updated 07:40 pm EDT, Wed July 5, 2006
MS to launch iPod rival
With a huge marketing push, Microsoft plans to release its own media player in time for the holiday season this year, as its partners have failed to make a dent in Apple's dominance of the online music world. In an effort to establish its own brand and technology in the rapidly growing world of online music -- one that Apple has effectively locked down using its own closed iPod/iTunes ecosystem -- Microsoft has been showing off its own media player and software to record companies over the last few weeks. According to Reuters, the device will let users download music and videos over the air. The feature, which would give it an edge over the iPod, would enable users to more easily purchase music without being tethered to a PC. Bloomberg reports that the rumored media player has a higher screen resolution for better image quality, and will be able to connect to a PC or other device via WiFi.
In addition, the Redmond-based company has also been showing a new media software application to develop a system akin to Apple's own software-hardware ecosystem. The report says that record companies are expected to begin receiving prototypes in the coming weeks and that Microsoft will be throwing significant marketing dollars behind the launch.
J. Allard, the executive responsible for launching Microsoft's Xbox, is working with Robbie Bach, appointed president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices, to help make the unnamed digital media player/software project a success, according to Bloomberg.