over, but it does make you wonder how Microsoft feels about its personal computer partners.

Update: Engadget has more including this gem:

To attract current iPod users Microsoft is going to let you download for free any songs you’ve already bought from the iTunes Music Store. They’ll actually scan iTunes for purchased tracks and then automatically add those to your account. Microsoft will still have to pay the rights-holders for the songs, but they believe it’ll be worth it to acquire converts to their new player.

They also are predicting a combo player and mobile phone.

Filed under Apple, Coopetition, Creative, Digital Media, Hardware, Media Player, Microsoft, New Form Factors, Portable Media Center, Samsung, Sony, Technologies

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3 Responses to “iPod Killer update”

  1. What can Microsoft bring to the table to beat the iPod? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Now that the first buzz is over and it’s taken as a given that Microsoft will be offering its own personal media player before before Christmas, it’s time to assess the pros and cons of Microsoft going out on its own to beat Apple’s iPod. One of the more thoughtful press articles in that regard is from Peter Burrows at BusinessWeek Online which starts out with a brief digression: In mid-June, Jonathan Sasse, president of digital-music-player maker iRiver America, was making the rounds with the press, talking up his latest gizmo, the clix. His message was that this music player, unlike so many other iPod wannabes, had a chance to hit it big and maybe even take some business from digital music kingpin Apple Computer (AAPL). [...]

  2. Media UnCut Says:

    Microsoft on MP3 Player: “speculation and rumors”

    The rumors are back that Microsoft is trying to kill the Apple iPod. Microsoft would not confirm and the do not “have anything to announce at this time”. The rival iPod player would allow downloading music wirelessly so you don’t need a PC.

  3. Microsoft admits to Zune -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] – The service and device will not be PlaysForSure compliant, meaning you will not be able to use your Zune player with Napster or Vongo, for example. This will be an entirely new system. Microsoft will continue to support and develop for their PlaysForSure initiative, but all things PlaysForSure are handled by two (sic) entirely separate division that will not have any crossover. The latter point – that Microsoft’s erstwhile PlaysForSure partners are left out in the cold by the Zune – is one nail that I can never resist hammering (e.g. [1], [2]) and it seems to be quite a popular target: [...]

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