Microsoft Plans on Making Digital Music Player To Challenge Apple’s iPod

microsoft logo Bill Gates said on Friday, Microsoft Corp. and its hardware partners will carry on developing new digital media devices intended for challenging the dominance of Apple Computer Inc.’s ubiquitous iPod mp3 player.

Gates said, speaking to a group of minority students. “I don’t think what’s out on the market today is the final answer. Between Microsoft and our partners, you can expect some pretty hot products coming out over the next few years.”

Gates praised Apple’s iTunes music store and said Microsoft was talking with hardware partners to create digital media devices that will be cheaper and easier to connect and with an better system to handle pictures and video.

The market share for digital music players compatible with Microsoft software is around 20 percent, a figure that is lower than what gates would like.

Microsoft’s strategy has been to permit various device manufacturers to develop music players that would be compatible with its software, arguing that it offered consumers more options.

Though, BusinessWeek reported that Microsoft is mulling its own media device in an attempt to cut into Apple’s nearly 70 percent U.S. market share.