Steve Jobs in January: “What’s going to happen is that Microsoft is going to have to get into the hardware business of making MP3 players. This year.”
Microsoft today: “We confirmed a new music and entertainment project called Zune. Under the Zune brand, we will deliver a family of hardware and software products, the first of which will be available this year. We see a great opportunity to bring together technology and community to allow consumers to explore and discover music together.”
Think Apple might be a little ready for this?
Microsoft confirmed a few of the rumors today and said that, yes, it is going to have a device with the Zune brand on store shelves by the holidays.
Microsoft chose Billboard magazine as the place to officially confirm Zune, an unusual step that may signal where the company is headed with its marketing and approach to the product launch.
Some initial reaction to the announcement:
Jupiter analyst Michael Gartenberg: “Bottom line, when Microsoft decides to enter a market, you can’t ignore the impact they will make. It’s likely that by force of will and spending lots of money on marketing with a high cost of acquisition on new users, they will can capture some market share.”
Microsoft Watch: “The biggest challenge for Microsoft, at least in the short term, will be to make sure the Zune reality measures up to the hype, so the company doesn’t repeat its overpromising/underdelivering strategy, as it did with the ‘Origami’ Ultra-Mobile PCs.”
Microsoft Monitor: “The time has come when Microsoft is willing to compete, and sometimes fiercely so, with its partners.”
TechCrunch: “It will be interesting to see if the company can take a position of real innovation or whether Zune will just be a case of playing catch up — at the risk of feature overload.”