Word out of Redmond is that Microsoft is thinking about putting out their answer to the iPhone — and it’s gonna be (wait for it) the next generation of Zune media player.
Proving once again that, with possibly the sole exception of that little pointing gizmo that gives you carpal tunnel — and mebbe the Xbox 360 — Billionaire Bill’s history of successful computer hardware can be summed up by the term "doodly squat."
Seriously, do you know ANYONE who actually owns a Zune? (Okay, in the interests of Full Disclosure, my kid has one. So does her boyfriend. And that’s it. And I think they got theirs so they could beam songs back and forth to one another — a feature which, don’t forget, comes with a limited-time self-destruct mechanism that would give Mr. Phelps wet dreams…)
But this is Microsoft’s modus operandi, starting all the way back with MS-DOS — they come late to the party, throw tons of money and resources into a crocked-together solution, and try to swamp the market
in order to dominate it. But what they never learned from the Mac — or for that matter, the iPod/iTunes experience — is that a unified-hardware-plus-software solution, although harder to put together in the first place, will ultimately be the stronger and more elegant way to go in the long run.
Still, the smartphone market is apparently Microsoft’s next world-domination target. I just don’t think a bag on the side proposition like a "ZunePhone" is the way to do it…