This makes me wonder if I should wait.
Microsoft prepping iPod killer
By Jim Welte - MP3.com
June 16, 2006 at 04:29:00 PM | more stories by this author
Xbox maker is reportedly preparing to launch its own MP3 player and is already engaged in licensing talks with major labels for its own music-download service to compete with iTunes.
Microsoft is reportedly not only prepping its long-rumored iPod killer, but it's also ready to take a whack at iTunes, too.
iPod in the crosshairs.
The software giant and Xbox maker is preparing to launch its own MP3 player and is also in the midst of licensing talks with the four major record labels for its own music-download service, according to reports in the New York Post and Reuters today.
Calls to Microsoft were not immediately returned.
Citing "multiple sources close to the major record labels" the Post reported that the new player would be a direct challenge to the video-ready iPod, and that the music service is actually better than iTunes. The service would target sales of individual, or a la carte, downloads, and would also offer a subscription option.
"It seems like an exact head-to-head competition with Apple," one source told the paper. "It's really like an Apple approach, to control the device and the whole stack of technology. This is like Xbox versus PlayStation."
Robbie Bach, who previously oversaw Microsoft's Xbox division, has taken the reins of the music project, the report said. Bach was promoted to president of the company's entertainment and devices division after it was restructured in December.
It is not clear how the new music service effects or interacts with MSN Music, the company's current download service and music portal, as well as Urge, the recently launched music-download and subscription service from Microsoft and MTV. It's also unclear when the device would be released and when the service would be launched.
A Microsoft move into running its own major music-download service would mark a shift in strategy from indirectly competing with iTunes through a variety of Windows Media licensees, such as Napster and Yahoo Music Unlimited, to directly taking on the Apple juggernaut.
The report comes amidst increased digital-music-related activity among the Internet's major players, with Amazon reportedly readying its own branded media player and a service that would be integrated into its music-CD sales division and Google also eyeing a jump into the space.