Microsoft hopes its Zune project will be able to catch up with Apple's iPod within several years.
The software giant plans to have one music player in the U.S. this year, expanding into other devices and regions next year, Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft, said at the company's financial analysts meeting here.
"We think of this in the hundreds of millions of dollars of investment" over several years, Bach said. "It is something that is going to take time. This is not a six-month initiative."
Microsoft confirmed its plans for its Zune-branded player and service last week, but has offered scant details beyond the fact that it will have a hard drive-based music player with a built-in Wi-Fi connection on the market this year.