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Cliczune Archives: April 2009


Microsoft Bleeds Some Cash

Arrow Among the "Big Three" of technology- namely Apple, Google and Microsoft- the news is not good for the folks out at Redmond.  Somehow Apple, despite sagging computer sales and a flat iPod market, managed to make some cash at their uber popular iPhone apps store.  With the many things that Google is into, it is not hard to figure out how they were up by almost 8.9%.

However, for the first time in 23 years, what was once the supersized growth stock of Microsoft managed a really bad quarter.  We're talking a 32% profit plunge!!!  Although it is not shocking, given that many folks are still using Windows XP, very few (more like nobody) is upgrading to Windows Vista, and they only make $15 on each Win XP netbook that sells.  On top of that, Microsoft Office's marketshare has been eroded with online offerings like Google Docs and freeware like OpenOffice.

Can Windows 7 reverse this trend?  Probably but it is still months away, and may not even come out in 2009.  Needless to say, with these types of numbers, I can see why the Zune is not the numero uno priority at Microsoft these days.

Zune software for mobile phones almost ready?

6a00d8341c505253ef01156f04f6d5970c-800wi We have seen reports in the past in regards to how Microsoft was preparing to launch Zune software on mobile phones, but until now a release date or even a time frame was a total mystery.  The latest, which is coming from an AdWeek report, claims that Microsoft has been in talks with three advertising agencies in regards to launching an advertising campaign for the software which has been previously mentioned by its codename of "pink."

Unfortunately, we do not have an exact date of release, but what we have learned is that Microsoft is expected to pick a winner "by the end of May" and that the software should be available on phones "by the middle of the summer."

As of now, only time will tell just how accurate this time line actually is, but for now it will give us Zune fans something to look forward to. Overall this sounds pretty interesting and would certainly be a nice addition to an existing Zune player and Zune Pass.

[AdWeek via CNET]

Microsoft welcomes the arrival of spring with new Zune Originals designs

Zune-originals

It seems the Zune related news and rumors have been increasing in frequency lately, and while the rumors are nice it is refreshing to have an actual (albeit small) announcement.  Microsoft has recently added a new "nature inspired collection" of artwork over at Zune Originals. The new artwork is dubbed the Spring Collection and features designs from APAK, Carolina Melis and Linn Olofsdotter. All-in-all the Spring Collection includes six new designs to choose from.

[Zune.net]

New ZuneHD photo surfaces

Zunehd

New ZuneHD photos! basing on reports, ZuneHD will come in 16gb and 32gb models, and would support 3D XBox games (presumably powered by nVidia's Tegra chip)

"The ZuneHD will have a capacitive, multi-touch OLED screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio and TV out, from what looks to be a HDMI port on the side. The radio will now be HD and the device will support HD media playback, which will be available from the updated Zune Marketplace."

[via WMPowerUser.com] [ZunePH]

ZuneHD?

Zunehd_engadget_main_1

The Zune team has been planning on getting back into the game for a while now, and the this was only hastened after they lost market share in the holiday sales numbers.  While they created a great hard drive player, Apple became a moving target, and moved on to a multitouch screen in a wifi connected, flash based device.  Clearly the bar had been raised when the iPod Touch came to market.

Apparently, based on the pic above from the Engadget site, the new Zune will be dubbed the ZuneHD.  Look for it to feature the solitary "home button" that is prominent on an iPod Touch, and for it to debut in September.  That screen will be great when it debuts!

Confirmed: New Zune hardware coming in 2009

Zunelogo_2 In what seems like some good news in regards to the Zune, Microsoft, (well actually Zune Team member Brian Seitz) has confirmed that we will be seeing new Zune hardware in 2009.

In a short but sweet posting on Twitter, Brian left a vague comment;

"new zune hardware this year."

Unfortunately, this little message was all there was, no additional details were given. To me, this comes as some exciting news, but it just leaves me wondering what we can expect to see. Any ideas or wishes?

[@brianseitz via Twitter]

Zune Looking To Expand Into the Living Room, and Beyond

Living-room-with-television
There's been talk in the Microsoft camp at moving the Zune from beyond being "just" a handheld player.  There's a rumored redesign in the works, with plans to revise the Zune experience from top to bottom.  From two recent ads, we can glean a hint of where the Zune is going.

Here's the first one:

Help shape the future of entertainment in the living room. The Zune team is looking for a qualified software development engineer to help deliver great digital entertainment features into the living room, including on demand music and video.

Primary responsibilities include development of innovative user interfaces for delivering a rich, deep interactive media consumption experience in a living room environment. Experience with online services API development is a must, product will provide a rich online media experience delivering music and video from the cloud. A passion for UX and digital media is a must.

Qualifications include a minimum of 3+ years of software development experience in C++ and/or C#. Online services experience. A BS/MS degree or equivalent in Computer Science or related technical disciplines is preferred. The applicant should have strong debugging and object-oriented design skills, demonstrated work experience in the full ship cycle of commercial software products, and the ability to effectively communicate in written form.


Clearly this is intended to bring content into the living room.  I think the key phrases are "from the cloud," and streamed media.

Then, to add to the mystery, there is another position posted.  This time they are looking for someone to expand the marketplace to the international.

If so then you may be ready to join our cutting edge team in the Zune Marketplace. We’re rapidly expanding in the areas of video, international and recommendation systems. Do you like working without artificial barriers? We work in an open office environment where asking questions is as easy as standing up.


Looks like the Zune team is expanding not only to the living room, but beyond the currrent market of the US and Canada.  Let's hope these directions expand the Zune's marketshare as well.