The nets were a'roil (trust me, they were mad roiling ) with news that Microsoft was considering releasing an iPod/iTunes "killer" (the press's word, not my own), but nary a word of it came from Redmond itself.
Until today, when MS dropped the bombshell: yes, they would be releasing such a device. It would appear (as if by magic) sometime before the end of the year. It'll be branded under the moniker "Zune" (what I wouldn't have given for them to have named it "iZunes"), though so will forthcoming video players and portable gaming devices. There will be Wi-Fi and an internal hard drive.
There's more information floating around, but it's hard to separate fact from conjecture at this stage in the game. There's a viral ad site at Coming Zune, though I haven't been able to derive much from it. Here's a few sources of coverage.
Will Microsoft make a dent in Apple's music hegemony? Or will Zune throw itself uselessly against Cupertino's gleaming Ivory Tower? Stay tuned Zuned.
(In case you're wondering, the above image is not from Microsoft. It comes from Zune Nation, which has got to be one of the fastest fan news sites ever created).