Microsoft has built the world's largest software empire by doing many things right (and a few things wrong). It has managed to branch out into other markets like the game console business, but ultimately, it's a business software company. Always has been. Always will be.
It is therefore with some amusement that I read on ZDNet about Microsoft's corporate hand-wringing over whether to continue to develop and sell the Zune, and what that might look like.
Let's face it: Microsoft is not cool. That's reality. It's an enterprise software company and, however much one may dress up enterprise software, it's still not sexy or cool.
Billions of dollars in profit, however, is cool, and Microsoft has that in spades. Sure, it risks losing out on the digital-entertainment revolution by not having a music delivery platform, but there are other ways to get into that business without trying to beat Apple at its own game.
In the Zune, Microsoft is playing to Apple's strengths. In products like SharePoint and SQL Server, it plays to its own. Microsoft needs to find a way to get into the consumer market without drowning in Apple's wake. The Zune is not it.