Space Ramblings

Should Microsoft be in the Phone Business?

With the Zune HD set to get a generally positive if shrugworthy reception, the question becomes what Microsoft’s next step will be. Microsoft may not have many grown up fans in the hardware crowd, but they’ve demonstrated that they can produce passable technology with the XBox 360 and the Zune HD. Apple has made the next step very obvious, a mobile phone. But that temptation may be a very bad idea. Microsoft’s strength has been selling operating systems, not selling hardware. Apple on the other hand has always been the fancy upsold hardware company. But with the Zune, Microsoft tried to grab the market from Apple, and arguably went the wrong route. Microsoft sabotaged its own efforts to sell an MP3 OS to rival manufacturers that could have posed a serious threat to iTunes and done to Apple’s iPod, what the Windows PC did to the Mac. Instead Microsoft tried to compete on hardware and lost. Now if Microsoft goes down the rumored Pink road to a Zune phone or a Windows phone, Microsoft will not only alienate manufacturers, already looking toward Google, and uneasy with Microsoft peddling Windows Mobile 6.5 while toying with Windows Mobile 7, it will take another step away from its core OS sales, to peddling hardware. Which is not a smart or safe business model for Microsoft at all.

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