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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Disney Player Joins Zune And iPod (DIS)(AAPL)(MSFT)(SNDK)

Since almost every other entertainment and hardware company has joined the multimedia player competition, why not Disney.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Disney will announce its horse in the race, the "Mix Max" a portable player aimed at children between the ages of 9 and 13. The player can hold six hours of video.

The advantage to the device is that it loads with a small cartridge, rather than via download. The unit will sell for $99, well below many competing devices. It will also be open to any company that wants to create content for it.

While it is difficult to predict whether the device will sell well enough to make it a profitable venture for Disney, it does put another product into the market that could further fragment the multimedia player segment. Aside from the Apple iPod, Microsoft will introduce it Zune player and Sandisk will launch a player with RealNetworks. All of these initiatives are likely to put pricing pressure on a market where Apple has enjoyed huge sales and substantial operating income from the iPods/iTune platform.

The period when Apple had the market to itself has ended.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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