I met with the people doing the Zune at Microsoft in the summer of 2004, when podcasting was gaining traction (in Seattle no less), but wasn’t showing on their radar yet. I explained how they could make their device a perfect podcast client. I couldn’t tell what they were thinking of course, but it seemed they weren’t convinced podcasting was real. Too bad, they could have made a simple product, not had to do any deals with Hollywood, and do an end-run around Apple, which still hasn’t made the corner turn to DRM-less media (which is one of the most profound things about podcasting, and no accident, I assure you).
A striking thing about that little section of Microsoft: pictures of Steve Jobs on doors, walls, bulletin boards, each with a quote from Steve below it. The pictures were there, I was told, to motivate them, and to remind them of their goal. The usual thing for Microsoft, a taillight chase.
One more thought, a question actually, does anyone know about the protocol that allows Zunes to share tunes with other Zunes? Is it open and clonable (ie, if I made a podcast device, could I use the protocol). And I suppose it’s naive to ask if it’s patented, but what the heck — is it?
Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times sheds some light.
Ryan Tate wonders if Zune is a developer platform.