Talking at the Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, California last night, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates commented on a multitude of issues, including the possibility of a portable media player/gaming machine from Microsoft.
According to a PC Magazine report
from Michael J. Miller and a ZDNet report
from Dan Farber, Gates, when asked about the 'portable media player' that is allegedly being worked on by J. Allard and the Xbox group, commented: "I have no announcement to make today."
However, he did note: "We are looking at various ways to bring more to that space. There is a lot yet that hasn't been done", implying that Microsoft may be still looking at ways to challenge Apple's iPod (on the music end of the specturm) and Sony's PSP (on the gaming end of the spectrum) in one multipurpose device.
Gates also commented on the performance thus far of the Xbox 360, noting, according to the bloggers, that the PlayStation 2 debuted earlier, was cheaper, and was smaller than the original Xbox, but that the Xbox 360 has all of these attributes (earlier, cheaper, smaller) compared to Sony's PlayStation 3, which will launch in November, hopefully spurring its success.
The question regarding the portable media player/console was likely spurred by
strategic research and consulting firm The Diffusion Group, which has suggested, following a lead from journalist Dean Takahashi, that Microsoft will likely leverage its Xbox franchise to enter the portable game console market in late 2007 or early 2008. However, there is no official Microsoft confirmation of such a suggestion as of yet.