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Microsoft Developing iPod, iTMS Competitor

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the head-to-head dept.

304

Software writes "Reuters reports that Microsoft is developing an iPod and iTunes Music Store competitor. Few details are available, but it's known that Robbie Bach (the man behind the Xbox) is heading up the project." From the article: "Most iTunes rivals charge monthly fees to access a catalog of entertainment, but some allow consumers to buy individual songs for about $1 each. Microsoft's service will emphasize the pay-per-download, or a la carte, model, the sources said. A subscription component will also be offered, according to early accounts of the planned service. One source, who has seen a demonstration of the service, said it was an improvement over iTunes."

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304 comments

I think you mean... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551542)

"heading up teh project".

Re:I think you mean... (0, Redundant)

GonzoTech (613147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551645)

And... let's not forget, Mr. Coward, I think you meant, "heading up teh project."

Innovation... (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551900)

Thank God for MS. Without them we'd still be living in caves!

I smell a potential anti-trust issue developing here. The DOJ missed the real important points. MS will abuse their position with developing services and products. Unbundling IE is nothing compared to how MS can screw people with new services.

Winning in this market will be easy... (5, Funny)

Osrin (599427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551548)

All a new commer has to do is to talk Apple's customers into give up their iPods and around $2bn of purchased content, after that they can sell on the basis of better devices and new sales/subscription models.

It'd have to be an unmicrosoft solution (4, Interesting)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551625)

However any music store that intends to compete with itms is going to have to support the iPod - there are just too many ipods aren't to try and do anything else.

So if ms did support both the iPOD and their on Plays4Sure players, then i think they would stand a good chance to uprooting Apple. Especially considering they can run the store at a loss for years.

Re:It'd have to be an unmicrosoft solution (2, Informative)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551714)

So if ms did support both the iPOD and their on Plays4Sure players, then i think they would stand a good chance to uprooting Apple. Especially considering they can run the store at a loss for years.

They have a better chance of buying Apple than they do of finding proper support for iPods without breaking the law. Which is to say, no chance at all. Real tried it, look what happened.

Re:It'd have to be an unmicrosoft solution (2, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551805)

finding proper support for iPods without breaking the law
MP3

Re:It'd have to be an unmicrosoft solution (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551903)

Uh huh. You just go ahead and hold your breath 'till that happens. Go ahead...I'll wait.

Re:It'd have to be an unmicrosoft solution (4, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551731)

Frankly, I'm confused why Microsoft thinks it needs to be designing a music player in the first place. This company enters so many markets for no valid reason. iTunes runs on Windows, and most iPod users are Windows users, so why is Microsoft wanting to take out a popular Windows-based service? I wonder the same about Microsoft's obsession with Google. Most Google users are browsing Google through Internet Explorer on Windows. Microsoft apparently believes that's not enough, or, more likely, Microsoft's managers are trying to please stockholders by making half-hearted attempts at every market they can.

Re:It'd have to be an unmicrosoft solution (4, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551827)

Possibly just because there's money to be made. That's why they have an Xbox: if they can turn a profit on it, they will.

But in the case of the iPod, they want to compete against it for the same reason Apple created it: to introduce people to the Macintosh. Apple doesn't turn much in the way of profit on iTMS; it's just there to drive people to the iPod. The iPod does turn a profit, a pretty good one, but more importantly it gets people used to the idea that Apple products just work.

The iPod has astonishing market share despite the presence of cheaper, better-equipped alternatives. If people jump from Windows to Mac on the strength of that, it jepoardizes Microsoft's market share. At this point they depend vigorously on being the default OS choice. Erode their market share a little, and you open the door to eroding it a lot, as people no longer have to buy a Wintel box just to keep on the same page with their friends.

There's also the fact that a big company can never stand still. Just producing revenue isn't enough; they have to produce more revenue. One way to do that is to diversify, especially if you can diversify and still leverage your products in other areas. MS can do that big time.

For example, if they have a new, stronger DRM scheme (based, say, on Palladium), they may be able to get record companies to give them a price break, or even sign up those companies who don't trust Apple's FairPlay to protect their property.

MS can leverage their OS control (to give their device a performance hack that Apple can't get). Maybe they can leverage the Xbox, perhaps a plug on the side of an Xbox for their music player, or being able to build a handheld game device leveraging both the Xbox and music player platforms.

I don't know what they've gamed out, but basically, MS will try all of it. The downside, of course, is losing focus: it's usually better to make 1 good product than 10 shoddy ones. That's less about technology and more about management. MS thinks it has good management. On that, we'll have to see: the slips in the Vista schedule don't speak well to that.

Re:It'd have to be an unmicrosoft solution (3, Interesting)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551895)

Do you have any links to these cheaper and better products that replace the ipod?

When comparing mp3 players based on memory size I have not seen players significantly cheaper than ipod except down at the 1/2 gig size. Things like iriver have included fm radio or ogg support or record features so they may be better but they come in at about the ipod price.

Re:It'd have to be an unmicrosoft solution (1)

MajinBlayze (942250) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551888)

more likely, Microsoft's managers are trying to please stockholders by making half-hearted attempts at every market they can.
***ding*ding*ding*ding*** Congratulations, you just won the answer your own question contest. &lt/sarcasm&gt

The real answer:

In our economy, the way stocks are set up, they are absolutely worthless unless a company is growing.

For a small company, (apple), a growth (meaning new sales) of several million may bring 10% interest on stocks (good investment). However, for a monolithic company such as Microsoft, they have to keep expanding into new markets as they reach limits on the markets they are in. Most large companies have done this in the past to keep value. (see IBM, Sony, et. al.).

If you think they are bad now, wait untill they start loosing share in one of their core markets (OS, office, entertainment), and see the land-grab they go through to make up lost business to keep their market value from dropping.

See also: why get into the browser market? (4, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551937)

Answer: Because anything that has the potential to become a "platform" is a threat. Netscape didn't get blasted because Microsoft wanted to rake in a bunch of cash by selling browsers; it was because the browser as a concept made it conceivable that dependency on windows could be weakened

Likewise "Search". There's quite a bit of revenue there, of course, but it wasn't until GMail, GTalk, GExcel (just kidding) popped up that MS really felt the heat from google's platform.

No, the iPod is not a platform. But OSX is, and if there isn't a microsofty competitor to the iPod then that little device's users are eventually going to discover that Macintoshes are -- as a whole -- quite a bit better than XP boxes. (Vista I set aside for the time being)

Just thinking aloud here.

Re:It'd have to be an unmicrosoft solution (4, Insightful)

NtroP (649992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551860)

One way MS could "support the iPod" would be to release their own, replacement, OS for it that incorporates support for PlaysForSure(tm). When you connect your iPod to Vista it would ask you if you would like to configure your iPod to use music from MSSuperMusicStore(tm), and would flash your iPod with their OS.

There are already replacement OSes for the iPod running Linux, it wouldn't be difficult for MS to make a WinCE-based OS that supported their DRM, etc. I don't know that Apple would have any chance or recourse then...

AAC to WMA converter? (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551889)

The AAC lock-in is the only thing I hate about my iPod. It's supposedly possible to play AAC's on Linux, but I haven't been able to get it to work, even after downloading gtkpod, faac, faad, xine, amarok1.4, etc. And you're right that AAC lock-in makes 'plays for sure' a joke.

Not that microsoft lock-in'd be any better, but what if Microsoft were to write a utility to seemlessly convert and/or copy your exisiting iTunes library from AAC (including DRM-AAC) to WMA?

That might work for Microsoft. Of course, the DMCA would probably make it illegal for them to do this. Do you think Microsoft might count on offshore 'talent' to build such a utility. Like 'count with cash'?

And what if Apple finally did open up iTunes to other hardware vendors? Would that fend of a direct challenge from Microsoft. Would Creative build an iTunes compatible and try to compete with Apple? Would Apple let them?

Re:Winning in this market will be easy... (1)

riversky (732353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551653)

Or the EU and countries like Norway will force Apple to open up Fairplay (I am sure it would apply to all) and the content won't be an issue, because no matter what device you have (me iPod Vid 60) you can purchase at any online store and use it on any device. Competition means price wars!!! I love the iPod but I hate the AAC locked files. (don't give me the burn a disc shit, a waste of time and environmentally unsound because of the wasted disc)

Let the games begin!!!

Re:Winning in this market will be easy... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551703)

All a new commer has to do is to talk Apple's customers into give up their iPods and around $2bn of purchased content, after that they can sell on the basis of better devices and new sales/subscription models.
Or, they could mount a legal challenge [bloomberg.com] to gain access to Apple's DRM, so you could buy songs at the Microsoft store and put them on your iPod, or buy songs at iTunes and put them on your Microsoft player. And although I'm generally as anti-Microsoft as the next slashdotter, I'd have to take Microsoft's side on that hypothetical battle.

Personally, I'd never invest in a music collection that only worked on one brand of player.

innovative (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551549)

Should be innovative. No one else has though of shiny devices that play songs and a store to sell the tunes.

Re:innovative (1, Interesting)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551940)

This is a perfect example of "Microsoft Innovation" like Steve Ballmer was yammering on and on about during the anti-trust trial. Let someone else do the work and when something is successful, copy it and extinguish the original. But in this case, I don't see Microsoft's usual "innovation" plan succeeding.

Spelling police (0, Redundant)

RealBeanDip (26604) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551570)

but it's known that Robbie Bach (the man behind the Xbox) is heading up hte project."

C'mon, it's supposed to be "heading up teh project."

Re:Spelling police (2, Funny)

MyNymWasTaken (879908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551620)

I'm not a geek then, because I've never replied to a tagline before.

one source ... (4, Funny)

floppy ears (470810) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551577)

"One source" [cough]Robbie Bach[/cough]", who has seen a demonstration of the service, said it was an improvement over iTunes."

Re:one source ... (1)

codemaster2b (901536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551878)

/cough: (n) what slashdotters do when they see a load of ...

Re:one source ... (3, Funny)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551886)

"it's known that Robbie Bach (the man behind the Xbox) is heading up the project"

Unfortunately, there will be backwards compatibility issues with the product. While most songs should play on the devices, certain songs more than 30 years old may have problems. Rumors about the beta test suggest that the devices refuse to play ragtime, polka, and early acoustic blues.

Vaporous (4, Insightful)

Grrr (16449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551579)

No named sources, no release date...

Some of the devices will come preloaded with music.


!!?

<grrr />

Re:Vaporous (1)

Alan (347) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551649)

IIRC Apple does/did that with the U2 ipod version (4th gen?) where it came with their latest album and either all their other albums or a selection of other U2 albums pre-loaded. A cool bonus, but not something that'll give me a reason to buy something. If I'm really a U2 fan I'll have a fair selection of their music already, and unless they are better quality or lossless copies...

Re:Vaporous (4, Insightful)

jwocky (900748) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551651)

Give it time. Microsoft has no focus anymore. Between operating systems, productivity software, programming environments, videogames, search, email, furniture stress testing, I'm beginning to forget what exactly Microsoft does anymore.

They're quickly becoming the Jack of all trades, master of none.

Bach (4, Funny)

jasonla (211640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551583)

"...Robbie Bach (the man behind the Xbox) is heading up hte[sic] project." So that means the controls will be unecessariliy large?

Re:Bach (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551814)

Yes, but after the Japanese have a problem handling the giant control scheme, MS will revamp it as the msPod-S and people will buy new ones. Also, it means it will be built with off-the-shelf parts... so it will be the size of a large VCR -- I hear they are coupling it with a free backpack so you can easily tote it around while listening to your favorite jams. Furthermore, it comes with a warning not to drop it on small children as it can cause fatal injury. *queue more jokes on the Xbox's ridiculous size*

Also (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551840)

The XPod will lose 4 billion dollars but fail to make any significant gains in market share, but when the second-generation XPod comes out Zonk will post every day on Slashdot about how great it is.

Antitrust and the Media Player ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551589)


it seems Europe was right about the media player in XP was more than just convienience, will the US now see whats happening and the true intention of bundling the media player with XP/Vista

Re:Antitrust and the Media Player ? (4, Interesting)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551725)

Yes, but does it matter? Bundling has worked and spoiled the marketplace. Take IM for example. A few years ago, it was ICQ, AIM. Other latecomers came, like Yahoo! and Google Talk but never seemed to have taken any marketshare. Another newcomer was MSN Messenger. One would think that ICQ/AIM would still be tops dogs. Not true, even not in Europe. For a while ICQ seemed to be most popular over here, but I worked at a school for a while and the only thing the students seemed to use was MSN, all with a hotmail.com address including Passport. I still both have an AIM and an ICQ account (I know they are technically the same), but strangely enough nobody ever seems to be online there anymore.

Media player? Same thing: none of these kids uses WinAmp, iTunes, Realplayer to play media. They all use our good old friend Windows Media Player. Myself I use "Media Player Classic", but that's just me. The thing is that the iPod will make it a tad bit more difficult. Alternatives do not seem to exist for them. Sure, I think the iPod will make it difficult to actually force WMP on people, but those that don't have an iPod will use and recognise WMP. If they brand it correctly (the hardware "replacing" the iPod), the brand recognition will work and they will sell devices.

I never have seen a WMP-less Windows installed anywhere. Even in Europe, we have lost...

Hmm... (3, Funny)

SenorAmor (719735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551590)

One source, who has seen a demonstration of the service, said it was an improvement over iTunes.

Gee, I wonder if that source was an Apple rep.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551666)

Gee, I wonder if that source was an Apple rep.

If he was, he may be fired.

OK... but why (5, Insightful)

abscissa (136568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551592)

Now that the market is almost saturated... why would I bother to switch from iTunes and my video ipod (which I just bought with my Macbook Pro) to an MS service? Are they going to seriously undercut prices? No.

Does anyone seriously disagree with me that Windows Media Player is a bloated piece of shit? Ever since like.. version... 6.4? MS has been trying to add every possible little thing to it... they are trying to make it so that it is the ONLY program you will ever need to run on your PC... personally I am all for decentralization but I realise there are some users who want to open up one program and then start typing an e-mail and buy movie tickets within the same app (a few years off in WMP)...

Re:OK... but why (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551638)

Microsoft would most likely use Windows Media Player (or something similar) to manage this device. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Microsoft stop production of WMP for OS X?

Re:OK... but why (3, Informative)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551700)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Microsoft stop production of WMP for OS X?

Correct. They (MS) now endorse a 3rd-party plugin for Mac called Flip4Mac that makes a QuickTime wrapper for Windows Media content. It works.. ok.

Re:OK... but why (1, Funny)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551782)

Correct. They (MS) now endorse a 3rd-party plugin for Mac called Flip4Mac that makes a QuickTime wrapper for Windows Media content. It works.. ok.
Oh, that thing that crashes Safari on my iBook. Okay. Gotcha.

Re:OK... but why (2, Informative)

mah! (121197) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551786)

(MS) now endorse a 3rd-party plugin for Mac called Flip4Mac that makes a QuickTime wrapper for Windows Media content. It works.. ok.


They probably sponsor Flip4Mac to distribute it (it's not a QT wrapper, it's a codec) for free. However, Flip4Mac does not support all Windows Media content. Specifically, no protected content at all, and very spotty performance on high-bandwidth video. Furthermore, Flip4Mac is an even worse resource hog than WMP for Mac OS X was.

Re:OK... but why (3, Funny)

mjmalone (677326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551639)

there are some users who want to open up one program and then start typing an e-mail and buy movie tickets within the same app (a few years off in WMP)...

Isn't there a name for software that is intended to manage the various tasks that a user is performing on a computer..? I know there's a name for software like that...

Re:OK... but why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551718)

Isn't there a name for software that is intended to manage the various tasks that a user is performing on a computer..?

emacs?

Re:OK... but why (0)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551675)

Why do you assume that you're even in their plans whatsoever?

They're after all the non-geek folks. The folks who dont own a PC or Mac, and will probably never own a PC or Mac.

Those people DO have an XBox 360, and an XBox Live account, and a yearning desire to be every bit as "hip" as all the metrosexuals with their white earbuds. (An iPod is jewelry, not technology, and nobody will ever convince me otherwise... The fad will end.)

BTW, I agree about media player, and also add that iTunes (for PC) is every bit, if not more, bloated and pile-of-shittier (new pronoun, and you read it here first).

Re:OK... but why (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551789)

...pile-of-shittier (new pronoun, and you read it here first).

I think you mean adjective...

Re:OK... but why (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551828)

Of course you're right, and I'll hang my head in shame.

The new pronoun is, of course, "hte".

Re:OK... but why (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551707)

but I realise there are some users who want to open up one program and then start typing an e-mail and buy movie tickets within the same app (a few years off in WMP)...
You mean like a browser?

Re:OK... but why (4, Interesting)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551727)

Remember when Microsoft entered the handheld market, and everyone said "oh, Windows CE suck" "why should I give up my palm" etc etc? Now Microsoft rule that market.

See, Microsoft don't need you to give up your iPod. They do know how to play the long game. It took them a while to get Pocket PC somewhat right (then they broke it again, but that's another story), but they got there in the end. Moreover, they used the integration with Windows/Office as a selling point (WMP is on every Windows PC, you can see where that analogy leads).

Point is, they don't need this to be an instant success, they just need a foot in the door, the rest is down to time.

Oh no, not again! (3, Informative)

norminator (784674) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551754)

The way I remember things, in WMP version something or other, MS included support for a few stores, but defaulted to Napster. Sortly after that, didn't Microsoft try an MSN music store, suddenly making that the default over the 3rd party stores in WMP? Then there's a bunch of news about this MS/MTV Urge online music store, I wasn't sure where that leaves the MSN service. It sounds like they're grasping at straws, trying the same things over and over again.

I agree about WMP being lousy... I've tried to use it do sync music with my small (256MB) mp3 player. It's incredibly frustrating to try and get your music ready to copy to the mp3 player. I never use WMP to transfer my music now, I just do it through Explorer, or on Linux, but then I don't have control over the overall order of music. It seems that music within a single folder gets played all together and in the intended order, but I don't know what order the folders will be played. On my sister's non-iPod mp3 player, she can't make the music play in the order she wants, even if she creates a playlist in WMP, and syncs based on that. I never used to understand why non-Apple products don't get as much attention as iPod/iTMS (it seems like a simple thing to copy music to an mp3 player, how bad could everyone be screwing it up?), but now that I have one of the non-Apple players, I can see what a frustrating experience it can be.

I'm not really expecting a brilliant turnaround in Microsoft's next attempt at doing the same thing, the same way, all over again... (what was Benjamin Franklin's definition of insanity, again?)

Re:OK... but why (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551757)

personally I am all for decentralization but I realise there are some users who want to open up one program and then start typing an e-mail and buy movie tickets within the same app (a few years off in WMP)

I could already open up 1 program and start typing an e-mail and buy movie tickets within the same app - Firefox. I could also listen to music [pandora.com] and run calendar [google.com] and spreadsheets [google.com] and look at my pictures [flickr.com] and read news [slashdot.org] . Lots of people are trying to make it so that you only ever need one program to run on your PC, and that's already the case for 99% of computer users.

Re:OK... but why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551932)

read news [slashdot.org]

hahahahahahahahahahahahahah*gasp*haaaaaaaahaaaaaaa hahahahhahahahahah*gasp*.....

Damn! Thats the funniest thing I've seen in quite a while.

Re:OK... but why (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551859)

Since Windows Media Player has a web-browser control built in, there is no reason you couldn't do that now, except that as far as I know non of the store that are in by default sell movie tickets (you can buy/rent DVD's though)

Should there only be one way to do things?, should you be unable to type numerals in Word, since that's what Excel is for? what if an online radio station is playing a song from a soundtrack of a current movie, shouldn't you be able to click a few links to get tickets?

But I wouldn't want to balance my checkbook in WMP =)

(note, I work for an iTunes rival, grain of salt, and all that)

Re:OK... but why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551865)

and my video ipod (which I just bought with my Macbook Pro)

Could you possibly sound any more like a showoff Mac fag? I mean could you try a little harder?

Re:OK... but why (1)

teg (97890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551902)

It doesn't do everything - it doesn't support aac, for one. Ogg would be nice too, bug aac is support by a lot of consumer devices and is more widely spread usage among Windows users. WMP isn't software I enjoy using, but with aac support I hope I could use it instead of the utter crap that is sony's disc2phone.

Re:OK... but why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551942)

If you have the Apple logo tatooed onto your forehead, you aren't the target market for this device.

Finally! (2, Funny)

Spackler (223562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551600)

This is it.
The ipod killa.
Pop a 40 Steve, because Bill is about to pop a cap in your lickable bar of techno soap.

or

2. yawn, another ipod killer story.

Take your pick

XBox/360 integration? (5, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551612)

Buying tunes through XBox live marketplace, and transferring them from the box to the player would open the door to a huge untapped group of consumers who don't have (or want) a PC, but probably have (or wouldn't mind) a game console.

I would be shocked to find out that this isn't the route MS plans to take, the 360 being your entertainment-hub and all.

Re:XBox/360 integration? (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551663)

A huge market of people who don't own a PC or Mac, but own an Xbox? That don't own a gaming PC... maybe. That don't own any PC at all? I doubt such a market even exists. On the off chance it does, its miniscule- a few thousand people. ANd of those few thousand people, how many of them have high speed internet to get on Xbox Live, yet still don't own a PC? Probably 0.

Re:XBox/360 integration? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551721)

It's not miniscule at all, think of all the university students (who aren't in comp-sci) who do all their assignments in the PC labs. Think of all the folks who use computers at work, yet have none at home.

Think of all the kids who don't have a computer - maybe Mom and Dad do, but they dont have unfettered access.. They have access to the XBox though.

I read an article about a year ago that stated that since XBox Live launched, Comcast's and other high-speed providers subscriber rates went through the roof. Maybe they were all dial-up users with a sudden demand for high-speed, but I'd wager a good portion of them are couch-gamers who don't care about PCs.

My point is, plenty of people just plain don't give a shit about computers, and dont use them voluntarily (outside of work/school). Slashdotters need to get out more.

Re:XBox/360 integration? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551882)

It's not miniscule at all, think of all the university students (who aren't in comp-sci) who do all their assignments in the PC labs.
Interesting. I work at a university, and the vast majority of students can be seen walking around carrying laptops. Not just the comp-sci geeks either. Doing all your work in a PC lab is so... 1990's

Re:XBox/360 integration? (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551939)


It's not miniscule at all, think of all the university students (who aren't in comp-sci) who do all their assignments in the PC labs. Think of all the folks who use computers at work, yet have none at home.


Many Universities require you to own a PC these days. WHen I went to school 5 years ago, the percentage of people who didn't own their own PC or laptop was vanishingly small- under 10%. The computer labs were only used for special software (say a CAD program), alternative OSes (Unix), and people who wanted to check their email between classes.

I can't say I know anyone who doesn't have their own PC at home. And definitely noone who owns an Xbox but doesn't own a PC.

Think of all the kids who don't have a computer - maybe Mom and Dad do, but they dont have unfettered access.. They have access to the XBox though.


THey still have access to a PC. If mom and dad are going to buy them an MP3 player, they'll let them on for a few minutes to download music.

I read an article about a year ago that stated that since XBox Live launched, Comcast's and other high-speed providers subscriber rates went through the roof. Maybe they were all dial-up users with a sudden demand for high-speed, but I'd wager a good portion of them are couch-gamers who don't care about PCs.


Thats utter bullshit. Even in the US where Xbox came in second, less than 10% of all Xbox owners ever logged into Xbox Live, by MS's own numbers. You read a fluff piece on the Xbox somewhere.

My point is, plenty of people just plain don't give a shit about computers, and dont use them voluntarily (outside of work/school)


I'm trying to find more recent numbers, but 40% of households owned a PC in the US in 1998 with 76% ownership in urban middle class households. The telephone was only 93%. This is a decade later. The people who don't own a PC don't have it because they can't afford one. And they sure as hell aren't buying $50 a month internet access for a game console.

There is nobody who does not own even a shitty PC, yet owns an Xbox and is willing to pay $50 a month for internet access to play online with it. MS may have other ways it can push its service, but the market you think it can address just doesn't exist.

Re:XBox/360 integration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551704)

Thats about the only thing I see having any chance to make a good amount of penetration. Even then it's likely only going to work well if MS makes the entire thing. Software and hardware for the music player included. They've had store technologies and other things like that for other companies to impliment for quite a while but some how things still don't always work and the quality is flakey on lots of it.

There are 2 things that make the ipod so popular.

1) The player just works. It's simple straight foward and effective and for the most part problem free and thats exactly what most people want. Extra features, battery life what ever are nice but it comes down to usability.

2) The whole process follows point 1 from itunes to rip/purchase/manage tracks to syncing to the mp3 player. This is the hard part for everyone else since your stuck working with 3 or more companies

Re:XBox/360 integration? (1)

ObligatoryUserName (126027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551749)

As the mods say it's an Interesting thought, but according to this BBC article [bbc.co.uk] there were 575 million PCs in use as of 2004, and trends indicated that there would be 1.3 billion PCs in use as of 2010. There may be a good number of XBox 360 owners that don't own PCs (actually I'm skeptical about that since HDTV and early rev console ownership would seem to indicate someone who could afford a computer...), but any way you cut it, it's not going to be the route to market dominance.

Re:XBox/360 integration? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551809)

Consider all the parents who have a PC for their "business and email", and don't want little timmy installing that iTunes stuff on it so he can download mp3s all day.

Or consider why someone like me, who owns a pretty decent PC capable of playing modern games well, still buys consoles at all. Why would I forego the majesty of Doom 3 on my snazzy Radeon 9800 card, and end up playing it through on the XBox?

Because it's easier and I'd rather just stick a disc into an XBox or PS2 than spend an hour installing and configuring my graphics card and updating drivers and posting on forums when it doesn't work and waiting a month for an update that fixes nothing. (Doom 3 NEVER ran right on my PC, and who gives a fuck if it was ATI, ID's, Activisions or Valves fault... Ran just fine on XBox though, and Doom 3 is one in a litany of headaches that PC-gaming has caused me, I've pretty much abandoned it entirely).

Back closer to the topic..

My kid has an iPod, getting iTunes working for him and teaching him to use it was a bit of a PITA, frankly. On top of that, he's lost the stupid USB cable two or three times. Given the option of "install iTunes and figure out how to use it, then teach him, and let him have unrestricted access to my PC" vs "plug it into the xbox", I'd take the latter any time.

Re:XBox/360 integration? (1)

RandomGuySteve (889617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551936)

consumers who don't have (or want) a PC, but probably have (or wouldn't mind) a game console.
How many people are there who have a console but not a personal computer? I don't know anyone. The only possible market for an Xbox-Ipod would be people who really wanted it, or people with no iTunes compatable computer . . . Linux users. I don't really see the majority of Linux users going out and jumping on an MS product

I think they're just trying to get a slice of a very big consumer pie.

When I was a kid, we called it 'The Sev' (0, Offtopic)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551619)

From the Article:

""They have been developing technologies that have really good music discovery and community," another source said. "iTunes is the 7-11 (of music stores). You don't hang out there.""

Well, I didn't hang out at the local 7-11 because that's where the local child molester picked up boys (why our parents forbid it AFTER he was arrested and jailed...), and they got rid of the video game machines.

I'm sure there is no connection between on online community and an offline community in that reguard...

(I do work for an iTunes rival, but that's not revelant I think)

Easy way to win... (3, Insightful)

JayDot (920899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551623)

The easy way to win this competition, at least among the audiophiles that care, is to avoid DRM in all its manifestations for the new service. Not that it's likely, given that it's a MS service, but I speculate that doing so would gain an instant market share.

I could have sworn that they already did this. (1)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551626)

Didn't I read a while ago about how they were doing this?

Re:I could have sworn that they already did this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551686)

That's metaphysically absurd. How can I know what you read?

Re:I could have sworn that they already did this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551795)

Great Point! I suppose it was a rhetorical question?
You should be rated up! Good response.

Monopoly again? (1)

Afell001 (961697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551633)

They will probably be using proprietary WiMP codecs and DRM. I wonder if the EU is going to even bother trying to open up their DRM? Might just give the EU one more tangent to fight the Microsoft monopoly if they are able to edge Apple out of the top spot. But doing that would take some doing. First, Microsoft has to play pattycake with the record labels. Apple has been able to do this so far by turning over the lionshare of the profits to the labels and making their profits on iPod sales. But if Microsoft wants to do this, they also have to price their player competitively with the iPod (less profit), AND less money on the content? Sounds like they will be a loss leader for a number of years to get a foothold in the market. But, this isn't exactly new for Microsoft, is it (hint: XBox)?

Listen - DRM SUCKS !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551641)



Listen - DRM SUCKS !!!

There. I wrote it. You may disagree all you want, but it does.

Innovation! (2, Insightful)

twosmokes (704364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551646)

It's always great to see MS on the cutting edge of consumer trends. Where do they come up with these wildly original ideas?

Re:Innovation! (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551685)

It's always great to see MS on the cutting edge of consumer trends. Where do they come up with these wildly original ideas?
It's called the "Copy & Paste" technique.

Re:Innovation! (1)

MeBot (943893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551885)

Yup. Because Apple invented the portable music player. Just like Apple invented the GUI and the mouse and the...

Re:Innovation! (1)

twosmokes (704364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551930)

Who said anything about Apple? I'm just glad that MS isn't intimidated out of the market despite showing up 8 years late.

Won't work. (3, Informative)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551650)

I can only see this working along with Microsoft's monopolist strategy:
  1. Bundle this itunes clone in with windows vista
  2. Have free music available from new artists for download (myspace style) through the service along with paid songs
  3. Make sure the device they have under development is as easy to use as the ipod, and that their ad campaign makes them as stylish and trendy
  4. Find a way to grandfather in support for the ipod for people who have ipod hardware already, but wouldn't mind transitioning software, not hardware

The odds of Microsoft successfully pulling this off successfully are practically zero. One of these key components are bound not to show up, so I imagine people will have a copy itunes installed on their machine along with whatever Microsoft has.

Re:Won't work. (1)

mrspandex (903808) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551820)

1. Bundle this itunes clone in with windows vista

With Microsoft's reputation for software development time, we can safely skip this step.

Whatever happened to Urge? (2, Interesting)

LoKi128 (145233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551658)

I thought Microsoft partnered up with MTV to make Urge. Are they going to have multiple subscription services? If so, will customers have to pay $5/mo or whatever for each? Or will one payment grant you access to the "Microsoft Music Network" that has Urge, Splurge, and whatever other music store they come up with in the future?

Microsoft Business Plan (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551669)

Is it just me, or does it look like ever since Steve Ballmer took over the reigns Microsoft's business plan can be summed up as "Whatever Google/Apple is doing, we're gonna compete with that."?

  -Charles

Re:Microsoft Business Plan (1)

Mr. Ascii (9572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551874)

It has been "Whatever Apple/Novell/Wordperfect/Lotus/Netscape/Yahoo/AOL is doing..." for years.

I know I missed a bunch.

Origami? Urge? MSN Music? Helllooo? (4, Insightful)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551680)

Come on, don't they make this announcement every second week?

sorry MS, not like old times (2, Insightful)

mergy (42601) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551681)

Too bad it isn't the good ole days when the hint of a future MS product could freeze competitor's sales. Old habits die hard I guess.

Thoughts... (0)

celotil (972236) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551694)

I wonder if the MS Pod will be packaged like this [youtube.com] ?

On a more serious note, has someone who has a good working knowledge of the DRM controls in MS Windows (XP and maybe some of Vista's) and Mac OS X know how these two comparitively "play out"?

For example, can you burn DRM'ed music to a CD from Media Player like you can with iTunes?

It won't sell. (5, Funny)

GregChant (305127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551696)

No wireless. Less space than an iPod. Lame.

Re:It won't sell. (1)

mr.dreadful (758768) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551927)

Is this really a troll? I read this as satire. I could swear that this was an early Slashdot comment about the iPod that got mocked pretty heavily after the fact.

I thought they already had an iTMS competitor... (2, Insightful)

BRSQUIRRL (69271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551734)

...called URGE [wikipedia.org] . I'm confused.

This has to be... (4, Interesting)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551751)

... one of the most arrogant comments I've ever seen out of a Microsoft shill, and we've all seen our share:

"They have been developing technologies that have really good music discovery and community," another source said. "iTunes is the 7-11 (of music stores). You don't hang out there."

They have got to be kidding. People spend hours sifting through iTMS. I know people who never close it!

iTMS is like Amazon, people just use it for basic music reference at this point. These people are on crack.

Re:This has to be... (3, Funny)

Mindwarp (15738) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551946)

one of the most arrogant comments I've ever seen out of a Microsoft shill, and we've all seen our share

To be fair, the Microsoft guy/gal is hardly going to say "iTunes is everything you'd ever want from an online music store and more. Ours is going to suck fetid Dingo's kidneys compared to it."

The Xpod (3, Funny)

NoScreenNamesLeft (958015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551756)

The Xpod [uncyclopedia.org]
I can see it now - cheap, overhyped, and bsoding.

iPod support (1)

unheard02 (949368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551765)

If in fact this does support iPod's and isn't a crap interface, I may be all over it. I can't stand iTunes. It's slow, and bulky. The other thing that would open this up for MS would be to allow a subscription service (much like Raphsody) that allows you to download as many songs as you want to your iPod for one monthly fee. If it had that feature, crappy interface or not, I'd be in.

No shit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551766)

No shit... Microsoft innovates again?

Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551774)

I think this is disgusting:

http://openforce.eu/20060614/linux-condoms.html [openforce.eu]

Micro "soft" ipod.

It can be done (2, Funny)

not already in use (972294) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551780)

I can see it now. Microsoft conincides the release of this device with U2's next album. U2 does a commercial for Microsoft dancing and counting to fourteen in a foreign language. But get this... He skips 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 and 13! Genuis! The next day at work, all anyone can talk about is how much of a fucking idiot Bono is, in that new Microsoft [insert trendy name, like Origami. It doesn't have to make sense, it just has to sound cool] commercial. Hate for Bono drives sales.

Re:It can be done (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551912)

Not as far-fetched as it might seem!

Bono and Bill are buddies. [theregister.co.uk]

And they're all so wonderful their farts smell like morning dew on a faerie's wings [cnn.com]

In other news... (4, Funny)

LihTox (754597) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551808)

...today Microsoft announced their plans to open a chain of discount retail stores to compete with companies like WalMart and Target. Tentatively called "WinMart", the new stores will carry a large assortment of grocery, clothing, and electronics items, including all the latest Microsoft software releases. "Businesses have to expand to survive," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "As we already control the operating system and productivity markets, we felt a need to expand into a completely unrelated field. Plus, WalMart seems to be very successful; we'd like to put them out of business as we have done to so many other successful companies in the past."

Microsoft will seek to promote synergy between their software and retail arms. "Using a complex algorithm, our exciting new operating system Vista will be able to learn all about its users tastes and habits, through analysis of their websurfing and other computer activities. We can then send our customers personalized circulars containing exciting and valuable coupons for the things they need to buy most. Plus, if they have a webcam connected to their computer, we will be able to store their likeness in our centralized database, and store greeters will be able to welcome them by name as they enter the store."....

(OK, enough of that. :)

the article is a troll (3, Insightful)

tedpearson (910434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551813)

This article is such a troll. And why even mention that ONE SOURCE says it's better than iTunes, if you don't have any details? It's just a troll for responses, and I've been trolled. I must be new here...

Agreed..and its not even new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551824)

absolutely.. not only that it's not novel or even new.

it was done by napster, napster failed at it and moved to subscriptions.

nothing to see here.

The words they're trolling for are... (1)

Optikschmoptik (971793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551931)

Prism Durosport [prismdurosport.com] .

How do you like them DRM apples now? (1)

Marble68 (746305) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551881)

So basically, the question I have (not being an iTunes user), will all the songs people have purchased simply copy over to their new MS player and work?

Or, will one companie's DRM effectively stake claim to an entire market segment of hostage consumers?

If the latter, DRM is going to stifle competition and create unreasonable barriers of entry to new commers.

"This entertainment medium will only work with this model (and our future models until we decide to drop support)"?

Boy, that's sucks for everyone; except who controls the DRM... But it's not like we didn't know it already; just that I didn't think about MS potentially being a victim.

Maybe DRM will screw all it's proponents one day when someone new makes the "next" ipod.

Microsoft Developing iPod, iTMS Competitor (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551894)

"Microsoft Developing iPod, iTMS Competitor"

lol again?

Bring on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551908)

The dancing Blue Silouhouettes of Death!
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