Microsoft enters MP3 player arena

Speculation has surged over the launch of an 'iPod-killer MP3 player' by Microsoft. It is said to sport video and audio playback, wireless connectivity and a better-quality screen than the iPod.

Very impressive, but  ‘Does anybody want it?' (Market Watch, 6 July). Microsoft is pitching it to a market in which Apple has established a ‘75 per cent share' (BusinessWeek Online, 7 July). It is targeting consumers who think ‘Apple is cool and Microsoft is not' (PCmag.com, 7 July). Not looking good.

Until recently Microsoft has pursued a ‘partner-oriented strategy', collaborating with players such as Dell and Samsung, and ‘putting an awful lot of sweat into making the hardware right' (New York Times, 7 July).

The move runs the risk of ‘undercutting the digital music ecosystem' (BusinessWeek Online, 7 July), with the possibility of current partners seeing Microsoft's rival player as ‘a betrayal' (New York Times, 7 July).

Microsoft will not comment, but is apparently set to throw ‘significant marketing dollars behind the launch' (CNNMoney.com, 5 July). But with Apple to reveal the sixth-generation iPod later this year, Microsoft's catch-up effort could be too late.

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.

www.echoresearch.com

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