Coming soon? Google Tunes, xPods, more
Bear Stearns anticipates a new competitor to iTunes, Microsoft considers a portable Xbox, and Boo.com may be back.
SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0) - Bear Stearns reports that it expects Google to develop a competitor to iTunes, which it may roll out as soon as three months from now. Robert Peck, the Bear Stearns analyst, writes that he hasn't heard anything from Google about such a service, but he thinks it's a logical fit with Google's recently launched video store. Remember what we said about Apple's new enemies? If Bear Stearns is right, predictions that Apple would be doing battle with the likes of Google are coming true faster than we predicted.
Coming soon, the Microsoft xPod
And sometimes the new enemies are old enemies: Microsoft reportedly is considering a portable version of its popular Xbox videogame console. In addition to playing games, the device -- call it the "xPod" -- would play music and video, too, putting Microsoft in direct competition with Apple's iPod business, as well as Sony's PlayStation Portable. Microsoft would also be competing with current partners like Creative Technology and iRiver, which currently use Microsoft technology in their players.
A taxing offer from H&R Block
USB thumb drives are all the rage, and H&R Block has gotten on the bandwagon, offering new tax software on a pocket-sized flash-memory storage device for $49.95. Engadget did the math, however, and found that for $49.95, the offer is a ripoff: You can get the software and the 256-MB drive separately for about $20 apiece. A $10 rebate makes the price more reasonable, but even then, you'd get more for your money if you bought a higher-capacity drive.
Seen a ghost? Boo.com may be back
As Europe's biggest dot-com flameout, Boo.com scored #1 on Business 2.0's original list of 101 Dumbest Moments. After spending millions of dollars on cutting-edge Web technology that never worked, the store laid off most of its staff within weeks of its late-1999 launch. But now the website, which has lain dormant for years, is collecting customer e-mails and promising a relaunch in June 2006.
See Business 2.0's new list of 101 Dumbest Moments.