As the resident Microsoft expert/fangirl, I needed to weigh in on the recent news from our friends up in Washington. They haven’t announced anything official yet, but the latest rumor is they have discontinued production on the Zune hardware. I can’t say that I didn’t completely see this coming, but this is just another case of stick to what you know. What Microsoft knows, and knows well, is software. Each venture into hardware has gone down in some serious flames (please don’t make me mention the word Kin, I’m still trying to block that memory), unless it has anything to do with Xbox (I’m looking at you Kinect, thank you for being awesome).
As the owner of the Zune HD, I really do like the device. What I like about it has nothing to do with the actual hardware though. I think the operating system on the Zune HD has a great interface. Windows Phone 7 has a very similar look and feel, which is why I also really like those devices. Microsoft has partnered with hardware manufacturers like HTC and Nokia to produce Windows Phone 7 devices though, and is staying away from the actual hardware production. This is smart Microsoft, stick to what you are good at, and get partners to make the hardware.
Again, I am not super surprised by this news though. Single function mp3 players are dying fast. Nobody wants to carry more devices than necessary, and most phones have about the same amount of space as the basic mp3 players, but can do so many more things. Fortunately, the Zune software is going to live on, as the PC connection to the Windows Phone 7 devices. The Zune software is amazing. Subscription service is where the future is, and Zune has got it. In order to have true new music discovery, in the age where radio is practically obsolete, you need to be able to stream songs you may not be familiar with, and the whole song, not just 30 seconds.
So while the Zune Hardware may be dead, it’s not a complete defeat… how many iPod classics are you selling Apple? That’s what I thought.
I AM able to poke fun at Zune’s dismal market share though…