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Old 06-13-2008, 01:00 AM
Jason Dunn
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Default VentureBeat Interviews Microsoft’s Robbie Bach

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='' target='_blank'></a><br /><br /></div><img vspace="1" hspace="5" border="1" align="left" alt="" src="" /><em>&quot;Robbie Bach is the president of the multibillion-dollar Entertainment &amp; Devices Group at Microsoft. The group is closing in on a big fiscal year end on June 30. The company has projected that the group will be profitable this year for the first time since its inception in 2005. One of the products that isn&rsquo;t profitable yet is the Zune media player. A challenger to Apple&rsquo;s iPod, the Zune is so far a quixotic attempt to unseat Apple in making cool music devices that capture the buzz among consumers.The Zune is just one of many products within Bach&rsquo;s domain, where the common theme is &ldquo;connected entertainment.&rdquo; VentureBeat was part of a small group of reporters that recently got to quiz Bach about all of his businesses, from Zune to the Xbox 360. This edited transcript is the first of several parts and focuses just on the Zune business.&quot;</em><br /><br />This is a great interview with Robbie Bach that goes pretty deep on the Zune; namely, how they see the Zune's position in the market against the iPod and iPhone. Bach drills on the &quot;connected entertainment&quot; point quite a bit, and while I think that's nice in theory, I continue to believe that Microsoft has fallen short in achieving the synergy they can/should achieve with Windows Mobile, Xbox, Windows, and the Zune. I should be able to purchase a song, a TV show, or a movie and watch it on my Windows Mobile smartphone, my Zune, my Xbox, and my PC. It's all the same family of products, it's all similar DRM. Why can't it all work together? Licensing? Make it work Microsoft! Apple beat you to the punch with the synergy of computer + phone + living room. Don't let them get too far ahead!<br /><br />I also think that the VentureBeat reported nailed the right term for the launch of games on the Zune: &quot;timid&quot;. As Yoda would say, &quot;Do or do not, there is no try!&quot;. Right now games on the Zune seem like an experiment, and I think that sends a lot of mixed messages about how seriously Microsoft is taking this. I enjoyed reading the interview, and I found Bach's response to the issue of GameStop not selling the Zune any more to be utterly priceless:<br /><em><br />&quot;It&rsquo;s not like they sell iPods either. GameStop saw it as a place to expand. We tried. It hasn&rsquo;t gone as well as they&rsquo;d like so they decided to stop selling them. It doesn&rsquo;t say a lot. It was a channel expansion opportunity and it didn&rsquo;t work out. It was a good thing to try. But it&rsquo;s not called GameStop for nothing. It&rsquo;s not called MusicStop. We have good traction with Best Buy, Circuit City and elsewhere.&quot;</em><br /><br />It's so true - I grew very weary of blog after blog, media outlet after media outlet, making a huge deal about this when GameStop announced they'd stop selling the Zune. Were the same blogs and media outlets making an equally big deal out of GameStop selling the Zune when they first started because GameStop was such a huge an influential retail channel? No. Some people can be remarkably hypocritical when it comes to talking about Microsoft and it truly gets tiring sometimes. At any rate, <a target="_blank" href="">check out the interview</a> for more Q&amp;A.
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