Mar 11

A brief eulogy for Zune

Dear friends, neighbors and colleagues,

We gather here today to remember the life of Zune,

A life that touched more people than you can count on one hand.

Zune’s journey was short by most measures.

It was lonely by all measures.

But no one will deny that Zune stood for something.

It dared to be different.

Zune proved that you don’t need legions of fans to feel like a success.

You can do just fine on annual cash infusions from a very rich dad.

Zune didn’t need a clever interface, a giant music store, or even a good review.

Zune was a rebel. The anti-Pod. Born on the wrong side of the bell curve.

If iPods were blue and green and pink, then by god — Zune would dare to be brown.

When iPod spoke in dollars, Zune would speak in Microsoft Points.

While iPods were solitary affairs, Zune once offered a neighborly “squirt.”

Thrown to the lions, Zune would grow up remarkably fast.

In fact, before it was even a year old, it was wheezing like an octogenarian.

No matter how badly Zune was humiliated in market share, Dad would always say, “we can beat them.”

Then, one day, even that bottomless wallet would run dry.

Despite his endlessly encouraging words, Dad was forced to pull the plug,

And Zune’s body was left to wither.

But now, before the last charge has even run out, we learn that the spirit of Zune may yet live —

In Windows Phones and tablets that we can only dream about today.

Yes, one day, when Microsoft is back on top,

When long lines of customers form around Microsoft Stores the world over,

The crowds clamoring for a taste of that Microsoft magic,

Someone, somewhere will conjure up a home screen,

Touch a button,

And maybe,

Just maybe,

Zune will live to squirt again.

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  • Shame they couldn’t try adding WP7 to compete with iPod touch. I appreciate the clue’s in the name, but of course it was always a stupid name. Maybe they could rename it WM?

  • Bmcfadden

    Zune … Kinda rhythms with “Xoom”.

  • sniff… sniff…. choke….
    (blow nose into hanky)

    That’s —- that’s — very touching. Thank you.

  • rd

    Market has shifted. Apple started
    maketing ipod touch as games instead
    of music so Zune had no answer and
    Microsoft has to fight with Xbox
    against iPod Touch and NGP
    and all they have is Kinect which
    doesn’t fit. So they have to wait
    for either WP7 or WP8.

    With NGP using Quad core ARM 9
    with Quad core GPU. Microsoft
    has to have an answer even for iPad
    with same solution.
    Plus Sony might be using LLVM
    compiler for PS3, etc.

  • theblackswan

    This is probably not the right place to post this, but then there are none here.

    I stumbled on the blog a few weeks back, loved it, and tried to read as many archives as I could.

    A few observations.


    As much as I love RDF, I never thought about this. You are so freaking icredibly right. I started observing, and found that its not just the press but all Apple aficionados who start speaking like Steve- even on seemingly non-mainstream things. Specs and feeds comment in iPad 2 presentation; Apple lovers on forums, bloggers, analysts all buy it as their punchline defence/offence. Same when Jobs took the earnings call last year, talking about the fragmentation of Android. Awesome.


    “Some say Steve Jobs only reversed himself when he realized the enormity of the potential for 3rd-party apps. Others believe opening iPhone up to apps was the plan all along, and it was simply a matter of “first things first.” iPhone needed to become a solid platform first.”

    It seems that Jobs indeed had the insight that apps will be huge. He invited KPCB to collaborate on iFund, and Doerr was completely buying into his vision.

    iFund intro

    Doerr talks to Charlie Rose two years later

  • ken segall

    Welcome, and what the hell took you so long? :) Thanks for visiting.

    I’m of the opinion that Steve was not at all convinced about the potential of apps until some months after iPhone was introduced. The evidence is compelling. Apple’s public statements are there for all to read, and Apple’s efforts were clearly directed toward getting developers to create “web apps” that were accessed via Safari. The Doerr video you link to is from June 2008, which is a full year after iPhone went on sale, when Apple had already reversed itself and plunged into the app business.

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