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Mon 2 Oct 2006 04:00 AM

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Microsoft finally reveals its ‘iPod killer’

Microsoft has finally revealed its Zune portable music player, ending months of market speculation regarding the purported “iPod killer”.

Microsoft has finally revealed its Zune portable music player, ending months of market speculation regarding the purported “iPod killer”.

Resembling Apple’s video iPod but with a larger 3-inch screen, the Zune will enable users to share music and images wirelessly with other Zune owners.

The 30GB Zune will be officially launched in the US before Christmas, with Microsoft confirming plans to release other devices – including a Zune Phone – over the next 12 months.

Apple is also reportedly preparing an iPod with cellular phone capabilities for launch early next year.

As reported in last month’s ECN, Zune will be manufactured in conjunction with Toshiba and will allow users to listen to any shared song three times over a three-day period.

Microsoft will also launch a competitor to Apple’s hugely successful iTunes online music service, branded Zune Marketplace.

Unlike iTunes, the service will provide users with an option to either buy a flat-fee subscription to download an unlimited number of songs, or purchase songs individually.

In a bid to combat Apple’s recently launched iTunes video facility, Microsoft is said to be negotiating with Hollywood studios to offer film and television programming to Zune Marketplace subscribers.

The Zune player will come preloaded with the latest tracks from a variety of labels including Virgin Records. According to Zune insiders, the portable music player could also be linked to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console in the future.

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