Microsoft Zune to take on iPod
It seems that Microsoft is not in a mood to spare anyone. The software giant is readying a portable music player and integrated service to compete with Apple iPod. Read the following news extract:
Microsoft Corp. officials for the first time have confirmed that the software giant is readying a portable music player and integrated service, shedding new light on a topic that has fueled rampant speculation in news reports and blog postings for weeks.
In an exclusive first interview with Billboard, Chris Stephenson, Microsoft’s new GM of marketing for MSN Entertainment Business, says the company will later this year launch Zune, an umbrella brand for what he says is “a family of hardware and software products” targeting various digital entertainment services.
The first implementation of this will be the portable music player and digital music service, in what is the company’s strongest effort yet to rein in Apple Computer’s iTunes/iPod juggernaut, currently responsible for about 70% of the digital music market and 75% of the portable digital music player market.
Additional Zune-branded devices will follow, including a portable video player and, potentially, a portable game device, although Stephenson would not comment on the videogame element of the initiative.
Because the product lines have not yet been finalized, Microsoft would not discuss specifications. However, Stephenson did confirm that the initial music device will contain a hard drive and the much-discussed Wi-Fi connection for wireless Internet access. Exactly how Microsoft intends to utilize this wireless Internet capability remains unclear.