Microsoft missed a golden opportunity with Zune and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
I want to buy another one right now.
I was an iPod guy. I liked the iPod and still have a fondness for it, but as I wrote about five years ago, I do feel like the wrong digital music player won out. And I definitely bought the wrong one. But the Zune is back, sort of.
At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, was presented with his very own Zune to replace his lost, much-loved Sony Walkman. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now here, and the Zune is in the spotlight.
I've joked on social media that it took until 2023 and a Marvel movie, but finally the Zune will be cooler than the iPod. But there's also an element of truth in it. The Zune is going to be in the spotlight, and having seen the movie now (don't worry, no spoilers will follow) I can't help but feel like Microsoft has missed a huge opportunity with this.
Where is the Zune? Why can't I buy one?
Surely there's a warehouse with unsold stock in it?
Obviously, the Zune is a dead product. But Microsoft is one of the biggest companies on the planet. What they've done so far with kinda, sorta reviving the Zune website is awesome, but I know that a ton of people are going to want to buy one now.
And the eBay profiteers are going to jack the prices through the roof. Just try and buy the Sony Walkman that featured from the first moments of the first movie. It's not even a high-end model.
This has been years in the making. The previous movie came out six years ago and it was clear from that point on that Marvel would be featuring the Zune in the next one. Six years in tech is an eternity to produce a terrific way to piggyback on this.
Surely there's a warehouse somewhere with a bunch of unsold stock? Or did they all get buried in the desert like that awful ET game way back? Obviously, the Zune software and the services linked to it are long gone, but where there's a will, there's a way. We've already seen one Microsoft employee show how to bring one back to life in 2023. Imagine what Microsoft could have done?!
The Zune HD I had in my possession five years ago, which, by the way, was still after it made its first Marvel appearance, has sadly died and gone to Silicon Heaven. I've always wanted to replace it, now I really want to replace it.
How good would it have been to see a limited run of Zunes released to tie in with the movie?
Or how about a new one with Android on?
Here's an alternative, radical, thought. How about a small run of new Zunes powered by Android? Microsoft isn't exactly doing well with the Surface Duo, sure, but nobody will ever convince me against the thought that if they did it, they would sell every last one of them.
Sony still sells Walkman hardware powered by Android, and unlike a phone, nobody is going to be screaming for the latest version or constant updates and new features. An Android base with a Zune app designed to mimic the old one would be killer. Especially since anyone with an Android phone could also have said app.
There's a reason that I'm not in charge of a multi trillion-dollar company, because I'd do crazy things like this. I'd dig up all those old Zunes from wherever it is they went, or I'd make new ones.
This partnership with Marvel is huge though. And it's not like it's a passing glance of the Zune in the movie either. You see it a lot. Star-Lord has it integrated into the ship, into Knowhere, he's always listening to it. The missed opportunity is large.
Let's not also forget that retro is in again. In the age of streaming, vinyl music sales are going through the roof. Vintage fashion is a whole thing. What's old is new again. I'm just sad there hasn't been more made of this. And that if I do want to replace my own lost Zune, it's now likely to cost a small fortune.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine