Microsoft Zune Chief: Apple faces tough hurdles if they launch an iPod phone

“Apple Computer Inc. faces some tough hurdles if it decides to roll out a mobile phone built around its popular iPod music player, Microsoft Corp.’s entertainment chief said on Monday,” Daisuke Wakabayashi reports for Reuters.

Wakabayashi reports, “Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division, said it too is considering a mobile phone integrated with its Zune digital music player, but launching such a device is not at top of its priority list.”

MacDailyNews Take: It’s not at top of Microsoft’s “Me-Too” priority list because they can’t even get the digital music player part right after half a decade of trying — first with the “too many cooks in the kitchen” so-called “partnership” route and recently with the ill-fated Zune.

Wakabayashi continues, “Analysts have said Apple may sell the phone with its own branded cell phone service via an MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator, under which Apple leases excess capacity from other carriers… ‘The latest rumor we hear is that it is going to be a MVNO phone and there hasn’t been a lot of successes in that MVNO space for a lot of different reasons,’ said Bach, who oversees the Zune business and Microsoft’s video game division.”

Wakabayashi reports, “Bach said MVNO phones often have difficult relationships with the mobile operators. One of the few successful MVNOs in the United States so far is Virgin Mobile. ‘Historically, working with partners hasn’t been a strong point for Apple, so maybe it will find a way to work around those relationships,’ he said.”

Wakabayashi reports, “Putting together a phone with a media player raises many design questions, including how to manage various inputs, the optimal screen size and battery life, Bach said. ‘You have to find out what it’s great at. Is it great as a phone or is it great as music player? If it’s great as a music player, then it’s just another iPod trying to be a phone,’ said Bach.”

Full article here.
No, Robbie, it’s not “just another iPod,” it’s The iPod. You know, the one that you can’t figure out how to copy successfully? The one that utterly dominates the market? A person in Bach’s position should understand the power of the Apple brand, but, clearly, with his questioning of a potential Apple MVNO, he doesn’t get it. And his line, “historically, working with partners hasn’t been a strong point for Apple,” is straight out of Microsoft’s talking points memo as evidenced by Microsoft sycophant Rob Enderle’s frequent use of nearly the same line, for some examples:
• “Apple historically has not been a good partner…
• “Apple also has a reputation for being one of the nastiest partners around.
• “Apple partners very poorly.

Nobody in their right mind gives a zune what Robbie Bach thinks about the possibility of an Apple iPod phone.

52 Comments

  1. Apple’s partnership with Intel seems to be doing well, isn’t it? Whether it’s Google or the new (again) AT&T, formerly Cingular, I can’t wait to see who Apple partners with next. But I must, cuz I gotta sleep!

  2. Microsoft certainly knows how to “work” with partners; it coerces, crushes or abandons them. Maybe “work over” is more apt.

    Microsoft pours money on to “push” products.
    They purchase and repackage others’ work and claim it as “innovation”.

    Apple products have historically succeeded because of superior and successful DESIGN. Apple pushes the envelope on every level and sets standards while doing so.. The entire tech industry waits to see what Apple does before adopting or copying.

    Unlike Apple, there is no joy in Microsoft the company, or in their products. That’s the difference.

  3. MDN: “Nobody in their right mind gives a zune what Robbie Bach thinks about the possibility of an Apple iPod phone.”

    And yet MDN posts it here for us to read. What must they think of us?

    Boooo to MDN insulting their readers.

    Yaaaay to a product launch at Macworld that is NOT as “exciting” as the iPod Hi-fi. Don’t think I could take another product as world-changing as an obscenely overpriced pair of no-separation stereo speakers.

  4. I love it when these MS jerks start analyzing anything that Apple has done, is doing, or might do. They’re all such friggin’ experts on these matters, but it’s strange that that company makes some of the crappiest products one could possibly imagine.

  5. “Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division, said it too is considering a mobile phone integrated with its Zune digital music player, but launching such a device is not at top of its priority list.”

    That is until we get Apple’s latest device and have enough time to try to copy it properly…

    How can this guy have the nerve to offer his 2 cents when he can’t even get his Z*** together? baffling…

    10hrs to go…

  6. I really hope Apple falls on their face on this one. Like we did with the Zune. And with the whole “Plays for sure thing.” It was really humbling. I state this with all sincerity. Apple needs to get over feeling so superior to everybody else. Just because they make a better product with the customer experience superior to all the other considerations – like MSFT stock price – doesn’t mean they can go and enter another market we hope to take over (once we’ve had a chance to see what Apple is doing…) Anyway, I digress. Apple needs some humility for their spiritual betterment. They should be using their prominence to help others, not just reigning supreme. Like licensing AAC. We could help them with that. From my perspective, that would be a good thing.

  7. Robbie Bach talking about how APPLE doesn’t play well with others… OMG that is rich indeed. (In case the obvious needs to be stated, he’s the catalyst for MS’ strategy of abandoning all partners and competing with them instead… both xbox and zune!)

    It’s the old strategy of repeating the big lie over and over again until it gets believed. And the big lie ISN’T that Apple doesn’t partner well… the big lie is the implication that MS does.

    Funny too how the Apple bashing analysts are ALWAYS the same usual suspects.

  8. I can’t believe a high-level executive from Microsoft can say the “Apple doesn’t partner well” line with a straight face. It wasn’t Apple who zuned all of its Plays-For-Sure “partners.”

    “… it too is considering a mobile phone integrated with its Zune digital music player, but launching such a device is not at top of its priority list.”

    That’s because Apple hasn’t released its device yet, or demonstrated how to operate a successful wireless service that’s NOT oriented on being a phone service, so Microsoft doesn’t have anything to copy yet. You can bet that Tuesday afternoon (assuming Apple releases it at MacWorld), such a device will be at the top of the Microsoft to-be-copied list.

    This Bach guy obviously does not get it, because it’s not an iPod phone or an iPhone, it’s the new iPod period. I’m not sure if even Apple is bold enough to “pull a mini” (stop making the previous successful model cold), but at some point, all “full-size” iPods will have wireless. Whether the customer uses it or not, it will be part of the package. But because it’s there, people will start to use it, and Apple’s wireless service will ride the iPod’s popularity and show what the “iPod halo effect” is really all about.

  9. Wow… Apple must REALLY be on the right track… cuz Redmond sure seems to be worried. Suddenly a LOT of PR effort is going into creating doubt about Apple. Remember these “news” articles don’t just appear because some reporter makes a random phone call–an army of PR flaks is out there trying to make them happen.

    Congrats to Apple for making it back to the big leagues. It’s been along time since MS worried about Apple…

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