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Summary:

Zun.k.ed, verb – partnering with Microsoft on an evolving platform, betting the farm (and your future on it) only to find that Zune is going to leave you out in the cold. A few months ago, when Microsoft’s integrated digital music and media plans aka Zune […]

Zun.k.ed, verb – partnering with Microsoft on an evolving platform, betting the farm (and your future on it) only to find that Zune is going to leave you out in the cold.

A few months ago, when Microsoft’s integrated digital music and media plans aka Zune came to light, we wondered about the plight of Microsoft partners who spent millions of dollars developing an ecosystem around the Microsoft Windows Media platform, only to find themselves competing with the Barons of Redmond.

The word double-crossed came to mind, though I went with a more poetic headline. It wasn’t the first time Microsoft had left some of their partners pissing in the wind. CrunchGear has a delicious little rumor that indicates that well, it might happen again.

Apparently, there are plans afoot to make a ZunePhone that would work with the Zune marketplace and rest of the Zune ecosystem. (Insert your usual judgement and betting probability filter for blogosphere rumors coming true here.)

If true, we can’t exactly fault Microsoft for taking its telephony destiny into its own hands, but one does have to think about those poor souls who are betting the farm on Windows Mobile.

(And also wonder about tossing aside all the money and effort that has been put into making that a viable platform — one which is actually getting better — though the UI still seems like something designed by a person with limited sensibility.)

Of course, there would be arguments that Windows Mobile is more for the enterprise and high-end corporate users (true to a large extent), but imagine the chagrin of the handset makers who dreamt of scale, and signed up for Windows Mobile, only to find themselves competing with ZunePhone.

Zunked again!

PS: I am not going to make any cracks about iPhone and zPhone. Oh wait, I just did.

  1. And then wait for MS to screw over their ipTV partners. It’s getting messy.

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  2. Its been the holy grail of mesh networking to do VoIP over ad hoc mesh for some time now. If they have indeed cracked it, they are onto something very big.

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  3. Friendly Stranger Thursday, February 1, 2007

    Muhahahahahahaaaaa…

    Will they ever learn not to make deals with the devil!

    PLAYEDforSure

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  4. What I find interesting is the ongoing mocking of Microsoft we still see and the adoration of Apple. This, despite Apple using so many of the same tactics, including closed systems.

    What were Jobs’ comments again regarding the iPhone? Something about not wanting some rogue application installed on an iPhone to bring the Cingular network down? Whatever it was exactly, he shows an arrogance and lack of belief in other firms’ capabilities that routinely get Ballmer/Microsoft scorched.

    Is it just because Apple markets itself as the anti-Microsoft?

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  5. “This, despite Apple using so many of the same tactics, including closed systems.”

    That’s not the issue, or the tactic, we criticize.

    It’s creating an open platform, letting your partners develop and mature it for you, then close it for yourself with slight differences.

    Apple always starts from a close platform that has some level of support for an ecosystem that allows others to thrive through mininal competition (iPod accessories, iPod games, etc…)

    The difference is very clear.

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  6. Pardon?

    Could anybody explain to me how a ZunePhone would hurt other companies? In fact I don’t understand very well the point of this article. What do you mean with “ecosystem”? Did Microsoft promise to never build a mobile phone with music so that others can do it?

    Or is the problem that the ZunePhone does not run Windows Mobile as CrunchGear states.

    Please explain this to me! I frankly don’t understand.

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  7. You failed to produce best music player, phone and still want MS not competing with you? Want to blame MS for your failure?

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  8. I fail to see how a Zune phone will compete with WM smartphones. Probably even more than the Iphone, the Zune phone will probably very much be a dumb phone, just like the Zune is a very dumb and limited device, which cant even connect to the internet using WIFI, not to mention even downloading music or syncing via WIFI.

    Regarding playforsure, I note that all the playforsure stores still work, the Zune DRM is just an implementation of playforsure, as seen by the fact that the Zune can play playforsure DRM files, that the hole on the playsforsure DRM was patched, that the container in which the file comes should never be the focus of the store, but the actual service it provides, and that all WM pda’s and smartphones for the last 18 months can play playforsure music.

    MS has probably given their hardware and software clients a heads-up a long time ago. HTC, the main WM ODM/OEM, has canceled a music-focused Smartphone, the HTC Muse/Melody for unknown reasons, but probably related to the coming Zune phone.

    Lastly, to re-iterate, the container in which files gets delivered should have nothing to do with the reception of the players and services (except as regard to how well the syncing goes). The devices should sink or swim on their own, on their own merits.

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  9. MS bashing has jumped the shark.

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  10. “It’s creating an open platform, letting your partners develop and mature it for you, then close it for yourself with slight differences.”

    This is no different than what Apple did with their retail partners. I know. We got fucked by them. Does anyone criticize that? I agree – criticizing MS has jumped the shark.

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