With the latest axe falling on Microsoft’s entertainment division, it’s really not a wonder considering the crappy sales figures during the holidays.
Now let’s be honest. I did think the Zune product was doomed from the start, even though for the anti-DRM friends, this product was on the “cutting edge”. Well, sort of. The real reason perhaps for this was that Microsoft itself with their biggest seller in Windows has somewhat a reputation already. The name just didn’t carry the weight that it should have into the music world where it’s dominated by the youth and the hip. And in the end, the Zune just had nothing on the iPod.
Personally? I think the biggest loss area that could have made the Zune somewhat a popular device was if the Zune brought in guns like AmazonMP3 to run the store itself (I’m even surprised with the song selection and value from Amazon), and to try some different types of things with the Zune such as on-the-go podcasting or something of that nature. I think that if they had driven a niche instead of competing head-to-head with Apple, they would have had a go. Hardware is a difficult market to sell in, and Microsoft so far has never built very great hardware to begin with. So when you drop into an arena where you’re playing against the biggest digital music store with the biggest proprietary system, you probably want to compete on the same type of front instead of doing the whole generic thing (which makes you no different from the other generic players).
Now what would be interesting is if Zune itself took the product line and went into portable media capture (video and audio). That would be a niche that could very well blossom with the right equipment and third party partners and not to mention there are plenty of amateur video crazy people. Just look at the video sites in case you didn’t realize that it was actually worthwhile. Alas, we’ll see what they do with the division. My bet is that the Zune’s days are numbered.