While rumours of a Zune Phone have long been circulating on the internet (and its seems inevitable that it will happen), Microsoft have denied that a Zune phone is imminent, despite the fact that a consortium led by Microsoft, Google, HP and Dell have filed submissions with the US authorities. The filing relates to a wireless handled internet access phone (VOIP) and is sure to prompt a war of words with the likes of Apple, and their high profile iPhone.
While Apple have stolen an early march on their competitors, many suspect that they do not have the fire power to make a real impression in the market, with much of their power being taken by the telecom companies with who they must tie up with. When you compare this to the proposed Microsoft consortium VOIP phone, which does not require telecom assistance, then we seem set for a battle.
Even though Microsoft have denied that a Zune phone is imminent, they have done too much ground work for this not to happen in the future. It is more likely that Microsoft will use the proposed consortium device to perfect the technology, as the Zune brand is too valuable to be associated with sub-standard technology.
This powerful consortium has the potential to snatch a large portion of Appleâ€™s market share, and the recent court ruling in the MP3 market, whereby Microsoft were order to pay damages with regards to MP3 technology does not bode well for Apple. While it seems a little unfair that Apple have opened new markets with their iPhone and iPod, they are really under pressure from the likes of Zune, which has a growing client base and the Microsoft marketing machine behind it. There is real concern about the long term future of Apple as their main markets become ever more crowded.
There is also strong speculation that the telecom companies are running scared, as the rumoured Zune VOIP phone is sure to take away a large portion of their market. While they are unlikely to sit back and take this lying down, they may look to tie up with the likes of Microsoft, leaving Apple further and further in the cold. The Zune looks set to cause major waves in the telecom industry, and we are likely to see a major change on the corporate landscape over the coming years.
Microsoft seems to have it all at the minute, internet access, content, software and a growing client base in the shape of Zune users. While the product may initially have received luke warm reviews there is no doubt that momentum is starting to grow, and the constant drip feed of rumour and counter rumour from the Microsoft marketing machine is having an effect. Consumers are now starting to see the purchase of a Zune as an investment in the future, and a doorway into the inner workings of Microsoft.
Zune is set to be the base for the future of Microsoftâ€™s portable services, and this does not bode well for competitors such as Apple who are struggling to keep pace.