Saturday, October 4, 2008

Zune on Windows Mobile - A Lot of Risks For Little Reward

We know Windows Mobile will be delayed well into 2009, possibly 2010.  With Microsoft, delays are common.

And now, we hear that Zune will be made available on Windows Mobile.  For a while, rumors and speculations have been going on for months going back to the iPhone.  On the surface, it would seem to be an obvious decision but it is not as easy a consideration as we might think.

What Microsoft is doing now in the mobile war is added another weapon to beef up WM (Windows Mobile).  However, it carries a lot of risk.

There are questions we like to know.

  • Is this a Zune Phone or is this a Windows Mobile with Zune phone?
  • Can manufacturers separate Zune functionalities from Windows Mobile?
  • Now that there is a change in thinking, suppose Amazon wants to create an app for WM for people to buy from its music store, will Microsoft allow it?
  • Will this risk killing off Zune players in general?  
Microsoft will provide us with public announcements but the market is swimming a lot of competent competitors.  Any misstep may cut into what good will Windows Mobile has generated over the years.  Like we mentioned at the top of this post, WM 7 has been delayed and, because of that, WM 7 better well be head and shoulders above WM 6 and not just comparable to Android or Apple's mobile devices twelve or eighteen months from now.

For Microsoft, the failure of such a joining can affect more than just its mobile operations.  Vista ain't doing well and Microsoft needs a win against more nimble, but not necessarily smaller competitors.

Note:  I'm personally excited to see this happen.  As a Mac and iPhone user, soon to be G1 owner, I love to see a lot of competitors in the market.  It's good for us, mobile warriors, when companies spend billions to court us.  So, yes, I am pulling for this to work out.  Good luck, Redmond.

More links:

Blog from ZDNet has unveiled "Pink", a project within Microsoft to make Zune and other, possibly entertainment, services (games...hmmm...) to Danger, those Sidekicks very popular at T-Mobile among youths.  The blog also mentioned Microsoft has yet to pursue the possibility of a Zunephone.  I just want to say, that option was explored and is currently being worked on deep within Microsoft the moment the iPhone came out.

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