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Microsoft MP3 Players - Just In Time For Christmas

by July 06, 2006

According to the NY Times rumor mill Microsoft plans to jump into the MP3 Player market and go head to head against Apple. A marketplace struggle between Microsoft and Apple, could it be the good old days will return?

Microsoft has experienced success making PC peripherals like mice, keyboards and the occasional network card. But its real boldness in hardware came when the Seattle software giant muscled its way into the console game war stealing market share from Sony and leaving Nintendo a distant third. Apple's iPod has long owned the portable media players market and Microsoft wants in. The rumor of Microsoft getting into the portable media player business have long circulated but most would agree that such a move risks Microsoft stepping on the toes of companies like Samsung, Creative and Sony who agreed to use Microsoft's software in their devices. But the NY Times claims to have received information about a pending media player to be launched by Christmas from:

"…entertainment industry executives briefed on the company's plans ... who did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the device."

According to the execs, Microsoft will compete with Apple's devices with innovation. Most iPod competitors simply see Apple's smart design and then raise it an FM tuner. It must be frustrating for Microsoft to see every Media Player compatible would-be iPod killer believe an FM tuner sets them apart. Microsoft will add an advanced video screen and wi-fi to its player, which would really give it an edge. A wi-fi Internet connection will allow users to connect directly to Microsoft's own media service without a computer. If Microsoft's future media player is compatible with WEP/WAP wireless security it will be usable on most wi-fi hotspots you encounter in your travels. But the device would still require a browser if you wanted a connection at the local Starbucks where you must enter a code for paid access. The MusicGremlin is an interesting new MP3 player with its own music service and wi-fi access, it also lets you to beam music through the internet to friends.

Currently Apple holds 77 percent of the digital music player market and 72 percent of music downloads is through iTunes. You can see why Microsoft wants to get into that market. According to the execs in the NY Times report TV and music companies will be interested in working with Microsoft to provide them downloadable content to stave off Apple's dominance.

It's been long speculated that a bridge between MSN Music services and Xbox Live's marketplace could be a sure bet for the near future. A portable media player might just close the gap. How many Live members would jump at the chance to download music using the Xbox 360's remote control? Compatibility to Microsoft's DRM10 also known as PlayForSure a user should be able to download media to their home entertainment system and then offload it to Microsoft's own mobile device.


About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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