In response to: The software giant’s Zune people at the event were asked whether that was any indication Microsoft might evolve its media player into a cell phone at some point.
“We’re definitely exploring the possibilities,” Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Zune, told reporters.
What what we need to find whether Zune will have softphone capability or full functional phone. What does this mean,
-> Softphone capability: A software client will provided, which can be sold through current or new telecom operators or MSN Live service can be used as platform to provide end to end communications. In this case. Zune will take advantage of in built WiFi capability to connect to network.
-> Full functional phone: Sold through wireless operators channels and will have all the air interface support. This will need change in basic Zune architecture, as in that case it will be phone first (regulatory commitments) and media device as add on features.
But every thing will come down to one thing, whats the OS of Zune. As I wrote earlier, I am hoping, it will not be Windows. But I may be wrong (I am hearing some version of Windows Mobile is coming as part of this player).
Most interesting thing all are missing is changing landscape of personal computing devices. In 90's Apple took the approach of Hardware + Software, and Microsoft used the open Hardware architecture to sell its software. After making lot billionaires, Microsoft strategy is nose diving (check 5 years stock prices). Apple is finally showing new Mantra in this new world. (Although I still think, Apple will make more money in from its OS than selling cheap but fantastically designed media devices). Microsoft eventual entry in media device (Zune) and already presence in Gaming platform (XBOX) has again put in direct fight with Apple.
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