Microsoft's Last Ditch Effort to Save Zune

The Microsoft Zune has sold less than 2 million units while Apple has sold 150 million iPods. To breathe some new life into the Zune, Microsoft is planning to roll Windows Mobile 7 and Vista into the mix to create a platform, but the plan has major flaws, according to Daniel Dilger at Roughly Drafted on Tuesday.

In a sweeping essay, Mr. Dilger looked at the history and business models of iTunes, iPod and iPhone and contratsted them to Microsoftis attempts to capture a similar market. He recounted the snafus, missteps and conceits of the failed Zune and Microsoftis current plans to resuscitate the Zune, Windows Mobile 7 and the faltering music business.

In addition to the missteps Microsoft has made, and the important fact that hardly anyone makes big money selling music, an additional issue is that time is not on Microsoftis side. It will take years, in the authoris opinion, to sort out the issues, and Microsoft doesnit have years now that the iPhone has launched.

Historically, Microsoft has used the technique of using a strong product to build support for an emerging, weaker product. However, thatis going to be hard with this suite.

"So Microsoft is again working to stitch together its various properties to support each other, but now most all of its recent products are in flames and desperately need reinforcement," Mr. Dilger explained. "Thereis only so much one failure can do to support another.

"Even worse, Microsoftis historic strengths are no longer working. The Windows monopoly was supposed to brace up Windows Media Players, Windows Media Center, Windows Mobile, Windows Live Search, Windows Live Soapbox, and a series of other cobranded products that havenit gone anywhere."

In typical fashion, Mr. Dilger has put together the names, the players and the numbers to support his thesis. The conclusion was that Microsoft doesnit have the products, strategies and time to pull this off.

"Appleis mobile WiFi platform is actually far larger and growing much faster than market statistics companies report under their smartphone category," Mr. Dilger concluded. "Anyone hoping that Windows Mobile 7 to going to reverse that trend when it arrives over a year from now is seriously delusional."