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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.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Looking to the Zune Initiative's Future...

The next battleground for the dominant Digital Audio Player will be fought by Microsoft and Apple, but it won't be fought with the Zune 1.0 and the 5.5G iPod. Instead it will be fought by the long rumored iPhone and the recently rumored Zune Phone. The current DAP market has become incredibly saturated, and the iPod is the undisputed king. It is obvious that the next step is integration with Cellular Phones.

Microsoft has taken a stand against Apple with the Zune, but instead of planning to win, they are using the Zune as a test much like how they used the original Xbox to get their feet wet before the Xbox 360 came out. Remember, it is J Allard after all, and he likes to win...so planning on being number two to Apple is not his style. There's something brewing.

In a recent survey it was found that 75 % of teens wanted their DAP integrated with their Cellular Phones, and were also willing to pay good money for this device.

The market for such a device is extremely large, as many await a truly consumer-friendly Cellphone/Media Player. Unfortunately the current generation of these devices leaves much to be desired. Many offerings by cellphone providers charge $1.99 per a song, and then do not allow customers to transfer to songs to their computer or burn them to a CD, as well as having a reputation for being difficult to use.

This is where Apple and Microsoft both come in. Apple has one of the strongest brands around with the iPod. If Apple were to release a phone it would undoubtedly have main stream appeal and be adopted by the masses. However, Microsoft does not have this mainstream appeal, leaving consumers distrustful of any foray into the cellphone market. This is one of the main reasons Microsoft is launching the Zune now, as an attempt to build up the brand and eventually have a loyal fan base, as well as get their feet wet when it comes to producing consumer electronics.

If we look at how the current Zune is being promoted and its Social Aspect, we can see that many of these features would transfer over to a phone very well. The cell phone would be an extension of the Zune, creating a truly connected device, that would sync with your connected entertainment experience. Microsoft already has the advantage in having a mobile platform that has been adopted in many Smart phones. Combining what they have learned from their foray into Windows Mobile with their experiences with the Zune and Xbox, Microsoft might have a product capable of winning over the masses.

It is because of this that Apple must be careful, they have already won the current Digital Audio Player market, but their future success is not guaranteed. Especially if Microsoft intends to attack them in the cellular phone arena. If Microsoft is capable of beating the iPhone to the market with a Zune phone, and granted that Microsoft is capable of putting together a solid device, I think Microsoft's chances of success are fairly high.

This is all hypothetical of course...but it is also based on common sense. Apple will eventually unleash an iPhone on the world...everyone knows this...everyone is waiting for it. Microsoft doesn't play to loose, while they loose money on the Xbox 360, they plan to make it back. They wouldn't take a loss on the Zune without a strategy to make it back eventually. So this leaves us with the question, How will they make money. They know they can't beat the iPod in the current market, so they obviously are looking to they next innovation that will change the industry and the Cell/DAP is the answer.


posted by zunelicious, 8:03 PM


Some thoughtful post. Interesting I must say.
commented by Blogger Wired Zune, 9:01 AM  
Phones make poor DAP. Also the survey asked if they wanted a phone that was an iPod, not a generic "DAP"
commented by Blogger THEM, 11:57 AM  
Connectivity is the major concern of the device. It is said that it will be able to sync with the Xbox 360 and stream video from the system to the phone via a wireless data connection. This would be pivotal in Microsoft’s proliferation of its media ambitions. Not only does it already have millions of 360s in homes capable of downloading movies, it’d be able to distribute those videos directly to its phones. Cool stuff.A phone? So Zune? Microsoft's pledged to shoehorn a mobile into its player before long ...
commented by Blogger Azazelo, 9:52 AM  

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