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By Carl Howe

Someone seems to keep recycling this press release and reporters keep printing it.

Friday, we saw a news story on Yahoo! titled, Microsoft developing a rival to Apple's iPod, which, despite its title, is actually more about Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) developing its own music store.

Come again?

It was only last month that we heard that iTunes was doomed because of URGE, the new collaboration of Microsoft and MTV, which has since been deemed somewhat less than an iTunes-killer. And almost exactly a year ago, we heard that Microsoft was developing its own xPod. And this doesn't even count the numerous stories about Yahoo's, Wal-Mart's and Amazon's music stores that always seem to be labeled iTunes killers because they are using Microsoft technology.

There's one ray of hope here. If Microsoft actually develops an xPod music player and a music store, it will have no more excuses for delivering a poor user experience. It will have exactly the same tools and resources that Apple does. And if it can't copy Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) user experience a full five years and countless millions later, the company will have no one to blame but itself.

MSFT-AAPL 1-yr comparison chart:

MSFT-AAPL 1-yr comparison chart

Related articles: A New iTunes Rip-Off? Microsoft Reinventing Itself in all the Wrong Ways (MSFT) by Chad Brand

Source: If Microsoft's New Online Music Store Fails, They'll Have Only Themselves to Blame (MSFT)