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Gates deflects music player rumors

Is Microsoft working on an digital music player? Bill Gates, one of several speakers at the D (all things Digital) conference this week in Carlsbad, Calif., managed to dodge questions about such a project.

Gates was asked about a rumored portable media player that the Xbox group is reportedly working on, reports ZDNet's Dan Farber. "I have no announcement to make today," Gates said. "We are looking at various ways to bring more to that space. There is a lot yet that hasn't been done."

The target would obviously be Apple Computer's iPod, the 800-pound gorilla in the market. But if Microsoft comes out with its own device, this could put the company at odds with hardware makers like iRiver. While Microsoft stays out of most the hardware side on the PC (except mice and keyboards), it does compete in the Apple-like end-to-end product category, pitting, for example, the Microsoft Xbox game console against Sony's PlayStation.