Microsoft mulled Apple partnership, iPod rival in 2003


Allchin replied: "I think I should talk with [Apple CEO Steve] Jobs. Right now, I think I should open up a dialog (sic) for support of the iPod. Unless something changes, the iPod will drive people away from [Windows Media Player]."

Last July, Microsoft announced it would build and sell its own media player, called the Zune. Since mid-November, when it released the Zune, Microsoft has sold "hundreds of thousands" of the devices, according to Bloomberg LP. Apple, by contrast, sold 21.1 million iPods last quarter.

Due to proprietary technologies on both sides, Microsoft's popular Windows Media Player can't synchronize with Apple's iPod, though there are third-party work-arounds available online.

The Allchin e-mail was part of a cache of 3,186 exhibits made public online late last week by the plaintiffs in the ongoing Comes v. Microsoft antitrust trial.

Asked for comment, a Microsoft spokesman said: "While we are not in a position to comment on each and every one of these exhibits, we believe that very few if any address the central question in this case: Did consumers get their money's worth from Microsoft products? We believe the evidence clearly will show that consumers get great value from Microsoft products at a fair and reasonable price."