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Microsoft Confirms New Music Player 415

Posted by Zonk
from the it's-on dept.
Udo Schmitz writes "It's official now. Reuters confirms the rumors that Microsoft wants to take on Apple's iPod and iTunes. From the article: 'Microsoft Corp. said on Friday it plans to release a new music and entertainment player and accompanying software under the "Zune" brand this year, in a belated attempt to challenge the dominance of Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod player ... Microsoft sources said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, is working with J. Allard, vice president of its Xbox team, on the digital media player/software project.'"
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Microsoft Confirms New Music Player

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  • Naming Convention (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Friday July 21, 2006 @05:24PM (#15760122)
    In keeping with each system's naming conventions:

    Apple:
    iTunes

    Microsoft:
    My Zunes

    In other words, Microsoft is even ripping off the name, but making it crappier.
  • Re:In related news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mysqlrocks (783488) on Friday July 21, 2006 @05:28PM (#15760149) Homepage Journal
    In suspiciously coincidental news, Steve Jobs has been seen taking chair-throwing lessons.

    I'm sure Steve Jobs already has a plan to deal with this. It wouldn't surprise me if he tempted Microsoft into creating an iPod competitor and has some sort of elaborate trap waiting for them. The iPod helped make Apple relevant again, competing with it just gives it even more legitimacy. I'm sure Steve Jobs is pleased and we'll see some more chair throwing soon enough in Redmond when Apple unveils their master plan.

  • when MS announce they are going to compete with apple in this market, and Apples shares go up?

    And it is not a media device, it is a lifestyle device...sheeesh.
  • by freeradica1 (891828) on Friday July 21, 2006 @05:41PM (#15760246)
    Part of the reason ITunes is popular (and one of the reasons that I use Winamp instead of WMP) is that the user interface for Windows Media Player sucks. Likewise, Firefox isn't only more functional than IE, it also just looks and feels better and cleaner. Even if "Zunes" had a better name, a seemless interface with online music stores, and no annoying DRM gimmicks, I would probably still pick another media player. Because Microsoft's UI's just suck. Microsoft's been sitting around waiting for the past 5-10 years for someone to come along with sleaker media players and browsers (and a cleaner OS), and now it's paying the price.
  • There is wireless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday July 21, 2006 @05:49PM (#15760298)
    Wireless is included. The really funny thing might be this is exactly the player Taco was wanting to see instead of the iPod.
  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Friday July 21, 2006 @06:36PM (#15760567) Homepage
    They may do their weird, dark deals with companies like Viacom to distribute wmedia only.

    Oh wait, they do already.

    "Unfortunately, Microsoft's Windows Media Player Plug-in for Macintosh does not support Windows DRM. If DRM support becomes available for Macintosh, MTV will develop a version of MTV Overdrive that works on a Mac."

    If a company needs exclusive deals like that, their format stinks. It is not their format even, they acquired dozens of codec companies and packaged them into some sort of naziware which never worked on other OS'es except their windows. If you don't use their OS, you get punished.

    You know what makes me mad? Those videos are more likely cut, edited and processed on Mac. I wouldn't be surprised if they used Telestream pro products to produce that windows media on OS X even.

    Now you would tell me Apple does not make iTunes for Linux. Well, Real just SPOKE about enabling DRM on Linux/FreeBSD and you see what happened and the feedback they got.

    I am glad Apple Quicktime Division and Real Networks still alive competing with that mafia style company...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:14PM (#15760779)
    The Crown Princess listed ~15 degrees when some mysterious flaw caused the ships rudder to flip to one side... This is the 2nd time something like this has happened and seeing how much Princess Cruises has Windows all over those newer ships, it make me wonder if someone rebooted the helm control system when this happened?

    http://www.cruisejunkie.com/events.html [cruisejunkie.com]

    Back to Zune, Zune will suck like every other Micrsoft product but they'll pay people to use it until the initial market leader is drown out of business.
  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:18PM (#15760795) Homepage
    I vaguely remember programming MUI a bit.. it was good, if I remember correctly, though it's muddled with whether it was ACTUALLY good or just way better than programming Amiga GUIs without it.

    I think I used it a bit in a language called Amiga E, which I really enjoyed as well.
    Hm, haven't thought to ever look up if it was ported to Linux..

  • by monoqlith (610041) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:05PM (#15760975)
    and protein folding, rocket engineering, and military battlefield simulations, and automobile computers, and telephone switching, and cell phone software - woah...practically everything in the economy nowadays involves a software problem.......does that mean Microsoft should be dominating all those software markets too? The consumer market for software is not just one industry, but many industries.

    Sure, Microsoft is shrewd at annhilating competition sometimes. But the beauty of capitalism is that even though every transaction is ultimately motivated by self-interest, each transaction benefits both sides - the buyer and the seller - not just the seller. And with the kind of dirty attitude Microsoft displays, it appears that the company views the consumer as a means to an end, not an end in itself. They are not concerned with the interests of the consumer. If they were, they wouldn't be so hell-bent on destroying Google. Rather, they would observe that Google is good at what it does, and so a) they should either stay out of the enterprise search business altogether or 2) try to keep healthy competition with Google alive so as to serve the costumers along with themselves. And I'm not talking the kind of lop-sided competition Microsoft forced Apple into during the 90's.

    Unfortunately, this kind of equanimous attitude doesn't really play a role among corporate strategists, and hasn't for quite some time. Instead, the prevailing attitude seems to be: overwhelm your opponents so they die; enter new markets and conquer them; don't do *one* thing really well - do many things moderately well, or even poorly. Eventually this kind of attitude is not meaningfully different from a conspiracy against the consumer. It's sad that this is the way it's going, not just with Microsoft but with other corporate giants. The whole point of the antitrust ruling and antitrust legislation was to stop this kind of behavior.

    And I think that this behavior has its origin in a kind of slave morality that entrepeneurs have. The market is hard to survive in. Businesses start off small. They have fight their way tooth and nail to the top. But once they get there, they should shift their attitude to one commensurate with their new situation. After all, they are no longer in an environment where the market is a threatening force. They are no longer burdened by the possibility of extinction. However, you see it over and over again: people, having achieved power, fail to shift their attitude. In some sense, they still view themselves as the little guy, threatened by competition. They need to keep expanding into new markets, because if they don't they will be crushed. There is some very basic confusion going on, and it's built in to the way corporations are structured - executives are hired and fired based on their ability to devise new ways to crush competition. If they fail to return staggering growth, they are gone.

    Unfettered growth for a select few corporations doesn't help anyone. It stifles innovation, obstructs the free market, and skews the overall composition of our society against the individual.
  • by skingers6894 (816110) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:02PM (#15761179)
    ...so the "we make the software and you guys make the hardware" thing not working out so well in this market?
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:21PM (#15761242) Journal
    There's already a Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] covering this a bit, including a prototype picture [wikipedia.org]. Not only is it very iPod-looking, but given that prototypes tend to be slick artist concept work often looking better than the end product, I'm not really impressed. :-/ Comparison picture [wikipedia.org] as a reminder of what they're dealing with. Sure, it's just a prototype, but it simply can't look anything like that. :-p
  • Re:Tacospeak (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WheresMyDingo (659258) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:57PM (#15761330)
    Apple needs to get Bonjour playlist sharing on iPods like it works on iTunes on a laptop when you wander into a wireless network with other people with iTunes sharing on. Forget video, iPods sharing with each other would be the killer feature to take iPods to the next level. Think of the social impact too-- a girl on a subway giving you a little smile and pointing to her iPod as she listens to your shared playlist (I guess that's for version 2.0 when you can fit a base station in an iPod for an ad-hoc wireless network, but still).

    I hate to see Microsoft get there first and mess it up, but if it gets the iPod team moving on this, competition is good...
  • by quacking duck (607555) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @12:32AM (#15761803)

    It just seems idiotic that you can't just drag and drop MP3s into it like a hard drive and browse the directory list to play whatever songs you want on it, including videos if you have a video iPod. You shouldn't NEED any additional software at all beyond a USB capable computer that can read and write to the iPod filesystem like a hard drive.

    This is the two-edged sword of the system the iPod uses. By using its own database and forgoing a file/directory method, it allowed you to browse music based on artist, genre, album, etc, in addition to simply by title. A less popular but just as valid reason, iTunes/WMP/other software manages the DRM from online music stores.

    Have you considered that for a music player, a file directory approach is NOT intuitive? People generally don't want to be reminded of a computer interface when they're not using a computer. Judging from the success of the iPod, arguably they don't want to deal with the filesystem when they're managing their player's music, either. Consider that programs like iTunes or WMP are far better at managing music than a filesystem; why would normal people jump from iTunes/whatever into Windows Explorer to copy songs to their player, when iTunes/whatever does it all for them?

    I checked out the manuals for two other products roughly in the same marketspace as the iPod (Archos 700 and Creative Zen Vision). Both required Windows Media Player or manufacturer's software to manage music, so how is this different from iPod/iTunes?

    This isn't to say that requiring iTunes/whatever is always a good thing; for example, I wanted to copy and see new photos from a recent trip on my iPod, when my own computer was on the other side of the country. Wasn't possible.

  • by LordRobin (983231) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @12:53AM (#15761867)
    There's the big difference between Apple and Microsoft. Apple keeps a tight rein on all information until the day they spring the finished and available product on the unexpecting masses. Microsoft leaks, leaks, leaks, building up hype that the actual product inevitable fails to live up to. Leaking makes sense when you own a market and can freeze competitors' sales via FUD and vaporware announcements. It's idiotic when you're a distant back-marker and are just giving Apple the information they need to make Microsoft's product irrelevant before they even release it. ------RM

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein

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