Jobs and the Zune
Think the Zune was a flop? Well, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) doesn't seem to be giving up on it. A recent blog entry -- trying to solicit insider leakers, of all things -- linked to the Microsoft job bank, where there are some three dozen positions open on the Zune team.
One thing that seems to be missing: ombudsman. As I've written several times, the Zune is a good device. (This despite my own experience with out-of-the-box, busted headphones and the now-infamous skipping problem -- which has yet to be fixed.)
But Zune has more important failings and only a slim feature advantage over Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) current iPods, like a richer UI and larger screen. These will be gone the minute the iPhone hits the market, and especially if, as I expect, the next generation iPods are iPhones minus the gabbing bits.
A ruthless ombudsman might have been able to shake Mr. Softy out of some of its dumber mistakes with the Zune, like the now-ridiculous-looking file-sharing scheme that, in my experience, can't share squat. Oh, and how is it that SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK) beat Microsoft to market with a real model of what wifi in a player can be used for: buying songs when in range of a wifi network? Probably because Mr. Softy had a hundred layers of bureaucracy in place and never got it done. Only recently have we begun to hear rumors of upcoming Zune "filling stations."
A hard-nosed consumer advocate might also have slapped the Zune engineers upside the head to get the Zune device and software to support a wider variety of video types -- say, the avi video files produced by every consumer camera out there -- rather than forcing users to convert everything to Windows Media format.
How about it, Mr. Softy? Got the guts to work with some real people on the Zune as you did with Vista? Give me a jingle. I know a 2-Zune family that would like to have a word with you.
Comments? Bring them here.
At the time of publication, Seth Jayson was long Microsoft common and calls but had no position in any company mentioned here. See his latest blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Fool rules are here.