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Microsoft Media Music Hardware

No $50 iPod Clone From Microsoft 206

Posted by timothy
from the or-anyone-for-that-matter dept.
dncsky1530 writes "In a previous Slashdot story, the Denver Post ran an article talking about a portable music player that would have the look and feel of an iPod. Microsoft stated that they will not be manufactoring such a device, Mehdi, "I've spent time with a bunch of hardware manufacturers who will launch hardware products when we ship our service that will look and feel as good as the iPod product. And they will undoubtedly be a little bit less expensive and so head-to-head against Apple...""
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No $50 iPod Clone From Microsoft

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  • by rd4tech (711615) * on Saturday May 29, 2004 @03:53PM (#9286439)
    40$ one time activation fee
    5$ monthly subscribtion fee
    2$ download access fee
    15$ remote assistance fee
    5$ for a special software player with XP look ...
    • by CountBrass (590228) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @03:56PM (#9286453)

      And the kicker? You have to re-activate it if you plug in a different set of headphones.

    • Don't forget the $100 it will cost you to upgrade to version1.2
    • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @05:42PM (#9286917)
      40$ one time activation fee
      5$ monthly subscribtion fee
      2$ download access fee
      15$ remote assistance fee
      5$ for a special software player with XP look ...
      Illegally downloaded MP3s, free.
      Paying the RIAA every last dime you have as a settlement, priceless.

      For everything else, there's MasterCard.

  • by InternationalCow (681980) <mauricevansteenselNO@SPAMmac.com> on Saturday May 29, 2004 @03:57PM (#9286463) Journal
    That this thing will be: 1. Ugly; 2. Have a clunky interface with lots of glitz and glitter; 3. Play WMA only; 4. Require XP; 5. Have limited hard drive capacity; 6. Run Pocketwindows and crash regularly; 7. Have its own host of viruses within half a year; 8. Still sell like crazy because for some reason people seem to prefer mediocre crap as long as it is cheap and runs windows Let's hope I'm wrong, I have an iPod and rather enjoy having something made by Apple be mainstream for a change :)
    • Best. Troll. Evir.

      Sir, I salute you. You have raised the bar for us all.
  • not suprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bach_m (692327) <.bach.michael. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday May 29, 2004 @03:58PM (#9286468) Homepage
    I thought my bullshit meter detected something. What could cost $50 and still be as good as the iPod??
  • by lateralus_1024 (583730) <mattbahaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday May 29, 2004 @03:59PM (#9286480)
    Microsoft reiterated that they are not backing away from their original assertion that the device has the "feel and the look of an iPod". The only notable difference is the guts are from Sony [google.com]
    • by efatapo (567889) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:39PM (#9286673) Homepage
      Microsoft reiterated that they are not backing away from their original assertion that the device has the "feel and the look of an iPod"

      I know it's asking way too much to read the article, and even the teaser has it wrong. What Microsoft has said is: "I've spent time with a bunch of hardware manufacturers who will launch hardware products when we ship our service that will look and feel as good as the iPod product."

      Looking and feeling as good is a lot different then having the look and feel of an iPod. That negates all of the patent issues that everyone is complaining about.
    • Maybe they're talking about the Portable Media Center [microsoft.com]. Its basically a device with a PocketPC size screen that has super high resolution. Plays movies, mp3s, etc.
  • by bobbabemagnet (247383) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @03:59PM (#9286484)
    We've found the answer to step 2, finally!

    1.) Announce fantastic unbelievable product
    2.) Retract announcement (formerly ???)
    3.) Profit from the 2 days of free publicity

    wooooo!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:00PM (#9286488)
    Microsoft developing a product that has the "look and feel" of an Apple product?

    Imagine that! [wikipedia.org]

  • Manufacturers.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) *
    I've spent time with a bunch of hardware manufacturers who will launch hardware products when we ship our service that will look and feel as good as the iPod product. And they will undoubtedly be a little bit less expensive and so head-to-head against Apple...""

    No doubt some of the nameless companies in Taiwan and China which are nearly impossible for Apple to sue on look/feel or other infringement issues.

    • Re:Manufacturers.. (Score:4, Informative)

      by jimbolaya (526861) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:07PM (#9286533) Homepage
      But they could still get an injunction from them selling in this country, Western Europe, and any other countries that respect copyright/trademark/patent laws (Slashdotonia notwithstanding).

      Keep in mind, too, that the companies that Apple successfully sued over copying the look of the original iMac were based in Asia.

    • No doubt some of the nameless companies in Taiwan and China which are nearly impossible for Apple to sue on look/feel or other infringement issues.

      Fortunately, Apple's grandiose notions of protecting their "look and feel" have also been soundly defeated in the US [wikipedia.org]. It it had come out otherwise, it would have been very bad for the industry.

      Much as Apple would like it to be otherwise, they do not own the market of slim, nicely-styled MP3 players. Other companies have the right to come out with a white, si
      • Fortunately, Apple's grandiose notions of protecting their "look and feel" have also been soundly defeated in the US.

        The ancient history lawsuit whose entry you linked to was an attempt by Apple to seek redress based on the nebulous concept of software copyright. These days Apple looks to the admittedly fucked up (but nevertheless easier to litigate) patent process to protect their IP. I'm no fan of the US Patent and Trademark Office, but they're the real reason you're not likely to see another mp3 player

        • The ancient history lawsuit whose entry you linked to was an attempt by Apple to seek redress

          "Redress"? For what? Apple didn't invent the GUI, they licensed it from Xerox, and they didn't even pay a lot of money for it.

          These days Apple looks to the admittedly fucked up (but nevertheless easier to litigate) patent process to protect their IP.

          The parent poster specifically talked about Apple trying to enforce look and feel rights and I just pointed out that such rights don't exist according to US cour
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:03PM (#9286512)
    Maybe at $25, people could afford an iPod clone. But $50 is ridiculous.
    • The $25.00 model will only let you listen to half the song. Not the first half or the last half, mind you, but alternating seconds. It's the latest feature built in to the WMA specification.

      You want other standards supported? Too bad! Mehdi was quoted as saying, "MP what? Ogg who-bis?"

  • by Roland Piquepaille (780675) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:06PM (#9286525)
    Other choice quotes from Microsoft:

    - NT will support the SPARC risc platform
    - IE4 cannot be separated fron Win98
    - Palladium is for security purposes only
    - SQL Server doesn't have easter eggs

    In short, if Microsoft says they have no plan for an iPod clone, they may speak the truth, or they're still developing it. At any rate, they're probably trying hard to avoid looking like a monopoly.
    • by ctr2sprt (574731) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:21PM (#9286586)
      You can't get on MS's case too bad for some of those. In the first case, they probably really did want to support all those platforms - but sales and reality intervened and forced them to change their plans. In the second, as far as I'm concerned, IE is a key component of Windows. You can remove it, but it will break a ton of stuff. What you're left with may be an OS in your opinion, but it's not in mine (or in MS's).

      As far as Palladium goes, I wouldn't start panicking until you can actually buy machines that require it. Who knows what it's going to look like if/when it's actually rolled out?

      And for the last, well, if I make a claim I genuinely believe is true, then I'm telling the truth to the best of my ability. This means I can make tons of truthful claims which are just wrong. Ever worked for a company of any size at all? The PR and management types make all sorts of claims based on incomplete or flat-out wrong information. They aren't a credible source of technical information, but unfortunately, they are the company's public face... so they're the ones who have to deliver whatever technical information there is.

      • In the second, as far as I'm concerned, IE is a key component of Windows.

        Strange how every other operating system that has been developed in the long history of the IT industry has managed to operate without the presence of a HTML renderer as a 'key component'.

        What you're left with may be an OS in your opinion, but it's not in mine

        So all those GUI-less Linux/UNIX installations used by ISPs to host websites and app servers are not 'operating systems'?
        • When you install linux, if you use KDE you have Konqueror (sorta like IE and Windows) and for Gnome I believe you have a related browser, but haven't used Gnome much lately so I can't remember.
  • by jg21 (677801) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:08PM (#9286541)
    This post at Microsoft Monitor [microsoftmonitor.com] sets the record straight.

    Written by Joe Wilcox of Jupiter Research it starts:

    I'm a bit stunned by the press feeding frenzy set off by comments (here) Yusuf Mehdi, MSN corporate VP, made during a Wednesday speech. News report after news report claimed that Microsoft would unleash an iPod-killing music player for 50 bucks.

    The problem: That's not at all what Mr. Mehdi said.

    • Good one and for once, Wilcox seems like he's not a PR flunky for Microsoft.

      In short, what Wilcox said is that Microsoft said they were releasing a music service and that there would be many hardware vendors supporting it and those products would be little $50 models all the way up to iPod look-alikes.

      IMO, Microsoft is again going for the low end of the market by making sure it's service supports cheap models along with expensive ones. Apple, pretty much only has high-end models. Also, Microsoft understan
  • $50? (Score:4, Funny)

    by lateralus_1024 (583730) <mattbahaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:11PM (#9286556)
    Does Clippy retrieve the playlists?
  • Slashdotters are opposed to monopolies but they want Apple to have a monopoly in the mp3 player market.

    Variety is good, folks. I hope someone comes out with a good quality, cheaper version of the iPod. Who cares if that company is Microsoft? It would only drive down prices for consumers in general.
    • Who cares if that company is Microsoft? It would only drive down prices for consumers in general.

      Until the point where all competition in the iPod-style music players market has been killed off, and then you'll pay whatever Microsoft decides.

      Haven't you realized yet that Microsoft is a runaway monopoly that the government failed/refused to Sherman-Act? They managed to lull (and pay) the feds into thinking they play nice on the market, so they thread carefully when they enter a new market. But when they d
      • Yes, we can see how MS is such a monopoly in every hardware category.

        Like mice and keyboards. Oh wait, do I see Logitech?

        Or maybe wheels and joysticks. Thrustmaster is that you? along with Logi and all the others?

        I know! It's the consoles you're talking about!!! Umm, maybe I forgot Gamecube and Playstation 1/2, and especially GameBoy Advance.
    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:39PM (#9286672) Journal
      Nobody said Apple should be the only company left on the market. Microsoft, however, have a history of taking over markets they enter - if MS had come in with a player priced that low and marketed it properly it could've become dominant and we know from past performance that they would raise prices and increase customer lock-ins as soon as they had the market saturated.
      • When has Microsoft ever raised prices, compared to the price growth of the rest of the industry, after beating out competitors?

        History shows us that MS has actually reduced prices in the long term.

        Their biggest competitor in most of their products is actually themselves. They have to convince customers to upgrade, and that means they can't raise prices indiscriminately.
    • The reaction you're seeing isn't about wanting Apple to have a monopoly at all. I own an iPod (which i'm thrilled with), but i don't want them to have a monopoly on mp3 players, either. But the reaction here is based on other things. First, based on nearly everything else they produce, we're all kinda assuming an iPod knock-off made by MS will, well, suck. Second, MS has this nasty habit of trying to dominate and own any market they enter, so this is bad for variety. Apple's got a hit product and an aggress
    • by kfg (145172) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @05:12PM (#9286815)
      . . . they want Apple to have a monopoly in the mp3 player market.

      Where on earth did you get the idea that Microsoft is going to be making an mp3 player?

      How Microsoft competes will be interesting. Because for Microsoft, the real economics is about selling Windows. That's why Microsoft can spend $500 million developing Windows Media 9 Series technologies to be licensed cheaply or given away for free. Windows Media is a means to an end, a loss leader for selling the operating system--the way Apple's music store is in a way a loss leader for selling iPods. So, in that sense the strategies are similar. Microsoft hopes that the more devices and stores that support Windows Media, the more consumers that buy WMA DRM content, the better for selling Windows.

      --Joe Wilcox: Microsoft Monitor Weblog, as linked to in a post above.

      KFG
    • I hope someone comes out with a good quality, cheaper version of the iPod.

      Search for: Rio Karma

      Only problem I have is that it can't be used as a USB hard drive, and you can't transfer files to it just by copying them as if it's a hard drive. Have to use the software, either native or Java version.
  • by mfivis (592345) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:16PM (#9286574) Homepage
    ...because they failed to account for human resources required by the team responsible for porting Clippy to an embedded device.
  • by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:18PM (#9286580) Homepage
    ...well you know the rest.

    For the last couple of decades I have marvelled at how clunky Microsoft software looks. Yeah, it's slowly improving, but man, typically their stuff looks like a bunch of geeks designed it --- oh wait...

    Anyway, if someone from Microsoft says he thinks competitors will be able to make someone as sexy as an iPod, well I ain't holding my breath. I've heard those promises before from Microsoft, only to be surprised at how truly oddball the final result appeared. So for my money, having someone at Microsoft talk about look-and-feel issues is like hearing a pre-schooler lecture about staying within the lines while coloring. Their heart might be in the right place, but their execution will be lacking.

  • by beforewisdom (729725) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:23PM (#9286593)
    We all know the lesson Steve Job's learned the hard way by continuing to produce more expensive Macs while other people rolled out cheaper PCs.

    PCs stole the market for desktop computers away from Apple, eventhough the Apple product was technically superior and more user friendly.

    However, the price wasn't right.

    This looks like another iteration of the same situation.

    Will Apple lower its prices to compete with the iPod clones or will they foolishly lose command of a market again on the belief that superior quality will save them?

    Steve
    • The funny thing, I personally would pay the $500 for an IPod even if Microsoft gave me one of theirs. We were audited (I'm a Sr. IS Tech at the company I work for) 2 years ago, totally funny...we had more licenses than necessary. However, to find that out it took hundreds of man hours finding all the paperwork (which all were submitted to them, either electronically through their MOLP's electronics, big business licensing, or by mail. Yet, we had to run around and prove to them that we weren't lying.) I
    • by mrtrumbe (412155) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:41PM (#9286681) Homepage
      Right. Because a lack of compatibility, software and market share in business had nothing to do with Apple's decline.

      Price is not the only reason Apple lost marketshare. In fact, it probably wasn't even the primary reason. Your comment is a gross simplification of computing history.

      Also, I find it interesting that people still equate not being as successful as MS with being a failure. Apple had some rocky times in the past. But now, they are looking pretty good. This, despite their lack of 80%+ marketshare.

      Complete world dominance is not the only metric of success.

      Taft

      • "ight. Because a lack of compatibility, software and market share in business had nothing to do with Apple's decline.

        Price is not the only reason Apple lost marketshare. In fact, it probably wasn't even the primary reason. Your comment is a gross simplification of computing history.

        Also, I find it interesting that people still equate not being as successful as MS with being a failure. Apple had some rocky times in the past. But now, they are looking pretty good. This, despite their lack of 80%+ marketshar
        • And I agree with the majority of what you said. I think we are focusing on different eras, though.

          Back in the Apple II* vs. "IBM Compatible" days, there was almost NO compatibility between systems. This lack of compatibility extended well into the early Mac days. Fortunately, with each release of classic Mac OS, they got more and more compatible with widespread standards, culminating with the so-called "ultimate compatibility" of OS X (Unix and Mac OS meeting in harmony, etc. etc.).

          But this early lack

    • by Graymalkin (13732) * on Saturday May 29, 2004 @05:10PM (#9286809)
      You really need to get your fact straight before spouting off this sort of crap. In 1983 Steve Jobs began to court John Sculley, the president of Pepsi, to join Apple. By April of that year Sculley was working for Apple. Even though Sculley was a good businessman it became quite obvious he knew squat about the computer industry or computers altogether. In 1985 Jobs and Sculley were arguing like crazy. Jobs was convinced sculley was going to run Apple into the ground. He planned a boardroom coup while Sculley was on a business trip but somebody told Sculley before he left and him and Jobs got into it. The board sided unanimously with Sculley and Jobs resigned that day.

      Ergo your mythical tale of Steve Jobs keeping the price of the Mac too high is far-fetched at best and outright stupid at worst. Sculley made a swath of ridiculous business descisions and was responsible for Apple's look-and-feel lawsuit loss against Microsoft. Sculley got Bill Gates to put in writing that Windows 1.0 wouldn't use any of the Mac's technologies. Gates' lawyers made sure the contract was airtight. The contract didn't mention any system besides Windows 1.0, Microsoft was contractually free to copy the Mac interface willy nilly in subsequent versions of Windows.

      People love to blame Steve Jobs for all of Apple's problems but he was entirely absent from business descisions between 1985 and 1997. In the times Jobs has been present the Mac and Apple have done pretty well. Jobs has made tons of mistakes but he isn't responsible for many of Apple's problems in the past two decades.
    • Did you watch Trump's show, The Apprentice? Heh. What did those two teams discover? That high quantity at a low price didn't win them anything. In every episode where both teams did the right things, the team that won was the one that went after the higher-paying customers, not the higher number of lower-paying customers.

      Apple has the image of a quality computer company. Even people who don't know much about computers know that Apple makes a better computer. Now that matter of price may be holding Apple bac

    • You know something, what's pissing me off lately, as I've been shopping for electronics, computer perhiperals, etc., is that I can't find anything high quality. I'd be willing to pay 2X more for something that wasn't a piece of crap, but I just can't find anything of decent quality in local stores (Best Buy, Circuit City, etc).

      If Apple products are significantly better quality, they can charge 4Xs as much and still have plenty of customers. However, I personally don't find Apple products to be much highe
    • PCs stole the market for desktop computers away from Apple, eventhough the Apple product was technically superior and more user friendly.

      "Stealing" the market somehow implies that it was rightfully Apple's. In what way do you think it was?

      Will Apple lower its prices to compete with the iPod clones or will they foolishly lose command of a market again on the belief that superior quality will save them?

      The whole point of Apple's existence is to sell to the high-end segment of the market: image consciou
    • that is funny!

      Have you even used an iPod? I have... for 3 weeks now and it completely and totally blows away EVERY OTHER mp3 player ever made. Even things that cost 2X it's price suck compared to it.

      why? simple... it's built like a piece of jewelery. it's fricking beautiful.... it's interface is slick and elegant. using the ipod becomes natural 10 seconds after you pick it up even people that havenever touched one before get really adept at using it 10 seconds later by just touching it.

      finally the no
  • In other words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:36PM (#9286661) Homepage
    Like with PCs, Microsoft will allow other companies to engage in the cutthroat and unprofitable business (making and selling mp3 players and operating online music stores), then sit in the background and collect licensing fees.

    Certainly makes more sense than the previous story.
  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Saturday May 29, 2004 @04:40PM (#9286678) Homepage Journal
    And in other news:

    No $2500 Diablo Clone From Toyota
  • After all, it is "NOT THAT HARD" :)

    Here is more info [slashdot.org]
  • My idea, the LPod (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar&gmail,com> on Saturday May 29, 2004 @05:11PM (#9286811) Homepage Journal
    Use Linux for a cheap hand held device. Use VideoLAN [videolan.org] to play media files. Hack the interface to work on a B&W 640x480 LCD screen, with optional S-Video output jack to play on a TV set or other media device. Use buttons to control the interface, but provide USB ports to plug in mice, keyboards, etc. Use Firewire or Ethernet to communicate with a PC to transfer files. Find cheap PIM software to use it like a PDA as well. Perhaps it can be priced under the cost of an iPod?
    • Re:My idea, the LPod (Score:3, Informative)

      by evilviper (135110)

      Use Linux for a cheap hand held device.

      If you're using linux, the device isn't going to be inexpensive. A full-fledged OS introduces a lot of overhead. So much so that the Linux on iPod project has spent much time optomizing just to try and get the iPod to do realtime MP3 decoding.

      Using VideoLAN would introduce a lot more overhead.

      Adding a very large LCD screen is going to make it more expensive. Making it a USB host device is going to make it more expensive. Adding firewire/ethernet is going to make

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Other important news stories you missed this week:

    Chihuahua's are actually large rats, not dogs, thanks to DNA testing

    Rumsfeld banned digital cameras in Iraq

    "Mission Accomplished!"

    Please pay more attention to important news stories, Denver Post. Don't let that "fact checking" thing get in your way. The people must know.

  • by grahamlee (522375) <iamleeg@@@gmail...com> on Saturday May 29, 2004 @05:40PM (#9286913) Homepage Journal
    It's called the XPod, and a thorough and unbiased review is available here [hotandfruity.com].
  • Who wants to bet that this false story originated with MS? Seems they're getting a lot of free press out of circulating and then denying it and they still get a residual effect from the standard "don't spend your money on the other guys 'cuz we got something great coming soon... real soon" FUD.

  • There are lots of hard-disk based MP3 players. What exactly is an "iPod clone"? Something with that funny wheel in front? Or any slim MP3 player?
  • How come there have been so many conflicting reports coming out of Redmond lately? It seems like one person will make an announcement and the next day another spokesman is out there revoking the previous statement.

    The last two that really spring to mind are the iPod story and the XP SP2 release for pirates. What is worse is the way the second press release handles the first one. Microsoft never admits to the mistake in the first place and then covers that with some of the stupidest spin I have ever heard,
  • Two in the hand... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by joebolte (704665)
    What the hell is up with microsoft fanboys getting excited that something coming out in the definite futue will be better than what apple has now? Longhorn will be soo much better than Panther, by the time we have Tabby or whatever it will be in 2069.
    Somehting coming out soon will be better than the concept Apple came out with years ago. There are rumors that Apple is going to support video play-back and hosting your home directory, so you can have all your files and prefs from any mac. Then Microsoft wil
  • Free Ad (Score:2, Funny)

    by Sinful_Shirts (784047)
    Microsoft just needs to modify this ad a little. iPod Parody with Ballmer [macboy.com]
  • More and more we're being treated to refreshing entertainment as MS in one way or another screws up. It makes life worth living again.

    What I'd really like is an authentic story from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that Bill Gates stepped in some dogshit and slipped and got really dirty.

    And that at the same time it was raining.

    And he was heard to curse loudly and rudely.

    And that he insulted and pushed an old lady who tried to help.

    And that his children disown him - even the one in a state correctional in
  • While the iPod looks cool and all it has some limitations that I am not willing to live with. I recently purchased one of these:

    http://reviews.cnet.com/iRiver_iHP_120/4505-6490_ 7 -30571493-2.html

    and am glad to finally have found a legitimate player that supports Ogg (in addition to MP3 and WMV). Not only that but it has FM, can record voice and isn't encumbered with a bunch of proprietary DRM junk. 16 hours on a single charge is nothing to sneeze at either.

    No, it isn't anywhere near $50, but there

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