Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Can Microsoft Kill the iPod?

the opinion of ryan

Alright, so let's examine this whole "Microsoft's about to kill the iPod" thing. Can it actually happen? First off, let's examine whether we think it'll actually happen at all.

The stories to this effect have been circulating the web for a while now. But is it a reality? I haven't read any stories that definitively confirm that it's a reality. So we're going to consider it still a rumor for now...for the sake of argument. Why would Microsoft do this? That's easy, because they want a share of the music market.

Why would they hide it? To keep it a secret from Apple. Why would they release a music download system like Urge only to use something different in this rumored Killer? That one gets me.

All these questions aside, let's assume (again, for argument's sake) that the rumors are true and Microsoft will have this product on store shelves by Christmas. Can Microsoft succeed in taking a noticeable share of the music market away from Apple?

I think they can. Dozens of companies have already tried to score with music player fans, but the iPod wins out because of it's user loyalty, brand recognition, and ease of use. The simplicity of the iPod+iTunes duo is just too easy.

So Microsoft will never really "kill" the iPod. It's one of those tech icons that will probably never die, at least not entirely.

But...Microsoft truly could take a bite out of it. This has happened before. Remember the XBox? Microsoft suddenly appearing in a market already dominated by heavyweights (Sony and Nintendo) and almost instantly gaining a huge market share and a loyal following?

If they really put themselves behind this and do it as well as they did the XBox project, I think we'll be looking at a serious iPod killer (or at least injure-er). I'll probably buy one! :-)

UPDATE: Gizmodo has a possible picture! Check it out!
UPDATE: The final name appears to be the Zune. ...I kinda' like it...

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