Microsoft, after the recent round of layoffs, is in the regrouping stage. Recently Ballmer went through his roadmap of where the folks in Redmond are heading. While much attention got devoted to where Windows 7 will take them, and to a much lesser extent, Windows Mobile 6.5, at least the Zune got a mention. Here's what was discussed:
Of course, similar things were once said about portable music players,
and yet we have the Zune. That's apparently different, because it's
part of a tool for a larger entertainment strategy. Ballmer promised
that the Zune entertainment services would be coming to all three
screens: the PC, the TV, and portable devices. The Xbox is simply
another cog in this strategy, as Microsoft is looking to develop a
"dollars per TV" revenue strategy—"the real opportunity is a device
that sits next to or in a TV set," said Ballmer. The precise device
involved is apparently far less relevant than the fact that Microsoft
is on the end of the revenue stream. It's an interesting take, and one
that the company may now have the pieces in place to attempt, but,
without some well-enunciated roadmap to get there from here, it has a
bit of the feel of a post-hoc rationalization.
I thought that the Zune already had a dock to sit next to the TV? Something tells me that is not what he is talking about. It's not much of a leap to think that they want to have some product to compete with AppleTV, but I'm not sure if ZuneTV is coming soon or not. Notably absent was discussion of a ZunePhone. While I think they have the right idea in broad terms- to have seamless integration of their marketplace across PC, TV and portable screens, we'll have to wait and see how the implementation is done. Will the WiFi built into the Zune ever get used to its potential?