Despite Microsoft's repeated denials it plans to release a converged Windows Mobile/Zune multimedia-enabled phone, CEO Steve Ballmer revealed in an interview with CIO that the firm plans to adapt the Zune software platform for implementation in the Windows Mobile OS.
'At the end of the day, one of the big trends is that all content is going digital,' Ballmer said.
'And if we don't have the software and services that are useful, helpful and valuable for the consumption of music and video, we are sort of not really a player.
"Now, we built the Zune hardware with the Zune software--and what you'll see more and more over time is that the Zune software will also be ported to and be more important not just with the hardware but on the PC, on Windows Mobile devices, etc.'
Asked by CNET News to clarify Ballmer's remarks, a Microsoft spokesperson said 'We've always said that software and services is a key focal point for Zune and it does make sense to extend the Zune experience to other devices. In terms of specific timing we have nothing to announce at the moment.'
Strictly speaking, Ballmer's comments do not contradict earlier remarks by Microsoft entertainment and devices division president Robbie Bach, who in a summertime interview with The San Francisco Chronicle maintained the software giant is not working on a converged Zune/Windows Mobile device in spite of rumors to the contrary.
'We don't make phones ourselves. We don't have any plans to make phones ourselves,' Bach said at the time.
'Our focus is on the belief that a phone is a very personal thing. Different people want different types of phones. We think that is going to continue, and we think Windows Mobile is in a great position to service all those different opportunities.'
Additional rumors surfaced in August that Nokia is at work with the Zune team to integrate Zune Marketplace content and services into its handsets.
For more on Ballmer's Zune software comments:
- read this CIO article