When Microsoft comes to a new area of business, it's common to see it go from a startup to a dominate player in the market. So far, Microsoft has yet to be able to do this in the MP3 player market. The Zune has been around for a while now and still is hanging around with single-digit market share.
While the iPod and Sansa run away from the other players in the digital audio player (DAP) market, Microsoft is working to make a better device. CNET News talked with Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, the head of Microsoft's Zune development.
Belfiore says Microsoft is working on its individual devices first, but that in the future Microsoft will begin working on allowing for a more unified experience between devices. What Microsoft eventually hopes to see is the ability for owners of a Zune, Xbox, and Mediaroom IPTV device to be able to access the same content on all of the devices.
Microsoft admits that this is something for the not-too distant future. Today, there is too small a portion of users who own the Zune, Xbox, and a Mediaroom device to work on the sharing technology according to Belfiore. As adoption of multiple Microsoft devices grows, this is something that could be offered from Microsoft.
Belfiore points out that being able to offer content on multiple devices is also something that requires the approval of people outside Microsoft -- namely the content owners. Content owners would much prefer to sell consumers new versions of the same digital track of video for each device than allow convenient sharing of the same content amongst devices.
Belfiore told CNET News, "As more and more people have more than one of those devices, then the cross-device scenarios become more important, and undoubtedly it is something you will see us do at some point in the not-too-distant future."
CNET News also asked about plans for a possible Zune phone to combat the iPhone. Belfiore declined to comment specifically, but did say stay tuned. Microsoft recently introduced new Zune models with higher storage capacities.