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Old 03-15-2011, 12:30 AM
Steven McPherson
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Default Microsoft Kills Zune Hardware? Its All About the Software!

"According to Bloomberg, a "person familiar with the decision" has confirmed that Microsoft won't be producing any new Zune media players, and that the company will instead focus solely on the Zune software that already has a foothold on the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone devices (it's not clear if the name will stick around)."


No confirmation from Microsoft yet, but it appears that Microsoft has decided to pitch the standalone media player hardware in favor of focusing on the software platform that has already been integrated into the wildly successful XBOX and the Windows Phone 7 platforms.  Microsoft is said to be working on project "Ventura" that will provide cloud based music and media services to PCs, TVs and mobile devices.  Could "Ventura" be part of Microsoft future media strategy?


I love my Zune so this will be a tough one to swallow but since my Windows Phone 7 is able to consume all of the Zune media just as well, I think that most users will be fine.  While its not even speculated that Microsoft would discontinued Zune support within the Marketplace, it would be great if Microsoft would partner with outside hardware developers to provide standalone media player integration with the popular Zune service.  Keeping the hardware devices "fresh" should still be important to the future media platform strategy.  Only time will tell.  Hopefully Microsoft will provide more clarity and confirm their future media platform strategy in the coming weeks.



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Old 03-15-2011, 12:50 AM
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Not so good for the overall perception of Microsoft mobility products in general. First the Kin, now the Zune
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:20 AM
Steven McPherson
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Maybe. But I think ultimately Microsoft wants devices that run their software that consumer their services. That hardware doesn't have to be manufactured by Microsoft. They have always tried to take this approach. The exception is the Xbox and that's a very different market that smartphones or media players.
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:33 AM
Sven Johannsen
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Originally Posted by Steven McPherson View Post
Maybe. But I think ultimately Microsoft wants devices that run their software that consumer their services. That hardware doesn't have to be manufactured by Microsoft.
Maybe so, but I can't see anyone making a portable media player based on Zune but MS. After Plays-for-sure and Portable Media Center, who is going to stick their neck out again.

With the advent of the Windows Phone with integral Zune capability, it would seem natural that WP adopters might want a pure media experience in the same ecosystem. (Might even be some Zune users pulled toward WM) I may want something to run/exercise with, maybe engage in some more extreme sports that I don't want to subject my phone to. I may want some tactile buttons on such a player so I don't have to look at it, or take it out of my pocket (they already scewed up on this point). And I might want something that has a decent amount of storage, without competing with contacts, calendar, e-mails, Nav apps. Would be nice if such a media player integrated into the same ecosystem as my Phone and desktop. Guess MS doesn't want to be the supplier of that ecosystem. Guess iStuff is the way to go.

The right announcement to make is that the Zune will soon support all WP apps, not that the Zune is history.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:52 AM
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I am really sorry that MS killed best media player that I've used. I have one permanently docked in my car. Better than carry a bunch of CDs or in car player with hard drive.Much more fun and easier to use, plus, if I need to, I can always take it out of the car. I think, MS feels it lost this market to iPod, and wants to concentrate where there's still hope for profits. If WP7 market share won't pick up in the next 5 months to a year, I am afraid WP will join Zune and other, interesting, but for whatever reason not widely excepted by consumers
You create your opportunities by asking for them
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:04 PM
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Steve Ballmer has ZERO vision and, as a man with a marketing background, is impotent as a salesman. Shocking, I tell you. I'm surprised he still has a job at all. Same goes for some of the pinheads in the upper management at Microsoft.

I've used Zune ever since it came out and I love it. But I've watched Microsoft squander opportunity after opportunity with great products (both software and hardware) over the years. It's not only frustrating, it's maddening. Now comes the demise of the Zune HD, which is a gorgeous and high quality device. As a dedicated media player, the Zune HD is hands down the BEST mainstream media player, bar none (I'm an audiophile and I've tried all the major players). Sadly, it's become the butt of jokes as a result of poor implementation and even poorer (nonexistent, really) marketing. Everyone, even the haters, can agree Zune could have been SO much more. But one man and all his suck-ups decided the company should continue to ride on its good name alone to carry its fortunes. Lame. Just totally lame.

Yes, the Zune Pass and the Marketplace are successful services, as is the XBox, and should continue on for some time. But everything else has been half-baked, half-assed, and half-wittedly promoted. It's like they're not really even TRYING to be successful.

Memo to Microsoft:

Instead of hiring gobs of people to design the friggin' ARTWORK for the backs of Zune Originals players, why haven't you focused instead on smart people who could improve the service, the player itself and the content? Who CARES about artwork if a good-looking player can't deliver? Maybe the bucks you save could help you lower the price of the Zune a little bit, which would give folks some incentive to try it.

Speaking of delivering: why CRIPPLE your great products? Why LIMIT the Zune to one or two formats for music and video? Hell, the Zune doesn't even work with many of your own proprietary music and video products (PlaysForSure and Windows Media Player are just two examples)! How asinine is THAT? Here's a concept: Not EVERY one of your customers is a pirate or a crook.

And this app thing. C'mon...quit trying to compete with the iPod as anything other than a dedicated music player. You've totally LOST the apps game a long time ago and it's foolish to have wasted so many resources trying to catch up. While some of the Zune apps are nice, the whole apps implementation is lame, at best. Again, you're not focusing on what's IMPORTANT. If people want something that runs apps, tell them to go buy an iPod or iPhone. If they want a SERIOUS music/media player that brings a flood of great new music and videos to them, make the Zune and its service shine! Instead, you've watered it down by trying to make it compete as an apps platform. In your delusional efforts to fight with Apple for dominance in the music player world, you've stumbled over yourselves at the cost of losing a large segment of a loyal customer base that would've sustained you for years as the solid #2 device provider. That in turn would've bolstered you as the #1 content/service provider. Way to represent.

Want just one great example of poor implementation? Your stupid "Microsoft Points" system used to purchase music in the Zune Marketplace. Really. It's confusing and non-inviting, at best. You might as well have called it "Microsoft Bucks". It's just as dumb. In the reality of life here in the U.S., people understand DOLLARS and CENTS, not some convoluted monetary value that requires conversion and formulae to use. And there you go again...using the "Microsoft" name like it's the one thing that will guarantee success. THIS is the kind of thinking that is KILLING your great products and services, Microsoft!

You don't get it, do you? Allow me to let you in on a litle secret: Microsoft, as a brand name, ISN'T ANYTHING SPECIAL anymore. You've essentially weakened the very good name you rest your laurels on by not following through with and poorly implementing great products over the years. People now associate Microsoft with "half-assed" while they associate Apple with "great hardware and great customer service". It's as simple as that. It's all a matter of "too little, too late" with you folks. And everyone knows a company is only as good as its leadership.

So...why haven't you fired Ballmer and put in another nerd at the top, yet?


A (frustrated) loyal Microsoft customer.

End rant....I gotta go find Jack Daniels....
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:24 PM
Janak Parekh
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Originally Posted by mtnmedic View Post
But I've watched Microsoft squander opportunity after opportunity with great products (both software and hardware) over the years. It's not only frustrating, it's maddening.
Microsoft's always been great at making tools to build a consumer platform, but (almost) never quite assembled the pieces together when the answer isn't "Windows" or "Office". This is true for messaging and communication (they mostly nailed the corporate experience, but not the consumer experience), media (between Media Center, Pocket PC, Windows Mobile, Windows Media Player, Zune, PlaysForSure, Portable Media Center, WMA), and (at least until now) mobile (Pocket PC Phone, Smartphone, Windows Mobile, ActiveSync, Exchange ActiveSync), as well a bunch of others (anyone remember Microsoft Reader? They had the ebook market before it was born!). The only real consumer exception is Xbox and Xbox Live, and that's been (mostly) a dedicated vertical, which the Xbox team deserves huge kudos for, given MS's culture in other products.

For a long time, it didn't matter -- MS was far ahead of the competition. The big problem is that, recently, other vendors have been assembling those platforms, and suddenly Microsoft's non-platform accomplishments are that much more glaring. Let's hope WP7 is different, but even there, they've missed the tablet mobile computing market (instead choosing to lump it with PCs, which hasn't taken off yet).

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