Don’t expect a Zune phone, but look forward to Zune Mobile

Sun, Dec 14, 2008

Analysis, Featured, News

Microsoft has officially denied rumors suggesting that it was set to unveil a Zune phone at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. Instead, Microsoft is set to unveil a new service called “Zune Mobile” that will comprise a series of music related mobile services that will be available to customers with Windows Mobile cellphones. That’s all well and good, but a recent quote from a Zune senior product manager to ArsTechnica on the topic caught my eye.

Still, Zune senior product manager Terry Farrell told Ars Technica that focus groups have reacted negatively to the idea of being able to buy music from their devices because they think it would be too complex. But Microsoft is clearly poised to move into the space…

That quote encapsulates the danger sometimes associated with relying too heavily on focus groups. If users react negatively to the idea of buying music from their devices because they think it’d be too difficult, that shouldn’t be a reason not to do it, but rather an impetus to craft software that smashes through and challenges those entrenched opinions. Prove those focus group users wrong. Don’t acquiesce to their pre-conceived notions.

That isn’t a swipe at Microsoft specifically, but rather some good advice for all tech companies who far too often are afraid to push the envelope and rely to heavily on focus groups to determine their product and feature roadmaps.

ZDNet has more info on Zune Mobile over here.


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