Five lessons the rest of Microsoft can learn from Zune

Summary:What learnings can the rest of the Redmondians take away from Microsoft's digital-media player team? A while back, I listed ten lessons that the Xbox team could teach the rest of Microsoft. Now I'm wondering the same about the Zune side fof the house. Here's what's on my short list.

If you buy into Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie's logic, consumer -- not enterprise -- is where the action is, these days. The cool tech innovations are coming from the consumer world and being adopted by business, not vice versa.

Five Lessons the rest of Microsoft can learn from Zune
So what learnings can the rest of the Redmondians take away from Microsoft's digital-media player team? A while back, I listed ten lessons that the Xbox team could teach the rest of Microsoft. Now I'm wondering the same about the Zune side fof the house. On the short list:

1. Don't introduce anything in brown. Ever. No logos, no product boxes. And definitely no gaming consoles or other consumer devices. (That said, I must be part of the one percent of the population who liked the brown Zunes. I liked them more than the white ones, for sure. And possibly more than the new green ones.)

2. Keep your bleeding-edge adopters happy when rolling out updates to your product to earn brownie points. Microsoft's decision to provide Zune 1 users with all the new functionality and features that the Zune 2 users are getting won the company lots of kudos.

3. Little details matter. The new free laser-engraving Microsoft is offering with the new Zunes is a very nice touch. I'm not trading in my Sony Walkman yet (so that I could get from Microsoft my five free lines of engraved text -- something classy like "Bye, bye iPod"). But it's still a cool extra.

4. Steer clear of spokespeople who tattoo your logo on themselves. Especially when they do it three times (and change their name to "Microsoft Zune"). They are not the ones you want doing your "I'm an iPod" and "I'm a Zune" commercials.

5. Wait out your competitors. Your motto: First they ridiculed. Then they mocked. And finally, they succumbed. The Zune 2s are way less clunky than the Zune 1s. By the time the Zune 3s roll out, maybe that ugly button in the center will be gone. And perhaps Apple will have made some blunders -- like Sony did in the PlayStation vs. Xbox wars -- that will give Microsoft an added boost.

Any other tips/tricks you think the Zune team could show the rest of Microsoft? Or Microsoft's competitors, for that matter?

Topics: CXO, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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