Boston Globe Online / Business / Microsoft to sell portable music players "Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, will begin selling portable music players for as much as 80 percent less than Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod. The Microsoft-branded devices will ''look and feel" as good as the iPod for as little as $50, said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of MSN at Microsoft, at the Goldman Sachs 5th Annual Internet Conference in Las Vegas. The iPod sells for $249 to $499. Microsoft will release a number of music players when it launches its online music service this year, giving customers more choices than Apple, Mehdi said. Apple's second-quarter shipments of iPods rose more than eightfold from a year earlier, helping to triple its profit. (Bloomberg)"