Microsoft was never able to hang with the cool kids even after they released a rather sublime MP3 player you might now as the Zune. In its three iterations from a brown rubber brick to sexy brushed metal beast, wanting Mac owners could never tap into Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace (which offers a pretty good subscription service) through their Xbox inspired Zune software, or enjoy the startling good looks of the Zune’s eerily minimal (and sometimes purposefully illegible) interface.
Now with the release of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft may finally be willing to reach out to Macintosh owners interested in experiencing Redmond’s take on social media, communication, and of course music and video. Engadget reports this evening that the Zune software (and of course all the Zuney hardware that goes with it) may be ported to OS X thanks to a tip from a UK Microsoft Marketing guru (and Microsoft does have gurus you know) by the name of Oded Ran. In an exclusive #WP7 announcement on Twitter, the promise of being able to use “Zune” on our Macs to sync with all of the upcoming phones was made, though the announcement was deleted shortly after.
I’m pretty amped since I’m obviously a blatant Microsoft fanboy, but honestly, I think any form of competition (as I hear you say, “What competition?”) for iTunes can be nothing but positive. The iTunes package has gotten rather complacent with its ways in being everyone’s defacto music library. It’ll take a real champ like Microsoft – who are strangely being rooted on as the new underdogs – to provide a competitive and substantial marketplace alternative, Xbox media streaming (hopefully), and of course Zune and WP7 goodness to a strange group of Mac owners craving a stark but endearing Metro-hybrid lifestyle.
If you’re already living on the edge between Windows and OS X, Microsoft just might finally blur the divide and offer crazies like me the opportunity to access a new market and make compatible a slew of new devices I’m more than excited about. For Microsoft, the best thing they could do is reach out to some of the savviest and possibly the most lucrative audience in existence - I think there’s potential for something big to happen if Microsoft were to share some of the love.
Update: I’m a little surprised that Microsoft’s official announcement was so sudden - especially since they sweep a lot of speculation under the rug - but Microsoft will be releasing a beta of the Windows 7 Sync software ‘sometime’ later in 2010. Microsoft doesn’t appear to be too enthusiastic about the new, complicated relationship considering that they’ll only allow Mac users to sync select features (I’m guessing at least calendars, email, and contacts). While I was hoping for a heavy push into the media market, all Microsoft seems to be promising is a basic sync tool. I appreciate the baby steps, but Microsoft could totally rock the OS X desktop and surprise everyone if they just grit their teeth and offered a full Zune software experience.
We’ve yet to know exactly what we’ll be able to do with our WP7 devices and Snow Leopard, so stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks as Windows handsets begin making their way onto shelves and into the consumer market.