Feeds

Time to axe Microsoft's Zune

Less really is more

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.