Microsoft may still own the market share when it comes to business applications, such as Microsoft Office or Microsoft Project. It may also have a significant lead in operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows or Vista. However, the company lags in the entertainment field. That’s why it developed Zune, their signature MP3 player. The company lags in this area primarily because of the success of Apple’s iPod. Microsoft is obviously aiming to change this fact.
For years, Microsoft has tried to be competitive in the music business, using tactics such as partnering with companies to provide music to users. However, Microsoft terminated this strategy two years ago and decided to go it alone, by developing the Zune and creating its own entertainment services, such as the Zune Marketplace.
To get an idea of what Microsoft’sfuture plansinvolve, an interview was recently conducted with the head of the Microsoft Zune division, Joe Belfiore. Belfiore was brought on to unify the separate entertainment projects that surround the Zune.
Although Belfiore is primarily focused on enhancing its unique devices first, the company is putting strategies together that will allow users to access the same content anywhere on any device. The Zune will play a central role in this arena.
According to Belfiore, Microsoft is not that far away from attaining this goal. Belfiore mentioned that “The video store that is in Zune today is the same…back-end as the video store in Xbox today. While it is true you can’t buy a video on an Xbox today and put it on your Zune. We’re not really that far off technologically from being able to offer that feature.”
There are some obstacles Microsoft faces, such as licensing rights.Another minor issue involves different people using multiple devices, like an Xbox, Zune, or a Mediaroom IPTV box. According to Belfiore, “As more and more people have more than one of those devices, then the cross-device scenarios become more important, and undoubtedly it is something you will see us do at some point in the not-too-distant future.”
Belfiore believes that consumers should seriously look at the Zune as an alternative to the iPod. It has attractive features that people won’t be able to resist. For one, you can listen to whole songs. The iPod, on the other hand, offers a recommendations feature. Microsoft not only recommends music you should buy, but allows you to share what you're listening to with your friends.
In order to appreciate the power of the Zune, you’ll want to read about its software and the different players that are out on the market. Don’t be surprised if you decide to go out and buy one.
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