Steve Ballmer's recent statements about the Zune seemed to imply that it didn't have much of a future as a hardware product. Microsoft has responded to such suspicions: "Poppycock! Codswallop! FLAPDOODLE!"
Well, the actual response was a little less Victorian (as reported by Wired Epicenter):
"Basically, what happened last week, Steve [Ballmer] said a couple of things about the category," said Adam Sohn, head of Microsoft's Zune marketing division, causing speculation that Microsoft would stop making Zunes. However, he clarified, "we're not getting out of the hardware business at all," adding that Microsoft is "deeply committed" to continuing to its Zune hardware strategy.
For what it's worth, this is a direct statement from Microsoft—the crux of last week's Financial Times story was not found in a direct quote, but rather in a section of analysis. Says the FT:
[The future of the Zune] lies in planting the software and online service linked to the player in other devices.
Given that music phones have long since come of age, such a strategy—whereby the Zune is a software platform primarily intended for the multitude of Windows Mobile handsets—would make sense. But for now at least, the standalone Zune seems to have some time left. [Wired Epicenter—Thanks, Joel!]