Virgin has given up its assault on the iPod market.

Sir Richard Branson has pulled the plug on Virgin Electronics, the subsidiary that was supposed to compete with the iPod and iTunes, writes The Evening Standard.

Virgin initially sold a $100 circular MP3-player with a capacity of 128MB – about 40 songs, then in an attempt to take on the iPod mini the company released a 5GB digital music player in October 2004. Virgin's device supported Windows Media Audio (WMA) Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology, enabling it to play songs sold through Virgin Digital and other Windows-friendly music download services, but not the iTunes Music Store.

The device was bundled with Virgin Digital music software that sells song downloads for 99 cents as well as monthly subscriptions for $7.99.

Virgin said it was withdrawing all its Virgin Electronics products from the market but would honour all warranties. As well as MP3 players, Virgin Electronics also sold speakers and noise-cancelling earphones.

When Virgin announced its music player in October chief executive of Virgin Electronics Greg Woock told Forbes: "No one else has the same sort of brand energy that Apple or Virgin has. Plus, our heritage is music. Apple is dominating, yes, but the market share that it has today is not going to last."