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Zunelicious is a blog that covers Microsoft's new Zune MP3 player, and all the news that goes along with it.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Interview with Bill Wittress

Hey everyone, I have a special treat for you guys today. That's right, we scored an interview with the amazing Bill Wittress of the Zune team. Enjoy the interview!

1.) What is it like working on the Zune initiative?

BW: I love working on Zune. It is incredibly entrepreneurial. You literally have 10 different things going on at any given time. On any given day you may meet with senior management, have an interview with an analyst, crunch numbers for finance and meet with a partner for dinner. The next day it will be completely different.

2.) How did you end up at your current job?

BW: I've been back at Microsoft for over 4 years. In that time, I worked on IPTV (you can search the web for some of my whitepapers that are still in circulation). I started PMC. I owned BizDev for PlaysForSure and I was eventually asked to come work on accessories for Zune. It has been quite a wild ride.

3.) What is it exactly that you do...I understand that you work with 3rd parties to coordinate Zune accessories...but what exactly does this entail?

BW: I own the third party accessories program. That means literally setting up the fundamentals of the program (who is in the program, what devices we select, and how the program is structured, etc.) I also look at the future partners and products and decide who are the up-and-comers, what are the technologies we may want to acquire, and what's going to be the next hot product.

4.) If you could have only one accessory to go with your Zune what would it be?

BW: For me personally, it would be my Schure 5Cs. I'm not an audiophile, but those are great headphones. There is a set of new headphones that are much less expensive coming out for launch that are really good as is the VAF speakerdock.

5.) In your opinion, how will the Zune stack up with the iPod accessory-wise when it comes out?

BW: We worked really hard to make sure there are lots of accessories available at launch. I think at last count there are going to be about 35 SKUs at launch with many more to follow. It's obviously not as many as iPod, but we think we picked the right partners to cover both depth of product as well as quality. I don't think anyone is going to look at our offering and think that they are missing any key accessories.

6.) How do you think the Zune will be represented in retail (space allocated to it) vs. the iPod?

BW: This is one of our strengths. As Cesar posted last week, we've got a great line-up of retailers ready to assort the product. The magnitude of the number of stores is what really impresses me. It is on the order of the Xbox launch. Also, we've got a lot of alternative retail outlets that will be selling Zune. So, if you want to buy Zune at Wal-Mart or at your local skate shop, you'll be able to do it.

7.) J Allard...Love him? Hate him? Did he make all of you guys read Snowcrash yet?

BW: Are you kidding me? J is one of the main reasons I decided to come over and work on the project. J is a great leader and a great guy to hang out with. I'd walk over broken glass for the guy! And, no I haven't read Snowcrash.

8.) What is the integration with Xbox 360 like? What about Live and the Live anywhere initiative? Any fun stuff happening there?

BW: As most people who read my blog know, I'm a pretty big fan of the 360. We've been working on integrating devices with the 360 since the launch last year. We support PlaysFromDevice with the 360 today. In addition, many of the elements from the 360 appear in Zune. For example, the concept of GamerTags is reflected in the MediaTags in Zune. While not exactly the same, they provide a commonality between the platforms. As I like to say, they are part of the same family - maybe not brother and sister, but close cousins.

I would like to thank Bill for taking the time to do this interview with us. Bill, you rock!!! Good luck with the launch,


posted by zunelicious, 10:28 PM


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commented by Blogger Omar Cruz, 10:24 AM  
Next up in the Zune Crew Interviews we have Bill Wittress the sportsbook ZuneGuy who labels himself the "Zune BizDev guy" and states "I’ve worked in this space for 8 years. I’ve worked on PMC and PlaysForSure before coming to work for Zune. This really is my dream job". His current work seems primarily focused on developing the bet nfl "Designed for Zune" accessories program. He is actively pursuing manufacturers interested in joining the program and has opened up discussion on what type of accessories we would like to see for Zune. We look forward to seeing some of the most requested Zune accessories developed soon. sportsbook Bill just finished up a trip to Disney with the family so as expected his Zune blog was kinda light on the posting but he maintains a loyal following in his comments. You can find out more about Who is BillWitt? in his post here. http://www.enterbet.com Let’s get on to the questions right? This is a zunemaxoriginal document.
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commented by Blogger qingchengzhilian, 9:42 PM  
Okay,sportsbook so while most of you have heard about the Zune and know that it's Microsoft's stab at an iPod-killer, there are a lot of things that until recently I didn't know about the device myself.
Here's all the specs that we know of so far
WMA, MP3, AAC, JPEG,WMV, MPEG-4, H.264 media playback
Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) connectivity
30 GB Hard Drive
3 inch video LCD 320x240
White, Black, and Brown Colors
FM Radio
TV output connectivity 640x480
Dedicated song download site (Zune Marketplace)march madness
DJ Mode (broadcast what you are listening to)
Podcast playback
Updateable Firmware
12 hr battery life for audio, 3.5 hr video
3 day playback of Wi-Fi transfered songs from friends
XBOX streaming
XBOX (Microsoft) points compatability
Preloaded music videos
Over a dozen accessories at launch
5.6 ounces in weight, 4.4 x 2.4 x 0.58 inches size
Metric: 158 g, 112 x 61 x 14.7 mm size
Custom background images
WiFi transfer of photographs
Tag based storage system (Will not appear as drive)
PC Compatability (no Mac client at launch)
Zune tag enabled
Horizontal and vertical video orientation
If your wondering a little more about how this whole thing got started, here's a Little History
The Zune initially started out as a strategy project over at microsoft, under several code names. They pulled in 12 topic experts in the beginning from around the company to map out their product strategy.www.canadacasino.com
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