In an SFGate interview running today, Robbie Bach, Microsoft's president for entertainment and devices, touched on many familiar points: Zune is more than a product, it's a platform, and because of that, we shouldn't be surprised if pieces of it turn up on other devices. However, as for a Zune phone or any other iPhone competitor, Bach stressed that there is a diverse array of Windows Mobile products to choose from, and added, "We don't have any plans to make phones ourselves." As for the old chestnut about a Blu-ray-equipped next-gen Xbox, he said, "That is so far out that there isn't anything to talk about." (He probably won't change his mind by tomorrow.) Update: Apparently there's some hullabaloo over Bach saying, "Just assume that over time where there's a screen, touch will be part of it." Is that a reference to a Zune Touch of some kind? To be honest, it's a fairly un-bold prediction, given the direction of all handhelds everywhere. So yeah, sounds like a touchscreen Zune will happen, but like, duh.
It was all business as usual, but with all due respect, I do have to beat Robbie up over a few other overly precious quotes:
On the failure of high-def disc formats:
You have to look at how fundamentally compelling the difference is between a progressive scan DVD player and the picture that it can produce and what you get on a high-definition player. The reality is there is some difference, but most people look at it and say, "I am not going to pay extra for that."
On lack of ad revenue as the main reason web-browsing sucks on most smartphones:
The business model for browsing on a phone has not gotten itself completely clear yet. In the PC space, the way people monetize the Internet is through advertising. Now in the phone space, we believe that advertising will be a part of that experience, but it's a different form factor.
On the future of handhelds:
We think the market is going to evolve to people having their favorite device that they are going to carry around with them. That device is going to do multiple things, one of which is going to be music...We call them mobile phones but in fact they are going to become much more than mobile phones.