Microsoft has announced that it will release games on the Zune music player, but that may take up to a year and a half.

The vice president of Microsoft's Xbox division, Peter Moore, told Bloomberg news that the company plans to roll out the games within 18 months, by which time Apple plans to have rolled out its new iPhone in both the US and UK, and possibly other markets.

Speaking before the announcement of the iPhone, More said that the large screen on the Zune offers a “better way” to play handheld games.

“I love the interface, I love the screen”, he told reporters at CES.

Microsoft is still ebullient about sales of the Zune, with Robbie Bach, president of the Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, telling reporters that the company has sold “hundreds of thousands” of them.

Compared with Apple's sales of iPods, which topped 17 million in the last quarter, Microsoft's Zune sales have a long way to go: it hopes to sell a million players in the next 6 months.