Back in 2006, Microsoft launched a Zune hardware, which was basically a portable media player that was supposed to compete with Apple’s iPod, which by then was a huge hit with the world. Naturally, the music industry didn’t pay much heed to Microsoft’s Zune and in the long run, it turned out to be a failure. Now, Robbie Bach, a former executive at Microsoft who was in charge of Zune, admits what a mistake Zune was and how it could have been better.
The problem with Zune was that, in order to compete with Apple and fall behind it right in line, Microsoft didn’t ship out a good enough piece of hardware. The world was happy with iPod and Zune failed to offer anything different. And that’s where its failure lies.
Thinking of the years that were spent on Zune, Bach says, “If I had hindsight, 20-20, and could do Zune over again, we would skip portable media players completely. We would go to what, at the time, was the Windows Mobile team and say we’re going to produce the coolest music service for your phones ever. The portable music market is gone and it was already leaving when we started. We just weren’t brave enough, honestly, and we ended up chasing Apple with a product that actually wasn’t a bad product, but it was still a chasing product, and there wasn’t a reason for somebody to say, oh, I have to go out and get that thing.”
Bach is also of the opinion that Microsoft’s team working on Zune, including himself, wasn’t able to market the device well enough. A user didn’t know what he will get by purchasing a Zune player. And Microsoft couldn’t tell the users how Zune is better than iPod. This, naturally, was a marketing disaster, one that came to overshadow Zune’s future.
Bach further tells that when the Xbox team decided to take the modem out of Xbox, Bill Gates considered that crazy. But eventually, he agreed to it. Also that part of the success of Xbox came from the fact that Sony managed its own share in the gaming console industry in a really, really bad manner. Microsoft, on the other hand, managed Xbox really well and thus, has taken its game console to new heights of success.
Courtesy: The Verge