There has been much talk recently about Microsoft planning their own digital music player which has been talked about as an “iPod Killer.” Microsoft has not made it official an announced a product line called Zune which will include both audio, video and eventually gaming capabilities.
Now I wondered how it was that Microsoft would go about making an iPod killer? The iPod has the predominate market share and with it integrated with iTunes it would be pretty hard for Microsoft to gain substantial market share. Since Microsoft’s normal tactic of buying out a competitor won’t work in the case of Apple. A portable player with a blue-screen-of-death capability doesn’t sound all that promising. Just how is Microsoft planning to achieve this feat since it obviously can’t have anything to do with superior design or aesthetic qualities. Can a company that put out Windows XP with screen design that looks like it was put together by Fischer-Price know anything about design?
So I decided to do some investigation to find out just what they were up to.
The apparent pictures of the device gives it a good wide screen form factor for video content and the navigation looks like a take-off on the very usable iPod click wheel interface. Good design should be copied from other companies to the extent patents allow. In fact Apple could learn a thing to two from Microsoft when it comes to mice like one button only sucks. I decided to do some patent searches to see what Microsoft might have patented lately to give them an edge over the competition.
What I found is disturbing to say the least.
This patent covers a new type of coil that is able to not only to build up and hold a large charge, but also releases it extremely quickly in a very specific frequency range.
For the life of me at first I couldn’t figure out what this capability would be used for in an audio/video device. I could see it having military application, but not consumer electronics. The expected wireless capabilities of the Zune would have to be continuous and would not use an electromagnetic pulse that only discharges every few seconds.
Then it all clicked and I realized it makes perfect sense. When people were talking about Microsoft’s iPod killer they didn’t realize just how accurate this description was. The Zune while operating will release these specifically shaped electromagnetic pulses that will take out any Apple iPod in what I formulate to be a 50 yard radius. The electromagnetic pulse will enter through the docking port of all recent iPods and fry the chipset. The owner of these iPods will only see the screen of the iPod with the unhappy face on it and will be taking their iPods back in droves.
Now as a happy iPod owner myself I am scandalized by Microsoft’s iPod killer. Those that know me know I am not part of the tinfoil hat parade, but my iPod might be sporting a tinfoil case when the Zune is released.