01.12.09

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The End of the Road for XBox, Zune, No New Products

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All the characteristics of a failing company

A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO we wrote about the latest publicity stunts whose intent is to "freeze the market". It’s about Vista 7 which, as we’ve said right at the start, is likely to come no earlier than 2010 and offer very little compared to Vista (the latter point is factual, whereas there is room for speculation regarding the former).

There are additional signs that this is possible and a release could be over a year away, but in order to freeze the market Microsoft must not admit this publicly.

Microsoft is not too keen on rolling out an underdone Windows 7 and will only proceed with its launch when it is sure that the OS is ready. This is the reason it is not committing to a 2009 launch date. Microsoft’s Bill Veghte told Cnet that the OS will be shipped when the quality is up to scratch.

Microsoft also said that it would ship Vista (Longhorn at the time) by 2003 and deliver far more than it eventually delivered — leaving people in a position where they favoured XP over Vista. It is important to remember that Microsoft has already dropped the major features which it had promised for Vista’s successor.

Looking elsewhere at Microsoft’s business this week, it turns out that — due to massive losses or not — XBox 360 is likely the last of its kind. This is not the first time that Microsoft speaks of quitting this market, which has already cost it close to $7 billion (in just losses).

No new Xbox Console in Microsoft’s future

[...]

As such, the company is planning on concentrating its efforts of exploiting the Xbox 360 to its full potential, with plans for new features and further game development. This isn’t terribly surprising, but it’s still a bit disappointing given the relative ago of the Xbox 360, which went into production in 2005…almost 4 years ago.

Other sites speak about this too. As for the Zune, when we last wrote about this gadget, it was already on its death throes and now comes the word that it might finally be “nuked”.

Microsoft May Finally Nuke The Zune (MSFT)

As everyone who doesn’t work for Microsoft has known for two years, the Zune is doomed. Thankfully, it seems this message may finally have reached Steve Ballmer.

There is some more information about this here and here, even in Microsoft-affiliated sites.

Assuming that there is deflation of products, what will Microsoft have to show that’s new other than just software patents? Judging by CES, as the company is entering debt [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], there is nothing new to show.

Microsoft shows nothing new at CES

It has to be said, Microsoft has shown us nothing new, interesting, or even slightly exciting at this years CES show in Las Vegas. I watched the first half hour or so of the live feed; Microsoft’s keynote and opportunity to show off a few things. I went to bed feeling empty, dissatisfied and underwhelmed – a lot like a classic iPod with only 2% storage used.

Microsoft had some older things to show at CES, such as error messages on the $13,000+ Surface that runs a variant of Vista.

Intrepid reader Yves Milord snapped a pic of what might be the first error message seen on a Microsoft Surface.

This is a very symbolic thing. One of the latest products and the most overhyped one simply fails to come together, let alone be marketed. The American car industry showed similar characteristics amid its gradual failure at renewed prosperity.

Microsoft Zune

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4 Comments

  1. David Gerard said,

    January 12, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Gravatar

    It’s somewhat a pity they fouled up so badly with the Xbox 360 – if they hadn’t cut corners in the manufacturing, it would probably have survived, and it’s famously a really rather good gaming box … when it doesn’t red-ring.

    No-one, of course, will miss the Zune. Except satire writers.

  2. mpz said,

    January 12, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Gravatar

    Well the 360 is somewhat of a success, although the cost is way too much. Remember though, playstation 2 is still the most played machine in the usa (minutes/day), so they’re probably thinking along those lines (actually they obviously are – right from the start they always wanted to have a playstation 2). And with xbox they have the added revenue of online membership – although the ps2 was probably already a gold-mine by this time in its life.

    So I guess it will be spun as ‘we’ll stick with the xbox360 (like we didn’t with the xbox)’, and keep some people happy and excited. But I imagine enough people will see that their so-called ‘investment’ in xbox stuff is a dead-end. It’s getting a bit long in the tooth anyway.

    People – particularly gadget-geeks are a little irrational like that. If they think there’s nothing coming after, they might get upset and jump ship, even though it wont make much practical difference to them.

    I do feel sorry for any layman who bought a zune without researching them though – but can’t be too many of those. I don’t feel sorry for anyone who did though! A shit-brown box knobbled with crappy software?

    Both show the culture of MS though – we can muscle into any market with money alone – buying media talking heads, buying developers, buying exclusives, etc. With the Xbox they just kept trying for longer, and hence had more success.

  3. David Gerard said,

    January 12, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Gravatar

    The Zune had okay hardware too, for the price (modulo that date bug in the reference Freescale code). But then they tied it to the worst firmware and worst software in the world.

    If they’d made it the slightest bit openable they’d have had the Linux nerds lining up to buy it and put Rockbox on it. But nooo, control above all else e.g. actual sales.

    Microsoft: snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Oh well. I use a Microsoft Natural Keyboard at work. I love it. The perfect keyboard for anyone who types properly. Except the bit where they put the 6 on the wrong side of the split. WHAT.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 12, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Gravatar

    Didn’t they just buy those products?

    “Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products. It’s not a bad product, but bits and pieces are missing.”

    Arno Edelmann, Microsoft’s European business security product manager

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