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All posts tagged "zune team"


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Zune Executive Chris Stephenson Leaves Microsoft

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 08:09 PM

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/08...-zune-business/

"With less than three weeks before Microsoft launches another salvo in digital music players, the marketing executive overseeing the company's Zune device is headed for the exit. Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Zune, is leaving the company to take a position at Universal Music Group, according to people familiar with the matter. One of these people said Mr. Stephenson will become chief marketing officer at Universal's Interscope Geffen A&M Records after Labor Day, reporting to the label's chairman Jimmy Iovine."

I had a chance to meet Chris Stephenson at the MVP Summit earlier this year, and he seemed like a guy that knew his stuff - but it's hard to know how his leaving the Zune team will impact the group. He would have been instrumental in shipping the Zune HD, so him leaving at the end of a major project but before the next one really spins up is probably as close to perfect timing as you can get. Who will step in to take his place? Hopefully someone that can steer the Zune team toward real success against the iPod - and maybe someone who has the boldness to implement features that the iPod doesn't have (removable storage slot, Bluetooth for headphones, removable battery, etc.).


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Microsoft Splits Zune Teams: Hardware, Software Now In Own Divisions

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune News" @ 11:30 PM

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10163257-56.html

"Microsoft has quietly reorganized its Zune team, splitting up the hardware and software teams, CNET News has learned. The software and services portion of the Zune team—the bulk of its staff—will be added to the portfolio of Enrique Rodriguez, the vice president who currently runs Microsoft's Mediaroom and Media Center TV businesses. The hardware team, meanwhile, will now report to Tom Gibbons, who also leads the hardware design efforts within Microsoft's Windows Mobile unit. The move was made on January 22, as Microsoft made its first-ever companywide layoffs—layoffs which also hit the Zune team, although Microsoft won't say how many people were cut. In an hour-long interview on Thursday, Rodriguez said the move was not made in response to recent Zune sales, but rather as the company looks to create a more unified entertainment business and gears up to expand the Zune service to be available on more than just Microsoft's own devices. "The goal is to make non-gaming entertainment a first-class citizen within Microsoft's business," he said. That means building better software and gaining scale "a little further out than just in Redmond.""

Zune/Windows Mobile interoperability was inevitable, and, as it happens, necessary. The integration of Zune with Windows Mobile makes sense, not just on a business or marketing level, as the two products share a common center; Windows Mobile needs to be more consumer-friendly, and Zune needs a larger adoption base. By merging the two platforms, we can hopefully see better phones and a more connected media player experience. There is no reason why, at this point in the game, Microsoft should have so many divergent sync and media solutions. It's time for these all to work together, seamlessly. Hopefully at the Mobile World Conference, starting tomorrow, we'll begin to see some of the potential for this reorganization, and maybe even an international release or two. And hey, anything that makes "non-gaming entertainment a first-class citizen within Microsoft's business" is a-ok by me.


Wednesday, November 1, 2006

David Caulton Responds to Robert Scoble's Post

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 05:00 PM

http://www.zunester.com/2006/10/scobles-post.html

"A lot of the points make me say "yeah, but wait a bit." It's not that we don't get Podcasting (Robert knows I'm among the loudest voices about Podcasting at Microsoft), it's that podcasting wasn't done in time. I don't expect anyone to buy based on my promises, but it's important to separate things we don't have at launch from comments about Zune's long term prospects."

Remember that Robert Scoble interview with Matt Jubelirer recently? David Caulton sure does, and he put together a few responses last week to the issues that Robert later raised in a separate post. Most of it is pretty standard rebuttal/agreement stuff: the Zune team is focused on mainstream use scenarios like music, not podcasting, there's nothing special about white headphones any more, and the round dpad is different from what iPod users are used to but ultimately very easy to adapt to and not a hurdle like some thing it is.

What really caught my attention though was in reading the comments: there's the usual flaming that goes on (pity, that) but David's response was worth noting:

"Man, how long do you guys think we've been doing this? I was in the room in January when we started whiteboarding. Yes, THIS January. We'll ship podcasting, and we'll call it "Podcasting" when we do."

This confirms what I've thought all along (and maybe this is common knowledge, but it's news to me): the Zune team is extremely new, this first generation Zune is light on features, and looking a whole lot like the Gigabeat S, because they didn't have time to do anything else. That might not be a great way to launch a foray into a brand new market, but it's better to try, fail, and learn what to do next time when to never launch at all. It gives me hope that wireless Zune to PC sync is missing because they didn't have time to implement it rather than not thinking of it all to begin with.


zuneMAX Interviews David Caulton

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 02:00 PM

http://www.zunemax.com/the-zune/zune-crew-interview-episode-one-dave-caulton

"When the guys from Zune started granting interviews we wanted to do one Zune MAX style. We decided to interview each of the Microsoft Zune employees with a blog in one huge interview but that may be too much. We figure there must be more then these three great people working on the Zune but these are the ones with Zune blogs and they were the only people that would answer our questions anyway. We could probably make this the longest blog post ever but you really want to get to these interviews. Theres some juicy tidbits of Zune information in here for those of us starved for some Zune news. Without further delays ZuneMAX.com brings you the first installment of the Zune Crew Interview series."



zuneMAX has an interview up with David Caulton that has a bit of history about David's time at Microsoft and his role on the Zune team. One interesting technical note from the interview: the Zune desktop software will apparently have the ability to manually set the cache size for transcoding videos. That's an important feature to have, because Windows Media Player 10 lacks it and I recently discovered 5 GB worth of temporary video files from completed transcodes.


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