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Microsoft ready to Duke it out with Apple’s iPod?

Microsoft has confirmed what we already knew through the rumour mill, that it plans to release its own version of the extremely successful iPod. It will be bundled with software under the “Zune” brand later this year, no doubt just in time for the Christmas season to challenge the dominance of Apple Computer’s iPod player.

Microsoft will be trying to duplicate Apple’s simple approach at providing an integrated, seamless ecosystem for digital media that is the key to its success with iPod/iTunes. It will be joining the ranks of Sony and others that also introduced a music service with its own software and player, but failed to make a dent in Apple’s share of online music sales or sales of the iPod.

Microsoft faces an uphill battle. Currently the iPod holds more than half of the digital media player market while iTunes accounts for over 70 percent of U.S. digital music sale and has more than 75 percent of the digital music player market.

“What Apple has done really successfully is they’ve controlled all the elements of the solution,” said Gartner analyst Mike McGuire. “But having all of those elements does not guarantee success — just look at Sony.”

Microsoft did not disclose pricing for the new media player or whether it would be willing to take losses on the hardware to make money from the sale of music, video and possibly games. This is the strategy it adopted with Xbox game console.

“The iPod is going to be a tough nut to crack, but you probably could have said the same thing with Sony and the PlayStation and it has done a good job positioning the Xbox,” said Toan Tran, analyst at Morningstar.

I don’t think so. Sony and Apple is not a fair comparison. A better one might be the Mac vs. Windows PCs.

Once Apple has found its niche market no amount of Microsoft muscle is going to change that. It’s a matter of too little too late and there is just so much competition out there.

It’s more like Microsoft vs. Apple’s competitors than anything else. Over the ensuing years Microsoft might win out over Apple’s rivals (i.e. the no. 2 slot) but it will never challenge its dominance. It just ain’t gonna happen.

Unless of course if it can

somehow transform the market in ways that change Apple from the big player into “a bit player,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in San Jose, California.

If it succeeds in blazing a trail in the MP3 market, Microsoft will likely license its technology for partners to follow, according to the founder of the Silicon Valley-based marketing consultancy.

“It is a flanking move,” Enderle said. “Microsoft is trying to encompass Apple and turn them into a bit player. The strategy is brilliant, but the question is can they execute.”

“This is the only run at Apple that has a chance.”

Yeah, just like WMA was gonna knock out MP3. Microsoft an innovator? Please excuse me while I laugh myself silly.

So let me think about this… Microsoft (aka Bill Gates) made a deal with IBM for MSDOS before he had even purchased it from another third party. Microsoft stole code from the Apple operating system and made it into a third-rate knock-off called Windows.

Microsoft stole code for active-x and Java from the University of California for its browser as well as stealing the name Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer was a knock-off of Mosaic/Netscape and only beat it out because of Microsoft’s deep pockets and by unfairly integrating it within the Windows operating system. Shall I continue?

Microsoft is as much an innovator as the Japanese were with their cheap transistor radios post WW11. Oh well, it should be fun to watch. More nut cracking

Related links: instabloke, software, hardware, music, audio, ipod, podcasting, podcast, business, marketing, apple, microsoft

Written July 23rd, 2006 by | 7 Comments | Filed under: Business Tips ,

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There are 7 Comments so far to “Microsoft ready to Duke it out with Apple’s iPod?”

  1. Heh, thanks for the trip down memory lane. It’s always nice to be reminded of why I can’t stand Microsoft. Great blog!

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  2. I know this is very old, but it seems you got it right!

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  3. Good article, thanks for sharing and you got it spot on!

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  4. Wow. I think this will be tight rival between Apple and Microsoft. But according to my opinion, at this time Apple is the most innovative tech company ever.

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  5. Hi, I don’t think microsoft can come back in this battle. Apple have already won the mobile market. I think it is Apple and Google that will be the top competitor in computers and phones.

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  6. Microsoft needs to do an iTunes-Store alternative for any of their mp3s to be effective. They have the Zune marketplace, but I never use it. I have an Xbox but if I want to watch a movie, I’ll watch HBO Go or Netflix. If I’m going to rent a movie over Wi-Fi, I’ll use iTunes for my Apple TV, or Amazon Rentals from my Tivo. I don’t think I’ve ever rented a movie from the Zune Marketplace, let alone buy an mp3.

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  7. Good article, thanks for sharing and you got it spot on! http://bit.ly/aJt9IO

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