Microsoft to launch iPod rival by Christmas?

Last month, Reuters quoted anonymous sources as saying Microsoft was working on a rival to Apple's iPod and iTunes duo. Now, Reuters' sources say Microsoft is ready to unleash its iPod competitor by Christmas. The device will play music and videos like the iPod, the sources claim, but it will also be capable of transferring data wirelessly. Reuters doesn't say whether the wireless functionality will be achieved via Wi-Fi or another protocol, though. Record companies are due to get their hands on prototypes of the device "in the coming weeks."

Additional details are scarce, but one Reuters source revealed that Microsoft is having J Allard and Robbie Bach work on the iPod killer. J Allard is currently VP of the Xbox team and best known as one of the founders of the Xbox project, while Robbie Bach heads Microsoft's entire Entertainment and Devices Division, including the Xbox business. Reuters says Allard is one of the few Microsoft execs with experience in building a consumer device from scratch, making his participation in the project significant.

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