Japanese consumer and business electronics manufacturer Toshiba has been selected by Microsoft to produce its forthcoming Zune digital music device.
Microsoft intends to use the device to chip away at the dominance of Apple’s iPod in the digital music stakes.
It has emerged that Toshiba filed for approval to manufacture the device with the US Federal Communications Commission last week.
Microsoft is hoping Toshiba can have the device turned around and in stores in time for the busy Christmas market.
The Seattle-based software giant is planning to invest billions of dollars in the new device over the next few years in order to present a meaningful competition to Apple’s popular iPod music player, which has sold more than 58.9m devices since 2001.
It is expected that Microsoft will position the Zune player as more than simply a music device but something that meets all the entertainment needs of consumers, such as tying in with its popular Xbox games player.
It is also believed that the Zune player will have wireless capabilities that the iPod family has yet to demonstrate. For example, it is envisaged the device will allow users to share music and videos anywhere within range of a wireless hotspot.
By John Kennedy
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