Thursday, October 2, 2008
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Talk" @ 02:28 PM
"CIO: Why has Microsoft developed Zune?
Ballmer: At the end of the day, one of the big trends is that all content is going digital. And if we don't have the software and services that are useful, helpful and valuable for the consumption of music and video, we are sort of not really a player. Now, we built the Zune hardware with the Zune software - and what you'll see more and more over time is that the Zune software will also be ported to and be more important not just with the hardware but on the PC, on Windows Mobile devices, etc."
What can I say other than IT'S ABOUT FREAKING TIME. I feel like I've told this story 1000 times by now, but here it is again: about four years ago I was at a Mobius or MVP event (I can't remember which) and a Microsoft person came up to me and asked me if I thought they should scrap Windows Media Player Mobile on the device and instead implement the Portable Media Center interface as the way end users would access their photos, videos, and music. I said "Yes, absolutely" before he was even finished talking. The first generation PMC hardware might have been pretty suck-tacular, but the UI was easy to use. The Zune is an evolution of that UI, and while the Zune still needs improvement on a number of levels, the Zune UI is very easy to use - easier to use an an iPod in my opinion. If Microsoft really cared about the consumer market, they would have implemented that media UI years ago and we'd be having a different discussion today. They didn't because they're focused on the enterprise market first and foremost, but that's slowly (oh so slowly) changing.
Putting the Zune software onto Windows Mobile gives Microsoft a bunch of advantages: first, it lets them stop developing Windows Media Player Mobile, a piece of software that has sadly languished for years, hardly getting any updates or improvements. Secondly, it gives end users a great UI for media consumption, and assuming they go all the way with this, it gives users a media management solution (the Zune desktop software) that enables them to easily manage music and podcasts, and somewhat more easily manage photos and videos.
I see this as a win-win all around if implemented properly. I can't see a single down-side to this - what do you think about it?