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Reader Feedback: Cutbacks at Microsoft

As any partner knows, Microsoft doesn't operate in a vacuum. So when Redmond decides to cut costs, all sorts of organizations feel the pinch. Kelly wrote last week, the day Microsoft announced layoffs, to tell us that she was feeling it already:

"We were just informed today that our highly valued (and highly paid) MCS consultant was off our company project because as of today he is no longer employed with Microsoft. I don't have all the details, but it happened without any warning and right at the beginning of our Vista deployment."

Ouch. We don't know which is worse, Kelly, the fact that you lost your consultant suddenly or the fact that you're deploying Vista. Just kidding. Well, mostly. It certainly is awful timing for you, and we hope you can find a workaround.

We suggested this week that if Microsoft has to cut costs, it might be time for the company to get back to basics and scrap some of its more, shall we say, peripheral projects. We specifically mentioned the Zune as an effort that might be up for the chop. Well, that inspired Brian to deliver this impassioned defense of the uncool iPod:

"You made many good points. I have to tell you, though, ending the Zune is a really bad one. I know the market share is low, but they keep getting better and there is nowhere you can get so much for so little. Forget the cost and 'coolness' of a device -- it's the music that matters. Zune's Zune PASS feature is the way to go. I can't imagine paying for every song I want. With Zune, my $15/month gets me all the music I could ever hope for. If it's not available (which is fairly rare), then I can purchase it from them for less than iTunes charges. So, other than no options years ago, I can see no reason Apple has such a market share besides a whole bunch of Gen-Yers and Gen-Y wannabes trying to play the 'be cool in front of others' and 'me too' games. I have always been a cool guy, so I guess I don't see the need to supplant my true self and fall for the gimmicky gunk Apple is using to get 'be part of the crowd' somehow a cool thing to be. Nope -- Zune is way better!"

Gosh, Brian, we feel a little humbled here. Your editor is the owner of an old, original iPod that actually pre-dates the Zune. But we've always heard good things -- seriously -- about the Zune, and one of the guys who edits this newsletter simply loves his. It's not so much that we're anti-Zune, Brian, more that we're pro-enterprise technology and pro-stuff that makes partners money. But if Microsoft can continue to produce the Zune and still focus on the core stuff, we're all for that.

Thanks to Kelly and Brian for their contributions. To make a contribution of your own, fire off a message to [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on January 29, 2009 at 11:55 AM


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