Feeds

Time to axe Microsoft's Zune

Less really is more

Application security programs and practises

Comment If any Microsoft product group is a candidate for getting the chop during the next 18 months, surely - surely - it's the one leading the disastrous Zune.

Either the technology people building it, those in marketing promoting it, or the channel group responsible for working with retailers to put the thing in the hands of consumers.

In a season - the Christmas shopping period - when consumer gadgets are supposed to fly off retailers' shelves, Microsoft's Zune experienced a stunning $100m drop in revenue, a 54 per cent plunge. Even Microsoft was surprised.

But once again, Microsoft has insisted it's not going to kill the Zune and remains wedded to the pocket-sized albatross around its neck.

Microsoft's director of Zune marketing Adam Sohn has reportedly promised the "next generation" in Zune hardware and software this year. "Planning is fast and furious," he said.

Sohn blamed three things for the collapse in sales: the economy, a "shrinking" product category, and the fact that unlike last holiday season, Microsoft didn't bring out any new devices to entice shoppers. In late 2007, Microsoft had just released the 30GB Zunes.

To be fair to the Zune, the Christmas retail season was particularly tough.

Yes, the economy sagged. And Apple's iPod revenues dipped 16 per cent. But Cuperino sold three per cent more iPods than the previous year.

If this is a shrinking product category, why is Microsoft so invested and planning more Zunes? Microsoft will try to explain this in terms of planned "Zune services," no doubt.

The fact is that any problems the Zune had were unique to the Zune and were only exacerbated by this brutal holiday season. The Zune fell more than twice as much as the iPod.

If you want to understand how badly the Zune is doing, go into a high-street electronics goods retailer. If you can find a Zune, it'll invariably be hidden away at the back as an afterthought or lost in some other display.

Are retailers responding to a lack of consumer demand for the Zune or are retailers failing to drive demand by pushing the product? It can only be the former, as retailers are generally quick to spot a high-street trend they can capitalize on. If it's the latter, then Microsoft's Zune team is not applying the lessons of the early Windows and PC years, when Microsoft built a product people wanted and then worked with channel partners to keep promoting it, with money for retailers and other offers.

Sohn promised more - more tweaking and more finessing. But less is more in the case of the Zune, especially for a company that's supposed to be cutting costs, not throwing good money after bad. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.