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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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 News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?