Steve Balmer: Don't expect a Zune phone


Microsoft’s Steve Balmer doesn’t know if the Zune is coming or going. The portable media player hasn’t knocked the iPod off its perch in its two-year run, and now Balmer recognizes that it may never.

Microsoft thinks that the market for stand-along media players—iPods, Zunes and the like—isn’t likely to see much growth going forward. That is, as most of us move onto smartphones that have multimedia functionality built-in—again, like the iPhone—we won’t be spending as much money on stand-alone players. Why would we, especially since we’re one more bank failure away from a barter economy?

The logical thing, then, would be to make a Zune phone. Only Microsoft won’t. That is, we shouldn’t “anticipate” a Zune phone. Instead, Microsoft sees software as its best bet into making a buck off the music business.

Perhaps Microsoft should have told some of its MacBU guys to create a proper Zune software solution for us Mac users. That would have gone a long way to convince to try it out, rather than thinking, “Bah, they use Macs they’ll never use a Zune.” Nice defeatist thinking.

Photo: Flickr