Microsoft should exit the Zune business

Microsoft should kill the Zune. It's just not in its enterprise software DNA. There are ways to get into the music business without trying to beat Apple at its own game.

Microsoft has built the world's largest software empire by doing many things right (and a few things wrong). It has managed to branch out into other markets like the game console business, but ultimately, it's a business software company. Always has been. Always will be.

Zune image

It is therefore with some amusement that I read on ZDNet about Microsoft's corporate hand-wringing over whether to continue to develop and sell the Zune, and what that might look like.

Microsoft should not be in the Zune business . Period. No amount of Apple envy should have taken Microsoft into the Zune, and its best option is a quick exit.

Let's face it: Microsoft is not cool . That's reality. It's an enterprise software company and, however much one may dress up enterprise software, it's still not sexy or cool.

Billions of dollars in profit, however, is cool, and Microsoft has that in spades. Sure, it risks losing out on the digital-entertainment revolution by not having a music delivery platform , but there are other ways to get into that business without trying to beat Apple at its own game.

In the Zune, Microsoft is playing to Apple's strengths. In products like SharePoint and SQL Server, it plays to its own. Microsoft needs to find a way to get into the consumer market without drowning in Apple's wake. The Zune is not it.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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