Noted: Zune is no more.
Zune was the worst idea ever. They could have zigged to Apple's zag. Apple built a fantastic music playing device. Zune could have made the best podcast player. There is a huge difference between the two forms.
5. You make lists of songs, you curate them, put them next to other songs, sing them, hum them, can't get them out of your head, listen to them years later and they bring back memories. You do none of that with podcasts.
We, who love podcasts, still make-do with the iPod when we should have a great podcast player. Now maybe podcasting isn't such a huge market, but maybe it would be if it had been inspired by a device made specially for podcasts? You never know!
What if Microsoft had said FUCK YES! to netbooks instead of "Oh well if you insist we'll let you use Windows, but you have to cripple the hardware, and when we ship Windows 7 you have to use that even though there's negative demand for it."
What a mistake to waste the two-three year head-start they had over Apple. They should have been blown away by the new demand for Windows as a mass market thing and helped the netbook makers come up with ideal form-factors, even subsidized the sales, all to capture a mobile market that they could use as a beachead to compete with Apple. Instead they're left doing a dead-leading-the-dead deal with Nokia.
Ballmer is a sales guy. Maybe he's a great one, I don't know. But he's completely outclassed as a product strategist by Jobs. And Microsoft should finally let go all those Windows coders, if they haven't already done so. They need to become a distributor and investment banker, and stop trying to compete in areas they clearly can't. And if they ever get so lucky as to have a phenomenon like netbooks land in their lap, don't let it slip away by being all corporate.