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Microsoft to make Zune touchscreen player

updated 10:15 am EDT, Mon June 9, 2008

MS on Zune Touch

Microsoft ultimately expects its Zune media player line to receive a touchscreen, the company's Entertainment and Devices chief Robbie Bach says. Without committing to a specific product, the executive describes the addition as near-certain and implies that the media player will eventually drop its physical control pad entirely in favor of a touch interface as part of a broader company philosophy.

"Take the device independent [of the Zune] for a second and just assume that over time where there's a screen, touch will be part of it," Bach says. "It's not going to matter what the product line is. You're going to see it be a cornerstone of the work we do."

Microsoft is considered one of the more successful rivals to Apple but has historically lagged behind the iPod as it focuses on expanding its lineup to include the essentials rather than introducing a touchscreen player at the same time as the iPod touch in the fall of last year. The company launched a flash-based Zune roughly two years after Apple and this spring has just added TV shows, smart playlists, and other features present in earlier versions of Apple's software.

Bach is less direct regarding the prospect of a Zune phone and first says that there are no plans to develop an in-house phone under the Zune label or a similar platform, but agrees with a consensus that an all-in-one device is inevitable. Establishing the Zune, its software, and an online store are part of a "broad investment" that will pay off later, he says. The official also notes that the company is "comfortable" with both hardware and software.

Additionally, he states that Microsoft fully expects to outsell BlackBerries and iPhones in the near future and points to a forecast of 20 million devices sold preloaded with the OS by the end of the company's current financial year, with as many as 30 million sold in the following year. Apple itself plans to sell 10 million iPhones in calendar 2008.

By Electronista Staff


  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005


    This is news?

    In other news, MS touts more vaporware and punts a product to try and keep up with industry-leading products that will loose them money over all...

    Anyone surprised by this? I didn't think so.

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999



    Why don't Microsoft just change their name to M2 or MeeToo? This "promise marketing" strategy is getting ridiculous. Here's a simple example: Someday my a** is going to taste of strawberries, does that mean that anyone should get down and kiss it right now? I don't think so! Get the point M2?

  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005



    and people say Microshit is NOT innovative! I mean common people...can't you see MicroMorons trying to the leaders here!!

  1. mgpalma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000


    Kicking back waiting for

    The WWDC Jobs Keynote. 2 hours to go...

  1. UnCal

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007


    Meh meh meh meh meh.

    I'm so used to silence from top-notch vendors that whenever a company goes out of their way to give you information on forthcoming products even before they've even been conceptualised, I get suspicious. At least let the hype build!

  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2004


    no asian font support

    After several firmware updates, new software and new hardware and the MS Zune still does NOT support East Asian fonts...even thought it would only require about 4 fonts to display Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

    MS told me that they would not provide this support until the Zune is released worldwide, yet Apple, Sony, Sandisk, etc all provide this language support. Guess what I bought...:)

  1. vasic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    I'm guessing


  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002



    regarding search engines (google) Ballmer said ms was not the first and might not yet be the best, but it will not be counted out. we just keep coming, and coming and coming and coming and coming and coming and coming; we are irrepressible on this,"

    yep, they'll buy their way into anything. no other company could afford to keep coming and coming and...

  1. chas_m




    After more than two years, the Zune can't even pretend that they're anything other than a year behind the iPod. There's absolutely nothing to them except "what has the iPod got? Let's copy that!"

    The one thing they came up with that the iPod didn't have -- that sort-of-sharing thing -- was so badly implemented it actually HURT sales.

    Path. Et. Ic.

  1. loudpedal

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Oct 1999



    About 2 years late to another party? Yup, right on time for MS. And even with all the extra design and testing time, it'll still suck. MS can't go away fast enough for me.

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