What is Microsoft doing?

There’s a lot of talk about Microsoft releasing an MP3 player this Christmas to become an iPod killer and take over yet another technology industry. Please understand, I’m not deriding Microsoft’s ambitions. If they can come up with a better solution than exists today, then I welcome the market place competition.

For Microsoft to release an iPod killer they need a better device, a better system to work with the device, and a better way to get content (or a way to leap past any of these three barriers and remove a middle man or two).

For the record Microsoft is publicly indicating that they have no interest in this market and are not developing such a device, which may or may not be true from my perspective.

Where is the MP3 Player industry going?

Now the current MP3 market is about 6 years mature. I still have an RCA Lyra downstairs that is unusable today as the drivers haven’t been supported with updates for several years (if I’m wrong send me a link).

The devices have evolved from playing about 10 songs up to the point that they play thousands of songs, videos and much much more. Today, I personally listen to MP3 files on my old dinosaur Treo 600 with Pocket Tunes (love this phone it just doesn’t die).

What is this talk about Wireless MP3 Players?

Now several reports have mentioned that Microsoft is coming to market this fall with a Wireless media device. You might ask, just what does that mean?

In the fall of 2004 before its launch at CES in 2005, i had opportunity to test drive a Wireless Media Player that had an 802.11b capability built into a 30GB MP3 player. The resulting combination had some great applications of this convergence and as some technophiles might recognize had some obvious limitations.

The device could wirelessly sync up music play lists with Napster, Real, Audible and others, without the user having to push a button. The device did all that file transfer work for you when you weren’t using it.

The downside is that 802.11 technology sucked down battery life.

Microsoft Media Talk

The New York Times reported on July 7th in an article titled Strategy Shift by Microsoft to Fight iPod that “A person who works closely with one of the music labels said that the Microsoft device would permit users to play songs wirelessly from other Microsoft players in the vicinity.”


ow this might work with WiFi (802.11 technology) or Bluetooth even. This brings up the concept of connecting the media player to the rest of the home.

The question becomes will this application of convergence make this an iPod killer?

What is the Cusp that will change the media industry?

Now we are on the cusp of change with media players. My experience with a wireless media player and recent developments with media throughout the world point towards the direction that will create an iPod killer even if that iPod killer is created by Apple, who has been rumored to come out with a ‘wireless’ device of their own.

Just having wireless alone won’t make for a breakthrough.

So I ask you to consider, what would make the break through of a new evolutionary product.

I’ll give you two hints!

1. It will change the handheld media market and the internet, broadcast media such as television and cable. It will change the way news is delivered and received (think Google News 5.0 , a four generation jump).

2. The other hint is that there is a button somewhere on this blog that will pave the way for the new generation of handheld media devices (and it has nothing to do with text to speech:)