The Zune Crew has been very busy with the upcoming launch and some of these questions were asked three weeks ago.
Next up in the Zune Crew Interviews we have Bill Wittress the ZuneGuy who labels himself the "Zune BizDev guy" and states "I’ve worked in this space for 8 years. I’ve worked on PMC and PlaysForSure before coming to work for Zune. This really is my dream job". His current work seems primarily focused on developing the "Designed for Zune" accessories program. He is actively pursuing manufacturers interested in joining the program and has opened up discussion on what type of accessories we would like to see for Zune. We look forward to seeing some of the most requested Zune accessories developed soon.
Bill just finished up a trip to Disney with the family so as expected his Zune blog was kinda light on the posting but he maintains a loyal following in his comments. You can find out more about Who is BillWitt? in his post here. Let’s get on to the questions right? This is a zunemaxoriginal document.
1.) Has running the ZuneGuy.com blog been what you expected or more? Can you tell us what your goals and plans are with your blog?
Zuneguy is a lot more work than I thought. I wasn’t expecting the amount of care and feeding I’d be giving to the site. That being said, it has been a great way to connect with users. There is only so much market research you can do. This way, I get to have direct contact with people and hopefully get feedback that we can use in the next version of the product and the accessories.
2.) You have 8 years experience in the digital music industry. What do you feel Zune brings to the DAP market besides WiFi?
Zune really is about unifying the whole digital media experience. It goes way beyond just the player. Now, when you want to experience your content on the PC or on the Xbox, there is a commonality between them. That experience is echoed on the device as well. There is a sense of family now where there once was no connection. That family relationship may not be brother and sister, but it is certainly close cousins. That sense of connectivity and commonality is a feature unique to Zune.
3.) Do you think the sharing features will really bring music lovers together to share locally?
In a word, yes. There is no doubt that being able to share content wirelessly is a cool feature. I suspect folks will be skeptical about it until they try it. Once they do, the light bulb will go off and they will think it is really cool.
4.) What do you think will be the most popular accessories for Zune players?
Cases, speakerdocks and headphones in that order. Of course, people will buy cables and standard docks too, but the vast majority will buy those three things.
5.) How receptive have accessories manufacturers been towards working with Microsoft on the “Designed for Zune” program?
They have exceeded my wildest expectations. The partners are lining up to work with us. We literally can’t support everyone right now even if we wanted to.
6.) Is Microsoft offering a more competitive agreement than Apple for these manufacturers in order to have them build Zune accessories?
We don’t disclose terms of our agreement. That being said, we offer a very robust program that is beneficial for both parties. We’re not just going to extract a license from the partners and walk away. We offer PR, marketing and retail exposure that they can’t get in other programs.
7.) Do you ever see Microsoft manufacturing accessories or even hardware for Zune?
We do that today. We currently ship over 10 SKUs of what we call 1st party accessories. We’ll continue to explore new opportunities if they make sense for the overall ecosystem.
8.) You mention in your interview with Zunelicious that “the concept of GamerTags is reflected in the MediaTags in Zune”. Will there be Zune tag to identify users on the Zune network like the Xbox tag does for online gaming?
Yes. We have ZuneTags and you’ll get one when you install the software for the first time. That tag can be associated with your passport just like Xbox is today.
9.) How would you address those with concerns that Microsoft has or will abandon PlaysForSure? How can Microsoft fairly support both in the marketplace?
I find it interesting that just about everyone I talk to assumes that the decisions to support Zune means we don’t support PlaysForSure. Both can co-exist. Microsoft has a long history of supporting multiple projects. Take TV for instance. There is the MSTV effort, the MSNTV effort and the Media Center effort. All are TV, but each serves a different need. That’s the same with PFS and Zune.
10.) Is there anything you want to add that no one has asked of you yet?
I’m surprised no one has asked me about my efforts around PMC. Maybe one day I’ll show you guys the first prototype we built for Mr. Gates that I hand soldered (it still works by the way).
11.) What do you like most about working for Microsoft?
It is the people, without a doubt. There is incredible diversity and great debate. It is fantastic to be able to debate the details of a project and then have a great bunch of motivated individuals to make it happen.