I don't get where Microsoft is going with the Zune. It's clearly worse then the iPod. It clearly sells a lot less. It's not going to catch up anytime soon unless Apple abandons the iPod line completely in favor of the iPhone, and it would only do that if and when flash media players become a niche market. So why is Microsoft keeping on keeping on?
Certainly, I'd guess there's an element of stubbornness, Ballmer and crew don't want to lose any battle to Jobs and crew. But overall it just seems like another bad strategy. Once again, Microsoft, which is a huge money-making machine in certain fields, is distracting itself with a fight it can't win -- much like it's doing in battling Google in search and advertising online.
And if they must insist on battling their rivals (Google and Apple) in every market, why not go for the real golden goose -- the iPhone? Microsoft keeps indicating that it has no intention of making a piece of hardware for a phone, but it really should consider it. (And I'd be willing to bet it's prototyping ideas despite denials.)
If it thinks it can win the next (and really already here) huge battleground, mobile, it's going to need something a hell of a lot better than Windows Mobile. I've spent the past several months at a lot of mobile conferences, the consensus on Windows Mobile ranges from "complete crap" to "mostly complete crap." And most of the people with those opinions are mobile developers.
That is not a good sign.
It's true though. While the company will never admit it, if Windows Mobile doesn't improve in a hurry, it's going to be completely obliterated in the mobile sphere by the iPhone and Android, and maybe, if they can pull their act together, Blackberry.
Compared to just the current generations of those devices, Windows Mobile looks like it should be running on my old TI-83 graphing calculator. Image matters, functionality matter, developers matter. Microsoft doesn't have the first two, and it's in danger of losing the third group in a major way.
Microsoft should scrap Windows Mobile and build a single (like the iPhone) mobile computing device with a completely new mobile OS. Sure, it's easy for me to say that, but if it wants to fight a meaningful battle against its rivals, that is the fight. Not the goddamn Zune.
It has the clout and the money to make something happen, even if it is starting from scratch on a new project. It's succeeding the with Xbox gaming console.
They're not saying "Zune," they're saying "Boo...."