updated 07:35 am EDT, Tue May 12, 2009
MS Teases iPhone Rival
Microsoft early today drew a competitive line by using its Office 2010 Twitter account to post word of a major competitor to the iPhone in June. First hinting that next month is an "important month for Zune lovers," the account user -- who is posting from either an iPhone or a Mac -- next explains that it's a product launch and implies that the product in question is a direct competitor for a smartphone rather than a strict media player.
"Hold off from buying an iPhone/Pre," the author says.
What this would involve isn't clarified. Microsoft is popularly expected to launch the Zune HD sometime this year that will likely involve a touchscreen, more advanced video playback and possibly extras like improved Internet access and 3D game support. However, no rumors have implied that the device would have any phone functionality and have instead positioned it only as a competitor to the iPod touch.
On phones, Microsoft has regularly denied any plans to make its own phone and has instead said it would only strengthen its ties with existing Windows Mobile phone designers to improve the experience. The company is known to be developing a software project known as "Pink" that would bring some Zune elements to Windows Mobile, but a project that would showcase the development, an iPhone rival from Verizon, isn't thought due until early 2010.
Regardless of the product's nature, Microsoft has to contend with sagging Zune sales as a lack of hardware and software updates have given Apple a stronger position in the music player business.