Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, will begin selling portable music players for as much as 80 percent less than Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod.

The Microsoft-branded devices will "look and feel" as good as the iPod for as little as $50, said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of MSN at Microsoft Corp., at the Goldman Sachs fifth annual Internet Conference in Las Vegas. The iPod sells for $249 to $499.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., will release a number of music players when it launches its online music service later this year, giving customers more choices than Apple, Mehdi said.

News source: [URL=http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~33~2174543,00.html]Denver Post[/URL].