Om Malik has a blog post entitled Microsoft Partners, You Been Zunked which talks about what the recent Zune announcement means for Microsoft's partners in the digital media business. He writes
So Microsoft is going to get into the music device business - imitating the same “integrated experience”
philosophy as Apple has successfully deployed to carve itself a big
share of the portable music player and online music business.
More on that some other day, but the real and perhaps the only story
in the news is that Microsoft’s partners - from device makers to music
services - just got double crossed by the company they choose to
believe in. I like to call it Zun-ked (a tiny take off on Punked.)
Let me break this down: Zune - the devices, the platform, and the
store/service - will compete with everyone from Apple (of course) to
Creative Technologies, iRiver, Samsung, Archos, Rhapsody, Napster,
Yahoo Music and anyone dumb enough to buy into Microsoft’s visions of
Urge, Media Player, PlayForSure etc.
Microsoft could argue that Zune would be unique and those others can
still do business. But it is also a classic example of why Microsoft is
lumbering bureaucratic morass wrapped in a can of conflicts. A modern
day version of medieval fiefdoms, perhaps? Take for instance, Urge
which is built into Windows Vista, and is what I guess you could call
an almost integrated experience. What happens to consumers when faced
with the choice of Zune or Urge!!! Answer - iPod.
This thought popped into my head as well and I'm sure there are folks at Microsoft who have answers to the questions Om asked. We already have Microsoft employees like Richard Winn and Cesar Menendez blogging about Zune which means that Microsoft is definitely participating in the conversation. It'll be interesting to hear what they have to say about how Zune relates to Urge, PlaysForSure and a number of other questions that have been asked in various stories about the announcement.