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Old 09-29-2006, 06:24 PM
Jason Dunn
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Default Robert X. Cringely Weighs in on Zune


"Finally, some people would say that Microsoft's decision to launch its Zune music player against Apple's iPod is dumb too, but I am not among that group of people. On the face of it, smart people are asking why Microsoft would sell a product that isn't likely to EVER be profitable? Microsoft can't afford not to do it. Zune goes on sale November 14 for $249, the same price as a 30 gig iPod. But Zune has WiFi and a larger screen than the iPod, so it has to be costing more to make and delivering less (if any) profit to Redmond. As I wrote two weeks ago, Apple does iTunes to sell iPods, so Microsoft is going to have a hard time turning that model on its head and making its profit from selling music. Ain't gonna happen."

Robert X. Cringely always has an interesting way of looking at the tech world, and even if his often wild predictions don't come true, I enjoy reading them. The latter third of his September 28th column deals with the Zune, and he speculates that the Zune is a deep, long-term play - and I agree with him. Zune is about the platform, not the 30 GB media player being sold in November. Platforms are long term, very deep plays that take years to develop fully - and Microsoft has shown that they can fail with applications (remember that Java-based Flash competitor in the late '90s?), they can fail with devices (their cordless phone), but when it comes to platforms, Microsoft has a very strong track record of success. The people that look at the first Zune player as being the end-all and be-all of the Zune platform aren't seeing the big picture.
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