Microsoft to Sink 'Hundreds of Millions' into Zune iPod Rival

Microsoft, the world’s leading producer of software, will release one product under the Zune name in 2006, and it will continue to invest “hundreds of millions” of dollars over the next few years in an attempt to overthrow Apple Computer and its mega-popular iPod and steal away the title of king of the digital music player and download space, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The news comes from Robbie Bach, president of the Redmond, Wash.-based company’s entertainment division, according to the Journal. Bach spoke at Microsoft’s yearly get-together with financial analysts, the Journal reports.

After releasing one Zune product this year, Microsoft will next year release additional Zune offerings and “broaden the product lines over time,” Bach said, according to the Journal.

Microsoft Zune Logo
Microsoft Zune

Last Friday, following weeks of speculation, Microsoft confirmed that it would mount an offense against Apple, and that the brand name of the new iPod challenger would be Zune.

In the past, Microsoft has worked with a handful of digital music player makers and Web download service operators on aspects of their products, but according to Bach, Microsoft will oversee all stages of the Zune products’ development, the Journal reports.

“Microsoft will be involved in the hardware and software and the service,” Bach said, according to the Journal.

Bach was careful to specify that Zune is no short-term initiative, the Journal reports.

“This is something that is going to be a three-, four-, five-year investment,” Bach said, according to the Journal.

Bach was hired by Microsoft last year to help the software giant work its way into additional entertainment spaces, including the music and film industries, according to the Journal. Bach said an essential part of Microsoft’s approach to Zune will be to connect it in various ways to other Microsoft products, including its Xbox gaming system and personal PC software, the Journal reports.

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