15 February 2009

How to Save the Zune (by Conceding Defeat to the iPod)

The truth is that the Zune is not the success Microsoft hoped for. Even now there are rumors that Microsoft will look to shut down the Zune as the company tries to cut costs.

Instead of trying to beat Apple using Apple's trategy, Microsoft could beat Apply by conceding defeat. Instead of trying to build an eco system of proprietary adaptors and peripherals, Microsoft should make the Zune compatible with the ecosystem that Apple has already created. The Zune should be able to plug in and use every iPod enabled product already available.

Even if they have to pay a licensing fee to Apple, Microsoft needs to adopt Apple's adapter standard. This will lower the cost of switching and consumers will be more willing to 'try' the Zune. Microsoft's greatest strength is embracing the existing ecosystem. This is how Microsoft won the first round of the OS wars.

Microsoft's strenth is compatibility, while Apple's strength is usability. Microsoft should bat to their strengths instead of trying to emulate the competition. As I see it, this is the only way that they can win the music player wars.