Dell's Trying Its Hand At Digital Music Players, Again

Rafat Ali
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 2:07 AM

Dell is trying its hand at a portable music player again, after failing to gain enough marketshare with earlier versions such as DJ Ditty. The new Dell player could go on sale by September, reports WSJ, and will have integrated software and an online music service. Similer integrated strategies have been tried by others likes Rhapsody, Napster and others, to minuscule effect. Even Dell tried it with MusicMatch, before it was bought by Yahoo ( NSDQ: YHOO), and later it tried with Napster ( NSDQ: NAPS). When Dell stopped making music players in 2006, its U.S. market share remained below 3 started in 2003. For perspective, Apple ( NSDQ: AAPL) had 71 percent of the U.S. MP3 player market in Q108, according NPD, SanDisk ( NSDQ: SNDK) with 11 percent, and Microsoft ( NSDQ: MSFT) Zune with just 4 percent of the market.

This time the company says its integration is tighter and seamless: it is working on software for a range of portable PCs that will let users download and organize music and movies from various online sources, the story says. It would connect to online music services via Wi-Fi, and price will likely be less than $100.

For Dell, it would need "an Apple level of marketing", as the story quotes an analyst..besides the product being good, of course. The new player is based on technology it got when it bought software startup Zing Systems last year. Zing provides the platform for SanDisk's Sana Connect wireless mobile music players and the Sirius ( NSDQ: SIRI) Stiletto. The company was founded in June 2006 by Tim Bucher, the former SVP of engineering for Apple.

The Zing-based software will come pre-installed on a series of new Dell notebook computers and other devices.


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