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MS Zune chief: iPhone is a "lousy" iPod

updated 03:30 pm EST, Fri November 16, 2007

Allard on iPhone and Zune

Microsoft's Zune division chief J Allard has a mixture of praise and criticism for the iPhone as his company prepares to compete more effectively with its own software, an interview reveals. He argues that it is Apple's attention to the design of the cellphone as a whole rather than its connection to the iPod that is pushing sales, and that it represents a step back for the company in terms of ergonomics for music playback.

"It's a lousy iPod," Allard explains. "You can't skip a track without looking at it. You can't go running with the thing."

Nonetheless, the device is the first cellphone to provide a strong browsing experience and is both "beautiful" and "simple" compared to most other phones, he notes. It may also have a unique side-benefit for Windows Mobile as it will force carriers to "check their ego at the door" and allow handset designers to have more control over the final output rather than limiting hardware and software to what suits the carrier's profit levels.

Microsoft's response will be in part to integrate features of the Zune into Windows Mobile, according to Allard. Although a Zune phone is unlikely, he notes that core aspects of the internally developed music player will filter into the media and calling features of the portable OS. The Redmond firm also vows to "never say never" to producing its own cellphone if the market dictates that working with third-parties alone proves unsuccessful.

"If we can put the customer first, we prefer to do it with partners. We didn't create the Zune because we were dying to get into the hardware business and take inventory risk. We felt we had to do it," he says. "Windows was incredible. We got to create most of the magic and take none of the financial risk. History isn't going to repeat that with consumer goods."

By Electronista Staff
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  1. njfuzzy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2001


    Right and wrong

    In some cases, the all-visual interface is less than ideal. However, it's not nearly as bad as he states...

    I can skip tracks very easily. I just click the mic button twice. It's actually the perfect place to have a skip/pause function, and I use it all the time.

  1. gambit-7

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2001



    I think he meant to say "Zune is a lousy iPod."

  1. psdenno

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2003


    If I can......

    run with an iPod AND a cell phone, why can't I go running with an iPhone? Maybe he meant you shouldn't go running with scissors. It must be a Microsoft user thing.

  1. jmelrose

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Mar 1999


    Sensationalize much?

    Wow... that headline couldn't have been more sensationalized if it tried. The guy actually gave Apple quite a few props, and the only downside was that the iPhone is focused more on being a phone than a media player. A valid observation, and overall a very balanced article. Pity this Apple-centric website chose to focus on the ONE negative as its headliner quote.

  1. Monde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004


    Spin Heights

    Talk about taking spin to new hieghts. Get me a Kleenex, I've got a nosebleed!

    The iPhone is huge and-for technology-transformational. True to Microsoft form, rather than make a better offering, they'd rather tear the competition down with criticism like this. To use a iPhone is to know it is better than any device in its class, to use a zune is to know it is inferior to the ipod. To use apple's software is to know it is-head n' tails-better than windows.

    So what to these duffus's have? MS is a company built on consumers ignorance. When it comes to these devices the market is much more informed and competitive. Allard might as well complain that the consumers know too much about what they want to use for a phone/mp3 player.

    iPhone rocks. MS & zune does not.

    To finish, does Allard look like a young Dr. Evil to anyone else too?

  1. dennisobell

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2002


    fair enough

    "Lousy" is a strong word, but the criticism isn't entirely groundless. Allard is one of the few guys at M$ who seems to have his head screwed on straight, and he doesn't seem to be poking at Apple solely out of spite (unlike his Łberboss Mr. Ballmer, with his now-laughable comments about the iPhone last January).

  1. eldarkus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2004



    He's 100% right. The Zune Phone is much better than the stupid iPhone!!!

    Until you have a competing product, youre just a whiner!

  1. Beechlady

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2006



    That's why they call it an iPHONE, Allard-sir. As for jmelrose, the forum IS called MACnn, what did you expect? PC people jump all over us "Mac Zealots" all the time. Take a little for a change.

    You want an iPod, buy and iPod. You want a phone, buy the iPhone. Simple as that. Sheez.

  1. chotty

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2003


    Hey, "J"

    See that little tab on the right side wire for your earbud? - Click it twice, you skip to next song without looking. Honky, Pleeez.

  1. skotmiller

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001



    "You canít skip a track without looking at it." Press the button on the headphones two times while listening to music, and it will skip to the next track.

    "You canít go running with the thing." Or any other phone. Right?

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