AfterDawn: Tech news

Microsoft wants to topple iPod and iTunes

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 17 Jun 2006 16:24 User comments (36)

Microsoft wants to topple iPod and iTunes According to a Reuters report on Friday, Microsoft is indeed developing a music and video device to compete with Apple's iPod as well as creating a music store to rival iTunes. The report cites information from sources familiar with the plans. According to these sources, Microsoft has held licensing discussions with major record labels and is already demonstrating the entertainment device.
Robbie Bach who headed development of the Xbox is apparently overseeing the project. Last December, Bach was promoted to president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division. At that time he passed an e-mail to co-workers saying: "While I will continue to play an important role in the games area, I will spend more time thinking about our broader challenges and opportunities across the division."

Microsoft's content protection software is already in use on several music download sites and it is the key to offering subscription based music services. iTunes had stayed on top however, despite giants such as Yahoo backing the monthly subscription fee option. The failure so far of subscription services can be credited to consumers' reluctance to "rent" music.


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36 user comments

117.6.2006 17:01

This device is called Vista *L* Anyway is there anyone MS dosent want to topple? 0-o

217.6.2006 17:26

Anyway is there anyone MS dosent want to topple? 0-o
Good point. Microsoft is getting more agressive trying to push itself into the living rooms and pockets of people. Certainly a lot of power there and perhaps will pose the greatest threat to Apple's iPod + iTunes mega-success so far?

317.6.2006 17:49

As long as people still have a one stop shop for their digital music needs and all they need to do is choose between either Apple or M$, I actually don't care. The good news is that if the products compete, so will the prices. Hopefully, two our advantage ;-)

417.6.2006 18:04

Quote: According to these sources, Microsoft has held licensing discussions with major record labels and is ALREADY DEMONSTRATING THE ENTERTAINMENT DEVICE. No!! That means Xbox Portable won't exist!!

517.6.2006 21:47

Anyway is there anyone MS dosent want to topple?
This was my exact thought when I read this article's title.

617.6.2006 22:19

Even if MS does start their own music download service, the only competition will be between MS and Apple, the music will still be coming from the same recording companies. So any price cuts would have to come directly out of MS and Apple's pockets (apple's share of each song is 35% - ). This leaves a lot less room for price cuts. Plus I think Microsoft would have to offer a significantly betterand/or cheaper service to pull people away from iTMS, and since when has MS ever offered either of those 2 features?

717.6.2006 22:33

With services like Yahoo people don't want to rent their music..... What most people DO NOT REALIZE is EVEN WITH iTUNES you are renting music! Under the license agreement Apple can AND DOES change the rules of it's FairPlay (lol) DRM periodically. Sometimes this results in music purchased under more liberal restrictions being locked down a little further and it happens automatically when you connect! There is ONLY one way to BUY music and that is to buy the CD or to buy NON-DRM infested music files. And again, before someone brings up about burning the iTunes and freeing the DRM please understand the effects of compression--uncompression--and recompression on a sound file, especially one that is already of question bitrate quality! This is actually why most iPod/iTunes users who switch their music to 'other' players THINK that those players suck. They think this because the songs sound like crap so hence it must be the players right? NOPE! It's the simple facts of lossy compression. And yet Apple still comes out looking good because their ignorant consumers don't realize these facts and so think it's the competing device and glady go back to their iPods and iTunes now only made even stronger believers and Apple Zombies! When in fact its the DRM and Compression which is to blame! Now I'm not saying protected WMA files are any better.. but renting is renting whether it's called renting (from Yahoo!) or called buying (from iTunes!)it still comes down to someone else being in control of YOUR property which is the antithesis of ownership!

818.6.2006 0:41

What ducknrun forgot to mention in his/her diatribe against Apple and the iTunes Music Store is that the Microsoft store (Urge) will have the SAME EXACT DRM BUILT IN to its service! You will be limited on how many times you can burn a song, the song will not be lossless, it will have the same compression problems as any other digital music file has (except WAV or AIFF and no ones offering those for downloads yet.) Trust me, Apple customers do not blindly think that the music files they are buying are the perfect example of how music show sound, but its good enough for a music player on the run. MS will have the same exact problems and the price will NOT be cheaper. You will only be trading one file for another, one set of problems for another. WMA is not better than AAC.

918.6.2006 6:15

Actually had you read the last part of HIS (lol-mine) post you would have seen the comment about PROTECTED wma files.... protected meant as in DRM not as in concealed carry,pistol packin, music files...pmsl sorry for assuming we were all on the same page with our cookie for me ;-) lol And finally it will NOT be the same exact DRM built in since Apple will not license FairPlay. IT will be MS-DRM (e.g plays for sure) which while more widespread through the current subscription based stores IS NOT the same as FairPlay. Each DRM is different and designed to lock a customer into it's own proprietary model. The main diff is Apple wants that model to equal iPod whereas MS just wants saturation. This is the same thing that caused Apple to plummet in market share with the PC: they want to hold all the reigns and keep others out of their hardware where MS just wants to have everyone use their software, And no this is not an apple/ms flame just stating the facts. And no I am not saying ms DRM is better than apple DRM. And no I am not saying ms is better than apple. And no I am not saying that anything is better than the iPod, nor that apple users are blindly purchasing stuff without knowing the consequences of their actions... though I would bet there are a good number of people who are not as knowledgable as us afterdawners who do not realize this. But I would never use such absolutes as 'all' 'everyone' 'always' and 'never' As for the AAC vs WMA thing this is the exact same thing I mentioned (and had to prove!) to a friend of mine.

1018.6.2006 6:17

and why is it when one discusses apple/ms that they have to go through such lengths to insure they do not upset people. And so they must post by saying that they are not saying such and such or such and such or such and such.... you dont people having to do this when they talk about their underwear, or their choice of bread or beer???

1118.6.2006 6:27

This can't be "Uncle Bill's" idea. Dosen't he already have a big "bite" of the Apple already? Was this announced before or after he decided to step down at Microsoft for a while? This has to be the working of the board at MS.

1218.6.2006 13:58

im suprised there isnt a microsoft yet lol. why dosent microsoft buy over playstation and even there like the richest business in the world woudnt suprise me if they didnt one day.

1318.6.2006 14:03

glitchzoo becuse bugs and software tricks will be knowen more makeing it knowen that M$ makes crapy programs *L*

1418.6.2006 14:05

duckNrun damn I jsut read thru your psot again I get it,nice post!

1518.6.2006 14:09

ZIppyDSM, yeah do you know how many bugs there are in windows and glithes. probaly hunderds if not thousands. and the sad thing is its a fact that when mr bill gates demonstrates the new windows, he misses out these bugs amaking making windows seem cool. he knows where every bug is in windows probaly and he cnt be bothered to fix them with the first relese of a windows series (e.g xp) and he will wait for a few months until the bugs start affecting people and then fix them. lazy ms.

1618.6.2006 15:31

glitchzoo Didnt ME or XP or soemthign crash on him when he went to show it off? anyway,I bet he knows nothign anymore sicne XP is bult off NT and NT M$ had made for them by an outside comapny...or soemthing of the like *L*

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 18 Jun 2006 @ 15:37

1718.6.2006 22:20

My only argument is that MS will not license their DRM either. Neither will Apple. Neither one is right however MS just wants to dominate. MS is not selling hardware, only its software. I've seen the iRiver Clix and I'm not buying the hype.

1819.6.2006 1:44

geez no offence guys but this company seems like it's monopolizing everything.I mean what's next microsoft dish washers and microwaves lol.I like my win xp system and play some ms pc games occasionally but I think ms should stick to what it's best at software.Why not make pc's? If your going to make something why not it be in your own catagory of products?By the way I don't own any portable music player much less The overpriced ipod and I won't buy this either unless it plays games like psp.But I know alot of people like their pmp's and if they want to buy this you got my blessing.Hey go for it.

1919.6.2006 8:39

Hey everyone I dont know about you but compation is good for the consumers if they would drop the price of the Ipods because someone has a "like pod " device it can only cause the pricing to become more in the relm of reality .. in lue of the resent anoucements over sweatshop labor manufacturing the Ipod it only shows the price ( or overpricing) needs to be addressed as far as a subscription for music who cares those sites are a dime a dozen but high co-pasity equipment in the 30-60 gb range under $200.00 that acts like a portable hard drive to be used as a re-imaging tool would be nice so hey let Microsoft build it then the wars can begin and we as comsumers will be the winners.....

2019.6.2006 11:36

A friend of mine just had his company boughtout by Microscoff. Microsoft wants to compete head on with Google Earth. I guess Microcrud is floating in money.

2119.6.2006 13:20

erm i got a good way to make money, sell ideas to ms since they cant make any of their own ideas up anymore.

2220.6.2006 21:45

ducknrun brings up a good point. It is not insulting to state that a lot of people, even technically savvy (or savvier) folks like those of us that read/post on afterdawn, sometimes stick to "conventional" wisdom and don't check video or audio formats out for themselves. I bought a Phillips surround sound system that came with a DVD player with a USB interface for jumpdrives, iPod like devices, etc. Since it also supports WMA, I decided to rip one of my favorite albums into WMA format at 96kpbs. I dumped the files onto my jump drive and started playing them. I was impressed. For so long I'd listened to the Rabid Redmond Revilers about WMA. No cookie for me either, ;o). The sound quality at 96kbps was very good, easily the equivalent of MP3 192 (the "CD Quality" bitrate for MP3). I have excellent hearing, far better than normal, so I can tell even minute differences between lossy formats. Currently the best, imo, lossy format isn't Apple's AAC, but AACplus by Advanced Audio Coding. This format is option in Finnish-based ripper/cdda creation prog called Easy CDDA Extractor ( AACPlus @128kbps sounds far better the version of AAC at the same bitrate. The ultimate point: ALL of us should check things out for ourselves at not just accept the "current" opinion, esp from rabid supporters of this or that format or platform, whether MacNuts or Redmondnites.

2320.6.2006 21:54

"I guess Microcrud is floating in money." No, tracen, drowning in it is more like it. Last report I saw, said Microsoft has $70 BILLION in CASH. That's right. $70,000,000,000 in cash. Microsoft has NEVER paid dividends. Not even once. They keep all the profits and let the pile up. And they've piled up to the point where they've got more cash than any other company on Earth. (To put things in perspective, the US government spends that much money in TEN days. And for those of you who want to "tax the rich", if the US gov't confiscated ALL of the income of the top 1% of wage earners, it could only operate for 60 days. Personal income taxes, btw, account for only 40% of the US gov't's income. For Americans, that is NOT counting SocSec/Medicare)

2420.6.2006 22:00

Finally, I think the real question for Apple, but not for Microsoft, is this: What does Cupertino do when the iPod fad goes the way of the Pet Rock (if you're under 30 you probably won't get the reference)? It's inevitable that the iPod (and I have the 20GB model myself I bought in Dec 2003) fad will go away. Especially since music and video capabilities are being folded into the all-purpose PDAs that combine mobile phone service, email, web access, text msg, music/video capabilities and whatever else They can stuff into those things. Unless Apple's is thinking two steps ahead--something Cupertino's never been good at--when the iPod dies, they're going to be stuck in the same position they were circa '99 when Microsoft saved their butts with $300M in lawsuit settlement and investment money (otherwise known as "anti-trust insurance").

2521.6.2006 21:25

so hey let Microsoft build it then the wars can begin and we as comsumers will be the winners.....
Yeah right... I thought the same thing with game consoles now ever since MS got into the mix they have done nothing but get more expensive.The consumer is never the winner with any huge and very rich company that's how they got rich and we still have jack squat. ps2 $299 launch price ps3 $499-$599 launch price xbox $299 xbox 360 $299-$399 games $49.99 games now $59.99 you will see a similar trend when MS try's to topple apple like it did sony and the rest of the victims.

2621.6.2006 21:59

tycobb Mmmmmmm you have a point ,altho I think MS at least tried to keep costs down this 600 BS is well....BS *L*

Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

Check out my crappy creations

2723.6.2006 14:57

anyone remember 3DO? had a paper route when i was 12 and saved $700 for one. it seems to me that the play station franchise has reached a point where gamers "must" have one. i don't game anymore, but all of the gamers i know swear allegiance to Sony, not MS, not PC games or Nintendo. myself, i'm getting a Wii!!! SUPER MARIO GALAXY!!! AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!

2823.6.2006 18:24

Microsoft should concentrate on their operating system and stop trying to beat everybody who is having some success in a field that they aren't involved in. I'll guarantee that Apple comes out with their next version of OS X before Vista is ready, not to mention the fact that PS 3 is really a computer on it's right and you know the OS sure isn't Windows. I know that some of you hate Apple and rest hate MS, but I sure as heck would rather have a Mac that can run Windows then a PC that can't run OS X. Don't forget that Bill Gates is stepping down not because he wants to but because he has to. Mean while Steve Jobs is in the process of taking over Disney. I see two very different styles here.

2923.6.2006 21:15

robertmro MS is runnign out of steam and the old BUY everything gimick aint what it used to be,I dont hate apple if thier OS could run everythign windose did I would love it to death altho sicne OSX its not been much bettter than XP frankly....your almsot better off with OS 9 in some ways.much like your better of with XP over vista *L* quanpsyc I am a gamer and go after games,the PS2 is goodthe CUbe is ok,the Xbox is ok,the DS is neat and ok,the PSP needs more games,the 360 neeeds ALOT more games the PS3 is overpriced and is going to need ALOT of stuff and games befor it will be worth it,I spent 500 in 91-92 for a Turbo Duo with 2 or 3 games in all it was worth it I remember 2 RPGs on it no 3 RPGs on it I can never forget! Draon slayer/legend of heros,Cosmic fantsy 2,and Dungen Master.

3023.6.2006 21:23

quanpsyc Thanks for your insight.

3124.6.2006 20:50

robertmro, anytime bro! i'm trying to decide if i want to be a part of the apple cult myself. what do you mean by Gates "has to" step down? sounds ominous. and ZIppyDSM, i remember wanting the Turbo Duo and NEO GEO. $250 for a single 24bit cartridge game! but yeah, my knee-jerk reaction was WTF is Sony thinking, then i thought of 3DO, NEO GEO and Turbo Duo... they know what they're doing. PEACE!

3225.6.2006 2:52

quanpsyc I wouldnt say that 3D0 knew what they were doing,it was a hogpog of a system,NEC the makers of the Duo did know what they were doign becuse they were number 3 in japan with Nintendo and Sega,SOny did a good job on the PS1 the PS2 is not to bad,the PS3 tho I wonder.....

3325.6.2006 4:52

quanpsyc "Bill Gates is transitioning out of his full-time role at Microsoft, the software giant that's been under pressure due to a sagging stock price, competition from Google, and nagging delays in the Windows Vista operating system." TechRepublic Full Story:

3425.6.2006 15:11

the most exciting thing about the PS3 is the possibilities of the Cell. we won't see what it can really do for a while because IBM made it a pain in the ass to compile for. i agree with the buzz that this pricing move could make or break Sony Computers division though, what do you guys think? thanks for the quote robertmro. thought Gates just wanted to focus on his philanthropic efforts; )

3526.6.2006 5:46

quanpsy The PS3 is a monster and the potential it has dose a 360 on the 360 witch sues "noraml" tech,however if they dont find and use all the hardware and software tricks (both MOD and DEV) to max out the abilty of the PS3 in the next 2-4 will just be another new system....

367.7.2006 20:13

I think that MS should frist fix the problems on the things that made them, insted of dabing in stuff that the other companys made.That a domataining the marketing for the products that they desinged because they are not trying to buy up the world. And the upgrade and try to fix the problems they have

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