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While the analyst have been somewhat skeptical about further growth of digital media player market, Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software designer, believes that there is a plenty space for growth. The company believes that its forthcoming Zune player will ignite further market growth.

“The digital music player market will eventually mushroom to hundreds of millions of units a year -- up from a current rate of 30 to 40 million units per year,” said Bryan Lee, corporate vice president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, Reuters news-agency reports.

Apple iPod accounted for 76.6% of all portable music players shipped from January through June, compared with 75.3% the same period a year ago, according to a report from NPD Group. At the same time, SanDisk commands 8.9% of the market, Creative Labs commands 3.7% of the market, while Samsung Electronics and Sony have 3.7% and 2.2% of the market, it was reported in August.

“We want it to be the best music experience you can have,” Mr. Lee said at a Citigroup investment conference that was broadcast over the Web. “You’ll see a lot of emphasis on community, a shared type of experience”.

Microsoft’s Zune player will be available in three colours with a duotone approach on each. The device will have a 3.75” screen, contain a 30GB hard disk drive as well as some functionality, not currently available on competing products, such as Apple iPod or Creative Zen, including ad-hoc music sharing between a group of people in the range of the device, FM as well as digital radio, thanks to Wi-Fi connectivity. Along with the Zune device, Microsoft is expected to launch its new online music store.

According to previous news-stories, 13 accessories for the player will be available at launch, which is scheduled on the 14th of November, 2006.

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