The New York Times reports that Microsoft is developing a portable music player to try and compete with Apple's iPod. (See the article
First instinct says they just don't have a shot. From product quality to marketing, Apple's got it down. I'm wondering what the MS player will compete on. Lower price and compatibility with other music stores are probably the two areas where they can hope to offer the customer an advantage.
My personal view is that, if they can offer up a player that, if not spectacular, is at least decent on size and functionality, and can work with Napster's subscription service (where you pay a monthly fee for unlimited downloads to your mp3 player, even though you don't actually "own" the files), I would definitely give it a try.
Whether Microsoft can grab meaningful market share or not, it will definitely be a good thing for the consumer if Apple has to finally react to some competition, rather than making all the rules themselves. At the very least, maybe they'll be nice and get rid of the bug that made my iPod battery crap out a week after the warranty expired.