Microsoft's Argo challenges iPod and more

By Derek Sooman on July 12, 2006, 1:25 AM
For some time now, there have been rumours of an iPod killer from Microsoft. Recently, the rumours have intensified, and now we are beginning to get some more concrete details... including the name: Argo. The device (named after the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed from Iolcus to retrieve the Golden Fleece in Greek mythology) is apparently not only a media player, but is actually just one piece of a whole line of Xbox-branded digital-media products, including a device that plays media, a software media player, and an online media service.

Last week, various media sources reported that Microsoft has been making rounds to a handful of music labels to foster support for the productís release, and it has sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into Argoís production and marketing. It was also reported that Microsoft hopes to have the device on the market by the upcoming holiday season, and analysts agree a pre-holiday launch will be crucial to its success.
The device is expected to have Wi-Fi capability, allowing users to transfer music without a cable from a PC. Its final, go-to-market name is expected to be Zune. It is likely to work in conjunction with Urge, Microsoft's joint venture with MTV.

When Microsoft moves into a new market, it has a habit of ultimately obliterating the competition. Will the launch of Argo / Zune mean the end of the iPodís success story? Only time will tell.

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