Why Microsoft’s Zune HD strategy is too little too late

Wed, Sep 16, 2009

Analysis, News

In a recent interview, Zune marketing manager Brian Seitz discussed the Zune HD strategy and whether or not it was concerned with the new camera equipped iPod Nano’s.

Q: Are you concerned about competing with new iPods with cameras built in?

A: The more things like that that make their way into these devices that aren’t about great music and video playback, the more it’s distracting or sacrificing that original purpose of the device. Apps are jamming in, cameras — that’s work that’s not being done on the music front.

With this release, you can see we’re still really focused on music and video. We’re still hyper-focused on that. Maybe that’s the benefit of being the little guy. We can have that laser-focus.

Maybe some of those people … did buy an iPod because it’s all about music, and now it’s not. Maybe we can get some of those folks.

First, I don’t see how cameras are distracting from the original purpose of the device, and second, Apple has already cornered the MP3 player market so it’s only natural that they branch out their product line into new directions such as adding a camera and an FM tuner.

Again, the battle for singular music and video playback devices is already over, with Apple having won that war years ago.  iPods currently saturate the market, and it’s damn near close to becoming the Kleenex or Xerox equivalent of MP3 players.  Microsoft may be focusing on music and video, but its focusing on the past, and that’s a strategy that never breeds any sort of success.  Seitz writes that the iPod is no longer all about music, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if Apple can make the iPod about music and more.  It’s like arguing that the PS3 is no longer solely about gaming because you can play Blu-Ray discs on it – a feature which is actually a welcome addition and a key selling point for consumers.

As products evolve, they naturally become more sophisticated and acquire new features.  Take a look at cellphones.  When they first hit the scene, they were purely devices used to make calls.  Then came texts, then came music, then came email, then came web browsing etc.  Microsoft’s Zune strategy is the equivalent of a company coming along and releasing a phone that only makes voice calls and sends text messages.  They might call it a device that’s really focused on call quality and texting, but in reality, its a product stepping onto the court after the game’s already over.


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. James Katt Says:

    The Zune HD is weird.

    It DOES NOT have an external speaker. This seriously limits its usefulness for games and VOIP phone use. One is forced to always use headsets with the Zune.

    Its screen can’t be seen when outdoors in the sun. This rules it out for active use.

    This and other weirdness makes the Zune a no go for most users.

  2. health insurance quote Says:

    The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

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