Ballmer: ‘Zune halo effect’ will help Windows Vista

“The holiday season hasn’t gone exactly as Microsoft had hoped,” Mike Ricciuti reports for CNET News.

“The much-anticipated Zune, Microsoft’s portable music player entry, has received mixed reviews, and demand has been tepid. Sure, Vista made its debut, finally, last week–but only for business customers. The Windows XP successor, more than five years in the making, didn’t make it into consumers’ hands for the all-important holiday sales season. Ditto for Office 2007, the flagship of the company’s second most-profitable product line,” Ricciuti reports.

Ricciuti reports, “CEO Steve Ballmer says he isn’t worried. Like Chairman Bill Gates, he says Zune will, over time, gain ground on Apple Computer’s iPod… Ballmer sat down with CNET here to discuss life after Vista, battling the iPod, and the rising importance of mobile devices.”

Now that Vista work is more or less wrapped up–or will be soon–have resources been freed up within Microsoft (to work on things like Longhorn Server)? Ballmer: Well, we’re going to do a next version of Windows, and so one of the questions is whether we’re going to have the same number of people, fewer people, (or) whether we need more people. We’re going to have a very large team continuing to work on Windows innovation.

What happens when Apple produces a smart phone, which they probably will at some point? How does that change the equation? Ballmer: Well, their business model will look a lot more like the business model of the Trio and BlackBerry, than it does (that of) us and Nokia. Nokia is sort of having their cake and eating it, too, a little bit, with Symbian. Hey, in no business that we’re in, can we expect that other people aren’t going to enter and bring some creative ideas. We will see what Apple does.

The thing that is going to drive Apple, you know, people talk about the iPod halo. At some point, do you hope for a Zune halo effect that would help with Vista? Ballmer: Well, sure. I can’t say there is, yet. Eventually, there needs to be, will be. But we’ve got to get out and establish Zune. We think we have a great initial proposition, and we’re happy with the initial response. But we don’t fool ourselves. There’s a guy who’s got a lot of share, and we’re coming later in the day. Things boomed on the back of the iPod, so we have our work cut out.

Are you happy with the response to Zune so far? Ballmer: So far, so good. But we’re (in the) early stages.

Full article here.
Ballmer remains as delusional as ever; even more so, if that’s possible. The Zune is quickly becoming synonymous with “failure,” among other words that are not mentioned in polite company. This “Zune halo effect” business is a ridiculous as saying the Sony Bean (remember those?) will sell more Vaio laptops.

Zune has no halo. Zune leaves a stain.

Zune’s failure may in fact open a few more eyes that can see Microsoft for what it really is: a derivative company, a conniving dinosaur. Zune will help drive people to iPod and Mac OS X more than it will drive any Windows Vista adoption.

And, wow, that Ballmer can say the words “Windows innovation” with a straight face gives us the creeps.

Related articles:
Microsoft Zune plummets to 5th place in U.S. digital media player market share with 2.1 percent – December 04, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune incompatible with Windows Vista – November 14, 2006

InformationWeek: Now that Vista is the past, let’s look at the future: Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard – December 02, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista and Office 2007 releases generate yawns – December 02, 2006
Dave Winer: ‘Microsoft isn’t an innovator, and never was – they are always playing catch-up’ – December 01, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista vulnerable to malware from 2004 – November 30, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista developers used Apple Macs for inspiration – November 27, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows Vista is basically Microsoft’s version of Mac OS 9.3 – October 11, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista: If you can’t innovate… try to impersonate Apple’s Mac OS X – August 10, 2006
Ballmer: I’m Microsoft’s ‘primary champion of innovation’ – July 27, 2006
Microsoft botches another copy job: Windows Vista Flip3D vs. Apple Mac OS X Exposé – June 26, 2006
Windows Vista rips-off Mac OS X at great hardware cost (and Apple gains in the end) – June 13, 2006
Computerworld: Microsoft Windows Vista a distant second-best to Apple Mac OS X – June 02, 2006
Thurrott: Microsoft going to get eaten alive over Windows Vista’s resemblance to Apple’s Mac OS X – March 09, 2006
NY Times’ Pogue on Gates’ CES demo: Most of Vista features unadulterated ripoffs from Apple Mac OS X – January 05, 2006
Analyst: Windows Vista may still impress many consumers because they have not seen Apple’s Mac OS X – January 05, 2006
Apple’s talent and innovation vs. Microsoft’s hype – October 25, 2005
Microsoft’s Windows Vista strives to deliver what Apple’s Mac OS X already offers – October 10, 2005
Thurrott: many of Windows Vista’s upcoming features appeared first in Apple’s Mac OS X – September 26, 2005
Microsoft’s Ballmer: It’s true, some of Windows Vista’s features are ‘kissing cousins’ to Mac OS X – September 18, 2005
PC World: Microsoft innovation – an oxymoron – September 14, 2005
As usual, Apple leads, Microsoft tries to follow – June 02, 2005
eWEEK Editor Coursey: Longhorn so far ‘looks shockingly like a Macintosh’ – April 25, 2005
Due in late 2006, many of Windows Longhorn’s features have been in Mac OS X since 2001 – April 25, 2005
Microsoft’s new mantra: ‘It Just Works’ ripped straight from Apple’s ‘Switch’ campaign – April 22, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Microsoft’s Longhorn: ‘They are shamelessly copying us’ – April 21, 2005
Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn will bear more than just a passing resemblance to Apple’s Mac OS X – April 15, 2005
Steve Jobs: Microsoft copied original Apple Mac with Windows 95, now they’re copying us again – February 08, 2005
Where Apple leads, Wintel follows years later – January 31, 2005
Novell CEO: ‘Microsoft sucked $60 billion out of IT industry that could have used for innovation’ – September 13, 2004
Apple CEO Steve Jobs: Mac OS X Tiger ‘is going to drive the copycats crazy – June 28, 2004
PC Magazine: Microsoft ‘Longhorn’ preview shows ‘an Apple look’ – May 06, 2004
Charles Arthur: Microsoft’s definition of ‘innovation’ different from everyone else’s – April 27, 2004
Windows ‘Longhorn’ to add translucent windows that ripple and shrink by 2005 – May 19, 2003


  1. Unfortunately, Windows Vista will be a success. There are simply too many Windows users that are going to go out, buy a new PC, and come home with a shiny Vista interface. That can’t be helped.

    Zune will ultimately fail, and that’s simply because it’s an obvious iPod imitator. Parents that buy Zunes for their kids are going to be returning them the day after Christmas so they can go get an iPod for the same price. Kids don’t want a blatant imitation, they want the real thing that all of their friends have.

    My prediction is that the Zune will only be marginally more successful than Amazon’s Unbox, which we have all forgotten about by now. The only reason it has stuck around in the limelight for this long is because it’s a Microsoft product, and that captures people’s interest, sad as that may be.

  2. If people own a zune then they already have a windows pc, even if the zune was great I can see no reason why that would help Vista.
    The whole point of the iPod halo is that it shows people what Apple can do as opposed to Microsoft who they currently have experience. Unless people think XP is shit, buy a zune then think that it’s great and maybe Vista will be as well. Which isn’t going to happen.

  3. “Ballmer remains as delusional as ever”? I believe it’s MDN that’s delusional. Go back and read the part about Windows innovation. Read it and weep. Apple hasn’t created anything new—ever! God forbid Microsoft cease to exist, because if MS disappeared, Apple wouldn’t have any idea what to do. Ballmer remains as thought-provoking, dynamic and charming as ever. Your “MDN Take” isn’t fooling anyone.

    I can tell you that the Zune halo effect is very real. The magic Microsoft has created with Zune has cemented my decision to camp out at my local CompUSA to be one of the first consumers to get Vista. If you need to get a hold of me call me on my Palm running Windows Mobile. Maybe we can open a chat session using MSN Messenger or while we’re in line we can squirt each other. Redmond has it together. Once you get a taste of Zune, you’re gonna want more…

    Welcome to the Social.

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