Feature

Business columns: Can Microsoft still salvage the Zune?

While the Zune will never be the music device of choice, it could be a great game machine, said Stephen Wildstrom in<strong> </strong><em>BusinessWeek.</em>

Stephen WildstromBusinessWeek

“The battle for music players is over,” said Stephen Wildstrom. Apple’s iPod has defeated Microsoft’s Zune hands down. But Microsoft, which invested three years and a small fortune chasing the iPod, need not throw in the towel just yet—because while the Zune will never be the music device of choice, it could be a great game machine.

Indeed, many elements are already in place to turn the Zune into a breakout hit. The Zune connects with Microsoft’s Xbox entertainment unit, and the two devices can share downloaded TV shows and movies, which about 20 million customers already buy or rent from Xbox Live, Microsoft’s subscription service. That means Microsoft is starting with a vast pool of potential customers for Zune-based games. The Zune could be “the best hand-held game platform out there,” with a “great display, motion sensing,” and superfast electronic innards.

The hardware is there. The question is, is Microsoft deft enough to produce the software before Apple beats it again?

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