Microsoft plans to launch “Killer iPod” this Christmas

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Microsoft will start selling a digital music and video player by the holiday shopping season. The much talked about, but never confirmed “iPod killer” from Microsoft is set to hit the shelves worldwide during the Christmas season, in order to compete with Apple Computer’s iPod.

Software giant, Microsoft has been proclaiming the coming of the new player to various record companies in the past few weeks. Microsoft has also been touting a new integrated media software application, which is similar to Apple’s iTunes.

At present, both Apple’s iPod player and iTunes Music store are leaders in their respective markets. Analysts believe that for Microsoft to compete with Apple in the coming period, the software giant will need to have a player and service ready in time for the holiday shopping season.

What is interesting is that Robbie Bach, appointed president of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division, is working with J. Allard, vice president of its Xbox team, on the unnamed digital media player/software project, according to a source close to Microsoft.

Microsoft’s device will be able to connect to the internet and other devices using the wireless fidelity, or Wi-Fi, standard, which iTunes doesn’t have. It is also not clear whether the device will have any gaming features. Redmond giant, Microsoft is also promising that the screen will have a better quality picture than the iPod, according to sources who saw the slideshow Microsoft is using to promote the device.

According to people close to the media companies, many music and TV companies are interested in working with Microsoft, just to dampen the power that Apple enjoyed in the market.

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