A Challenge to the Zune Advocates

OK, I’m taking quite a bit of heat from the Zune advocates in my comments — lots of them think I’m an idiot for bagging on Microsoft. So, here’s a challenge.

I’ll give you one hour of airtime on ScobleShow.com to make the case for the Zune. You gotta come to my house in Half Moon Bay, CA to do the filming. I’ll treat it just the same as I do any other demos out there. You just bring your devices and explain to the world why these are so cool and why I need to buy one. I’ll even have Patrick bring all his iPods and iPhones so you can have those to compare with, if you’d like.

Call me if you’re interested and have access to one of the new Zunes. If you’re a Microsoft employee or a PR representative even better. I always leave my cell phone on my blog, by the way. It’s over there on the right side of my blog, but my number is 425-205-1921 (local call from Microsoft headquarters! Heh!)

Is Microsoft in Zune to win?

When I interviewed Steve Ballmer a few years back he said Microsoft is in the game to win.

But when you’re inside Microsoft the employees use different language. Many projects there are simply defensive ones. To keep a competitor from getting more inroads into one of its businesses. iPod, for instance, isn’t threatening to Microsoft directly, but they started the Zune project up when they noticed that a decent percentage of people, after buying an iPod, would switch their computers from Windows to Macs. THAT threatens Microsoft’s core business.

The problem is that whenever you do something just to defend another business you don’t do it from a position of love. Or a position of strength.

Now, look at the new Zunes and the reaction they are getting from journalists and bloggers.

I’m totally uninspired. Yawn.

Where’s the 16:9 wide screen? Where’s the super-dooper-podcasting features (and why weren’t these announced last week at the Podcasting Expo? Talk about a blown opportunity)?

Michael Gartenberg says that the features are actually pretty good but the marketing/messaging sucks. Again, this is a defensive product. It’s not a visionary one like the Tablet PC that Gates came up with on his own. The execs probably told the Zune team “stop the bleeding” or something metaphorically equivilent and the fact that they did a good job is surprising to Gates.

On the other hand, Apple HAS pissed off many of its most rabid evangelists lately. This Gizmodo post is one artifact of that. Apple’s treatment of developers and early adopters has opened up a marketing hole that Microsoft COULD take advantage of.

But only if Microsoft is in this game to win. It’s not. So we get uninspired product. Uninspired messaging. Uninspired launch dates.

Yawn. Wake me up when Macworld is here in January.