Microsoft mulled Apple partnership, iPod rival in 2003

As far back as 2003, Microsoft Corp. considered introducing its own rival to the iPod or seeking a partnership with Apple Inc., according to evidence introduced Friday at a Microsoft antitrust trial in Iowa. Microsoft was extremely unhappy with the Windows-based digital music players built by partners such as Dell Inc. and Creative Technology Ltd., according to an e-mail exchange between Windows Vista development chief Jim Allchin and Amir Majidmehr, a Microsoft consumer media executive in charge of development for the Windows Media Player software.

"I have to tell you my experience with our software and this device Creative's Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra is really terrible," Allchin wrote in a Nov. 13, 2003, e-mail. "Apple is just so far ahead. How can we get the [independent hardware vendors] to create something that is competitive with the iPod? I looked at the Dell system and that is not close either." Microsoft had worked with partners on MP3 players as early as 2000. But Apple released the iPod in 2001 and immediately jumped to the top of the market. Majidmehr, now corporate vice president for Microsoft's consumer media technology group, replied, "Now you feel our pain. ... Of course, some are better than others but none are a match for Apple."

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News source: ComputerWorld

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the zune is just gonna follow the same foot steps as the dell dj. They start of big and go small until they finally call it quits

What a mess which is the Zune. Why on earth they went the iTunes route I'll never know and why bother rebranding a Toshiba device instead of making their own. They had a chance to come out guns blazing but blew it. L really like my iPod but hate iTunes and all it's restrictiveness. I was hoping MS would come up with something that worked really well and was the opposite of iPod & iTunes but it wasn't to be.

Slimy said,
It's the first generation. The first generation iPod was just as much of a flop if not more.

Given the size of the mp3 player market at that time, the first gen ipod did pretty damn well.