The Zune HD will hit stores next Tuesday, but missing from the mix will be Chris Stephenson, the head of marketing for Zune products, who recently left Microsoft to take a top marketing position at Interscope Geffen A&M Records. Seeing as how the Zune hasn’t exactly taken the world by storm, it’s not like Stephenson can leave Microsoft with a feeling of “”mission accomplished”, but perhaps he himself saw the writing on the wall and decided to move on to greener pastures where he won’t have to compete with the Apple iPod juggernaut.
Ars Technica writes:
Stephenson’s decision to leave now certainly looks like a no-confidence vote in the Zune’s direction, if not the specific Zune HD model. Certainly, the Zune has failed to do anything so pedestrian as “sell at retail,” despite being quite a decent player with some cool customization options like the Zune Originals program. But with Apple set to announce new iPods just days before the Microsoft launch, it looks like Cupertino will get its new products into the spotlight just before the Zune, which always seems to do a terrific job of taking on the previous generation iPod.
And so it goes – Microsoft always seems to be competing with last years iPod models, and with rumors that a new camera enabled 16GB iPod Touch is set to retail for just $199 (we’ll find out in just a few hours), Microsoft might soon be grasping at straws and scratching its head yet again. Leaked pricing info for the Zune HD has the 16GB model retailing for around $220.