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News   - 09/20/2006

RealNetworks and SanDisk to make device to rival IPod

Oh no! Not again...

RealNetworks Inc., a maker of software to play music and videos on the Internet, and SanDisk Corp. will make a portable music player to compete with Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod.

RealNetworks' Rhapsody Internet music service will be embedded into SanDisk's Sansa MP3 player, Seattle-based RealNetworks said Monday. Milpitas, Calif.-based SanDisk is iPod's closest competitor with less than 10 percent of the market.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple's 77 percent share of the $4 billion U.S. market for digital music players is attracting new competitors, including Microsoft Corp., which last week officially unveiled the Zune device it plans to sell for Christmas. Microsoft's move also threatens its former partners such as SanDisk, pushing them to find new allies.

SanDisk's Sansa e200 models with the RealNetworks software will come preloaded with almost 32 hours of music from EMI Group Plc, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp. and Universal Music Group. The players will automatically update with new music based on the customer's taste and past preferences.

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer    
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