Microsoft and music

When it comes to music Microsoft are the undesputed champions of having a completely messed up strategy. On Windows they have Windows Media Player and Zune, on Xbox they have a section called music, something else called Zune that’s not quite the same as Zune on the Pc, they had a portable device called Zune and a subscription service called Zune pass. The one brand that is potentially getting the chop is also called Zune!

We’ve known for a while that a successor is in the works for Zune (although which Zune that means isn’t 100% clear), so what could this end up being? Well here’s what im hoping for…

Xbox

The original Xbox was the first to introduce music storage but sadly that part of the Xbox has never seen an update since. Apps like Zune have been added with streaming abilities and improved UI, but they are separate and there remains no way to sync your music from PC to Xbox.

Id like to see that changed, my Xbox and pc should be able to talk to each other and move mp3’s from one to the other. Better yet link into my Windows live Id and offer a service like iTunes match! The UI updates and Kinect integration that the Zune app has should also be included making one ultimate music experience.

Rebrand the Zune app as marketplace and add the ability to actually purchase music! Or download songs if the user has a Zune pass, similar to how marketplace on WP7 works.

Windows Phone

So far Windows Phone is actually doing a good job. It has a music hub simply called music & video with a clear distinction of what a Zune pass adds to it. But getting music on the device still requires linking to my pc or buying on the phone. Also if a buy on the phone I can’t then download again on ny pc, so if my phone breaks in between purchasing and the next sync (which could be months) I’ve lost my music.

Again a windows live id sync here would be perfect, but also how about a sync with Xbox. A lot of families have one family computer but the kids often have an Xbox. Why does the pc have to be the main device? Why can’t Xbox be at the centre of my music storage? Xbox after all should now just be a PC optimised for TV.

Windows 8

From what I’ve seen so far Windows 8 looks like it has a new simple app just called music. Give this the same Zune pass integration as WP7 and syncing features listed above and I think Microsoft will be onto a music strategy that gets my music everywhere in a simple way.

The message is simple. Don’t think up stupid names and then refer to everything as that name. Think of individual devices and services. On a device just call the app music as that’s what it is. And make everything sync. Make managing music everywhere easy, add on any device and play on any other.

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