Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Zune Is Out Of Tune, Microsoft To Focus On A Windows Phone

It seems another Apple competitor has raised the white flag. For other companies, it was to stop producing a competitive tablet and now for Windows, to not compete with the iPod. "We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players."

So how will a user listen to music on the Windows Phone and why not keep the Zune as a brand extension? While Google and it's Android devices seem to have a strategic approach to compete effectively with Apple, Microsoft may be scattered. What is the Microsoft strategy for mobile and why isn't Zune a part of it? One hopes that Microsoft's history of failed product launches doesn't extend to the Windows Phone. But so far, the loss of Zune seems the rule not the exception.

Will Hulu Find A Right Price To Sell

It seems as companies have been kicking the tires of Hulu, they have been reluctant to pay the asking price. And while some bids have come close, the additional conditions asked to complete the transaction have proven stumbling blocks. "At stake is the question of whether Hollywood's content companies are ultimately going to be principal players in the new world of digital streaming, or whether they will remain licensors of their products -- outside vendors." That is to say, buyers of Hulu don't want to find themselves competing for streaming platforms with the eventual sellers of Hulu.

As streaming becomes easier to offer and costs to stream decline, distribution platforms become plentiful. A Hulu buyer should want some exclusivity in their content deals to market a competitive differentiation. And that may be needed in both their paid and free models.

What will the current Hulu owners do if they choose to not complete a sale? Perhaps incorporate Hulu into each of their own websites to give it more value. They will also have to figure out what content also gets shared with their cable distribution partners. Comcast, Time Warner, and others all want to offer this content on their VOD and streaming platforms to authenticated users. Clear competition against Hulu's own pay model. Should Dish buy Hulu, Dish would probably want to confirm that they have the exact same rights, if not better, for the content these owners are peddling to cable. A sticky place to be and one that surely complicates the sale of Hulu.