No Zune Phone? Who Cares?

From iPod Observer: “A Zune Phone is unlikely, according to Michael Gartenberg with Jupiter Research. In his blog, he explained that the business model for Windows Mobile is totally different than for Zune. Even so, Microsoft may still be mulling over the idea as a way to better compete with Apple.”

The most interesting thing to me about this article is not that Microsoft probably won’t make a Zune phone, but that there’s a perceived need for Microsoft to “compete” with Apple. Last time I checked, Windows holds a 90+% market share. With all the growth that Apple has enjoyed over the post-iPod era, it still hasn’t reached 9% market share. It’s far lower when one factors in worldwide sales since the Apple OS really hasn’t made any significant dent overseas.

Microsoft needs to stop worrying about Apple and start worrying about its own dominant product, Windows. Apple is the cute upstart that will not substantially threaten Microsoft’s market share, so long as Microsoft does not continue to try to be like Apple. Forget about making a phone, grow your core competencies. Geez.

In fact, not only do I not think a Zune phone is necessary, I don’t really see the point of the Zune itself. With all apologies to the 5 or 6 people in the whole world who owns one of these devices, Microsoft entering the portable music space smacks of pure jealousy, nothing else. Seriously, what’s the point?

The danger is that Microsoft will get so distracted in trying to compete with a “perceived” competitor in Apple by trying to make portable music devices, phones, a Zune music store, etc. that their OS will continue to get hammered with consumer complaints. At some point if you can follow that trend, Microsoft will eventually lose significant market share to Apple. That would ultimately not be a good thing for anyone except for those Apple fanboys who track market share like they follow a pennant race.

I’m an example. I’ve been using Windows since the early 90’s, however my frustration with Vista made me go to the dark side, Apple. If Microsoft simply improved my experience from XP as opposed to making it worse with Vista, I’d still be a Windows user today. Maybe Apple’s improvement and its Intel chips might have also had something to do with my switch, but I’m a creature of habit. Apple could have been improved to the point of being God-like and I probably still would not have switched if Windows just worked.

If I were in charge, I would stop being reactionary to everything Apple does and start being the innovator myself. Come up with something new for Windows, for Office, for its own cloud space computing environment. That’s only a difficult task for those of us who lack the imagination to go forward. I doubt Microsoft suffers from a lack of imaginative minds. So, stop trying to be like Apple and return to simply competing with yourself, since you are the dominant one.

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