Microsoft will begin selling a digital music and video player before the upcoming holiday season, and its wireless capabilities will likely give it a competitive advantage over Apple Computer’s mega-popular iPod, which requires users to plug into a computer to download content, Reuters reports via Yahoo News.
Various media sources have been reporting for weeks that Microsoft has been working on an iPod challenger, and the most recent news about the pre-holiday release date comes from sources close to the matter who spoke with Reuters on Wednesday.
Microsoft has been making rounds to visit various record companies over the past few weeks to promote the unnamed music and video player, and it has also been pushing new media software in a bid to create an “integrated ecosystem” for its device not unlike Apple’s iPod and iTunes combination, another source told Reuters.
The first source told Reuters that Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft will begin shipping prototypes of its device to record companies within the next couple of weeks, and both sources said the software giant is investing a large chunk of marketing funds in its development and launch to help ensure success in the marketplace.
The first source told Reuters, “They’re proposing an iTunes model approach. They’re now interested in controlling the whole vertical stack of technology from the device to the service to the software.”
Apple’s iPod music and video player and iTunes Music Store own the digital multimedia player and download space in the United States, and Microsoft has its work ahead of it if the company wants to steal some of Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple’s impressive market share. Analysts posit that if Microsoft is to present any competition to Apple in the coming year, it will need to make its upcoming digital music and video player available before the holiday season, Reuters reports.
Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division, and J. Allard, Xbox team vice president, are working to develop the media player and the associated software, a source close to Microsoft told Reuters.
Microsoft did not provide a comment on the reports to Reuters.
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