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Microsoft pulled the plug on the hardware support for it's Zune this week. The software and services will continue, but the new designs will stop.
In the 5 years since it debuted, it never had a chance.
People don't want an mp3 player, they want an iPod. Customers don't ask for a tablet, they ask for an iPad.
We blow our nose with a Kleenex, we leave reminders with Post-Its, we wrap presents with Scotch Tape and we Xerox our copies.
It doesnt matter how good your product is, branding is what wins and Apple has won the branding war.
By all accounts, the Xoom is a spectacular device. But's not an iPad. In the language of consumer electronics, Apple is becoming the equivalent of English. The Xoom or Playbook or Galaxy may be spectacular, but using one is akin to speaking Chinese in Kansas - it's not going to work.
I'm the guy who said the Creative Zen was an iPod killer. I loved (and still love) the device. It came before the iPod with Video from a time when Steve Jobs was still wondering aloud who would ever want to watch video on a screen that small.
Creative was long ahead of Apple in the portable media race, even winning patent judgements against the Cupertino Company, but they just couldnt capture the market's imagination.
Same with the Zune. It launched with a bang. A limitless supply of music on a slick device, but it just didnt gain enough traction to find the support from Microsoft to hang with the iPod.
This week Microsoft announced it will stop releasing new editions of the device -which has to make you wonder what took them so long, even Zune tattoo guy gave up 3 years ago. (some NSFW language and hat tip to @ProducerDan - a former Zune fanboy himself - for showing me the vid)
The Zune software will be pulled into the Windows Phone 7 (another slick piece of engineering that cant crack Apple's glass ceiling.)
Competition is good, it's what pushes and challenges companies to innovate, so the death of the Zune should be lamented by the Kool Aid Krowd instead of celebrated. A device that was trying to "think different" has disappeared under the prowess of the Pod.
The "good news" is Microsoft is still cranking out editions of Internet Explorer. IE9 was released this week, which in a Coke / Pepsi world is kind of like drinking RC Cola.
catch the buzz ... pass it on.