Microsoft to Release iPod Competitor

by James R. Stoup Jul 07, 2006

By now you might have heard the rumors and seen the unconfirmed pictures of Microsoft’s alleged iPod competitor. I say iPod competitor instead of iPod killer because that term has officially been used to the point of absurdity. So when I talk about this device it is with the firm belief that even if this device makes it out of the pipe-dream phase and into actually-on-a-store-shelf phase, it still won’t do any killing, iPod or otherwise.

When I read this story I couldn’t help but ask why. Why would Microsoft even bother trying to produce a device like this? With the exception of the Xbox they have no experience designing hardware. And even the Xbox, while nice, isn’t exactly a stunning piece of industrial design. It is a good device, but not an exceptional one. And exceptional is what Microsoft would have to create if they wanted to try and compete with the iPod.

So this brings us back to why? Why bother? Why not just pour their money into something else like ultra portable PCs. Well, maybe not. But how about something else? I mean, what with the solid success that Origami was why not shoot for something easier than dethroning the iPod? Like, why not invest in General Motors and see if they can get them to produce cars that are cheaper and more reliable than Toyotas? I mean, if you want a challenge, hell, aim for the freaking stars, right?

After all, Microsoft is a software company first, a services company second, a gaming company third, an internet company fourth and now, I suppose, a portable electronics company fifth. From a product-stand point they don’t really excel at any one of those, but hey, why should that matter, right?

I think Microsoft should go for it. I hope they throw several million at this soon to be doomed business venture. And why do I want them to waste their money? Partly because I enjoy it when they fail miserably at something but mostly because I want Apple to be spurred on to create more cool products. And, of course, when ever Microsoft releases another piece of crap it gives us bloggers something to talk about.


  • Apple recently bumped their licensing fee for iPod accessory manufacturers from 2% to 10%.  You think anyone’s going to go along with that if Apple didn’t dominate the market? -Bbx

    I agree with you on this because it is fact. But let’s talk reality here. Last time I heard, the Belkins and the Griffins are smiling all ears for their BEST EVER quarterly/annually revenue takes THANKS TO THE IPOD! And what’s more, they don’t even mention the 10% cut that Apple got from their bottom-lines. They should be grateful to the Steve for he gave them the blessing of serving the iPod heaven.

    Now, about those gripes? I think you are just making those up, Bbx. Sure, if I were an iPod sock-maker I woulnd’t want to share my extra 8% of my gazillion of FAT profits. From a human-nature point-of-view that is just childish and self-serving. Sure, they want to keep all their $$$ for themselves but Steve and the gang got too smart and FAIRLY upped the ante. And why not, do you think Steve will just keep these accessory makers fat and happy without Apple’s fair share?

    As for these makers being unduly forced to support ONLY the iPod for that would be a “monopolistic” action by Apple’s dominance in this segment, they do support other media devices - Creatives, Samsungs, Sonys? So, where is this “monopolistic abuse” coming from? They have other choices as far as I know. Doesn’t the fact that they’d rather support the iPod, with their FREE WILL, and whether to pay Steve 10% cut per unit sold, is a testament of capitalism’s freedom of choice? No, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t debate political mumbo-jumbo as capitalism. I just mentioned here for rebuttal’s sake.

    As for M$ monopoly abuses, they are in the history books for everyone to read and comment on. It is called public knowledge, Bbx. Heck, they even made it to the Wikipedia!.

    With the much-delayed and berated Vista, why do you think they are offering six different flavors from a single code-base??? Don’t you think this is part of M$ anti-competitive and abuse of its monopoly powers? Explain to me in details the need for six different versions when there are only two Mac OSX - client and server. Explain this upper-management thinking to me in details ok? And justify me their monopolistic motives with Vista.

    Robomac had this to say on Jul 08, 2006 Posts: 846
  • ...only accessories that use the iPod docking port that pay the 10%... -MG

    You are absolutely correct, McGlee, but Bbx is implying that it is anyway, so I was just going for the game.

    When I said, “sock-maker”, I was generalizing the whole accessory makers, no discriminations whether they use the dock or not.

    Robomac had this to say on Jul 08, 2006 Posts: 846
  • If you use that particular Apple technology in your product you pay the premium.

    Thanks for clarifying, MacGlee.  But it doesn’t change the fact that Apple saw an opportunity to charge five times what they were charging thanks almost entirely to their dominance of the market.

    And if they did start charging the case-makers the same 10%, it wouldn’t impact the apologists one bit.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Jul 08, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • ...if they did start charging the case-makers the same 10%, it wouldn’t impact the apologists one bit. -Bbx

    I just bought nice leather cases for my iPod Photo and nano for $39 each over the weekend and no “sock-maker” was offering any below this price. There were $29 models but those are made with cheap rubbery materials that were perhaps $1 to make.

    So, at $39 per case who do you think is making the biggest cut in the pie? Apple with $0.78 (2%) or the accessory maker? Do you think Apple set a minimum retail price for these devices? I am not aware of it. Even at 10% Apple only gets $3.90.

    So, is this pricing by the “sock-makers” due to the iPod’s dominance? Or their greedy little selves? I am leaning more to the latter.

    An “opportunity” or not, Steve saw to it to take a fair share of these greedy little sock-makers.

    Robomac had this to say on Jul 08, 2006 Posts: 846
  • Getting back to M$‘s much-rumoured iPod “Killer” and their unsurprising, “we can not confirm nor deny” defensive stance by M$‘s PR dept.

    While M$ is placading the web with clueless looks regarding the existence of this wireless device, Engadget has come up with a
    close-up pix. Engadget even went as far as announcing a prototype name “Argo”.

    Hmmmm…From the photo it is not very imposing nor clever nor threatening even to…the Shuffle. And that’s not giving credit to Ive’s team but rather, a pummelling on Robbie’s gadget team at Xbox division.

    What do you think Mac faithfuls? Is this the look of a “killer” or a savior?

    Robomac had this to say on Jul 11, 2006 Posts: 846
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