Friday, May 28, 2004

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of May 31: Rumor Alert: Microsoft Isn't Going to Sell a $50 iPod Competitor

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of May 31: Rumor Alert: Microsoft Isn't Going to Sell a $50 iPod Competitor "And speaking of Mehdi, during his speech Mehdi also discussed Microsoft's plans for digital music, which set the rumor mills churning. According to reports posted all over the Internet, Microsoft will soon release a $50 digital-music player that will "look and feel as good as the [Apple] iPod." Actually, that's not what Mehdi said. Microsoft isn't releasing such a player--its hardware partners are, along with a slew of other devices that will attack the portable-audio-player market from every conceivable angle. "I've spent time with a bunch of hardware manufacturers who will launch hardware products when we ship our [online music] service that will look and feel as good as the iPod product," Mehdi said. "And they will undoubtedly be a little bit less expensive, and so head-to-head against Apple we'll have a device that will be available to the consumer. We won't produce it, but ... we gave a lot of input. [Portable Media Centers] are for people who want to look at music videos and not just [listen to] music, which is very powerful; we'll have that offering. And then [our partners will release] a bunch of devices in between--little ones that cost 50 bucks and that and that you can go running with." End of story."

I don't think it matters that much if the devices are made by Microsoft; the point is that a reference platform that's supported by multiple hardware vendors tends to be more diverse (in terms of features, price range, etc.) than a platform that's only produced by one vendor. Kinda like the PC/Mac story...
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