Microsoft will release iPod rival this year

Microsoft confirmed it will ship competitive offerings to Apple Computer's tremendously successful iPod and iTunes digital music products sometime this year.

In an e-mailed statement, the company said that under a new brand, called "Zune," it will deliver "a family of hardware and software products" that will "bring together technology and community to allow consumers to explore and discover music together."

The company has set up a Web site, http://comingzune.com, where users can sign themselves or friends up for a newsletter providing information about Zune. The site features animation set to a song called "Us" by Regina Spektor.

Microsoft did not give specific information on exactly how the new products will work together, but said it plans to help build a community for connecting customers to new music and other entertainment in addition to offering new hardware and software.

"It's probably safe to say that this project will place Microsoft in path with iPod/iTunes at some points, but Zune is a much broader, holistic project," the company said via e-mail.

Microsoft also declined to say whether it will design and sell the hardware itself, as it does with its Xbox game consoles, or use a third party.

However, Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group said the company will indeed design and sell the initial Zune hardware, which he said will be "a music player with a large video screen." Microsoft also will allow third parties to license Zune technology so they can offer their own hardware as long as it is consistent with the original user experience.

Enderle also shed some light on what that experience may be. According to him, Zune will be "artist-driven," so recording artists will have a lot of freedom in designing the user interface for their music.

But until Microsoft fully reveals Zune, which he expects the company to do in September, October or November, it's hard to tell exactly how users will interact with Zune, Enderle acknowledged.

Speculation has been brewing for some time that Microsoft was planning an iPod "killer," but the company had remained mum on the subject until Friday.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?