The new Microsoft Zune HD is an interesting portable media player that is a valid alternative to the iPod touch 3G for many in the United States. Microsoft announced plans to bring the Zune video service to Xbox users around the globe, but there are still no plans to actually make the Zune HD a global product.
What is up with that? It is of course expensive to localize and market a gadget like the Zune along with the Zune service in Europe, Asia and other markets. But we are talking about Microsoft here. Microsoft is a huge global player with their operating systems, application software and of course their Xbox console and Xbox Live service.
Besides Microsoft's size and cash power, Microsoft already has the blue print for launching a product and online service internationally with the Xbox 360.
So what is holding them back to battle Apple not just in the United States, but also abroad?
To me it looks like Microsoft is not fully standing behind or believing in the Zune player. If they did I think the company would throw the money at it to launch it internationally. Update: Mary-Jo Foley at ZDNet actually reported last week that Terry Farrell, Senior Project Manager for the Zune, said that there will be at least one more generation of Zune players after the Zune HD. The report confirms that Microsoft is more concerned about building the Zune Service brand and sees the Zune players just as temporary product line until the Zune service is available on other platforms and device categories.
The Zune HD has been shipping since last week in the United States.