That Bill Gates Feller

He's a jealous sort of guy, isn't he? He just can't stand to see anyone making advances in market share.... soon he'll start making washers and dryers... "damn that SEARS, they're making MONEY!!!"

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is working on plans to develop a portable digital media device to rival Apple Computer Inc.'s (AAPL) iPod, BusinessWeek reported on its Web site Friday.

Citing sources inside the company and at its partners, the magazine said Microsoft hasn't decided if it will go ahead with the project, but has put together a team that's considering the business end of such an initiative.

Currently, Microsoft shares its technology with dozens of partners, and Chairman William H. Gates III has argued that consumers would prefer a vast choice of devices to the limited selection from Apple.

However, Apple has been extending its lead in digital music, BusinessWeek said. In 2005, Apple's share of portable media devices sold in the U.S. grew to 67% from 52% in 2004, according to NPD Group Inc. Making its own device, despite an uneven track record in consumer electronics, may be Microsoft's only viable alternative, BusinessWeek said.

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