By 2003, Microsoft had another mobile rival to contend with: the increasingly popular iPod. As is typical for Apple, the iPod was a combined
hardware-software platform; and, as is typical for Microsoft, Redmond’s initial reposte was an operating system that hard drive-based music player
manufacturers could license. Initially known internally as Media2Go, it later got the perfectly awful moniker Windows Mobile
software for Portable Media Centers, which got truncated to the somewhat more sensible Portable Media Center.
The idea, at least in terms of branding, was to tie it to Microsoft’s proposed living room PC, which also had “Media Center” jimmied into its
name (between “Windows XP” and “Edition”). The mobile version was demoed at CES in 2003 and available on gadgets from Creative a year later.
Other manufacturers, including Philips, Samsung, and Toshiba, would follow suit.
Of course, all of these gadgets ended up as also-rans when compared to the iPod juggernaut, and just two years later Microsoft released its own
music player, the Zune, which ran a not dissimilar OS. Microsoft stopped licensing Portable Media Center in 2007.
Picture courtesy dan taylor