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Microsoft Should Slap the Xbox Name on Everything

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Like a kid discovering the joys of honey mustard as a condiment, it seems as if Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) is dipping everything it eats in the Xbox name these days.

The Zune Music Pass is now marketed as the Xbox Music Pass. The Zune Video platform is now Xbox Video. Even the original Zune Music ecosystem is now being presented as Xbox Music to new customers -- even if an Xbox gaming console isn't even required.

The Zune Marketplace is still around, but it's being run through an subdomain.

"Xbox Music and Xbox Video are now Microsoft's music and video stores," visitors are told at the very top of the page.

Microsoft's move last week to beef up Xbox Music by making it available on iOS and Android devices is smart. Microsoft's own mobile operating system for tablets and smartphones is commanding just 4% of the global market. If the software giant wants to get noticed, it's going to have to get in front of the consumers who have already chosen Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) market-leading open source platform or Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) products. That's nearly everybody at this point.

Don't be surprised if the Xbox-less Xbox Music isn't the last thing Microsoft slaps with the Xbox label. 

It's been two years since Microsoft stopped updating its Zune line of portable media players. Zune was a bold attempt to make a dent in Apple's iPod market, but it fell woefully short. The Zune name lingers, but only because the brand isn't on the same level of failure as Microsoft's Kin smartphone or Vista flavor of Windows. 

Xbox, on the other hand, is a rare hot brand in Microsoft's arsenal. It remains the best-selling console in this country, and that will probably remain the case when the Xbox One hits gamers in two months. 

The Xbox isn't just about video games anymore. Halo fans may argue otherwise, but Microsoft's console has evolved into a multimedia hub. A substantial chunk of the Xbox One presentation during June's E3 unveiling was dedicated to the new system's video-viewing features. Sure, the enhanced specs will make gameplay even better, but if its aim is spot-on, we're going to be seeing the Xbox One as the cornerstone of a family's home entertainment system.

In that sense, it's perfectly natural to see Zune branding give way to Xbox products. However, why should it stop there?

Microsoft is paying $7.2 billion to Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) for its handset and services business. The move will corner the market on Windows Phone devices, since the handful of other manufacturers still weighing the decision to put out Windows Phone handsets will move on after the purchase is complete. Windows Phone will become more like Apple's iOS than the open-ended realm of Google's Android. Keeping all that in mind, would anyone be shocked if Microsoft puts out an Xbox Phone next year as a distinct product line from its Nokia's somewhat successful Lumia line of devices?

The Xbox Phone would bring all of the multimedia and gaming goodwill that Microsoft's been building into the Xbox brand together into making the device that the Zune -- or even the Kin -- should've evolved into anyway.

It doesn't have to stop there. If this month's Surface redo fall short -- and no one would be shocked if that happens -- do you really think we'll see Surface 3 next year? No. Say hello to the Xbox Tablet.

Why stop there? As PC sales continue to fall -- and it's mostly just hardcore computer users and PC gamers supporting the chunky desktops and rudderless laptops these days -- would it be a shock if Xbox PCs and perhaps even Xbox operating systems come into play?

OK, that last scenario may be pushing things too far. However, the growing reach of Xbox Music this month is tipping the hand of what the meandering tech titan is up to. The Xbox brand will continue to consume Microsoft's less successful initiatives.

Xbox is the new honey mustard. Dip away, folks. Dip away.

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Read/Post Comments (17) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 7:00 PM, lee654 wrote:


  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 7:10 PM, Speedracer69 wrote:

    To many Xbox fan boys running this pint size website. Sony is dominating Microsoft so quit giving these false sales. Can't wait to get my PS4...

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 8:33 PM, loops73 wrote:

    ps3 has never outsold the xbox 360 in any month since it came out. The ps4 will fall short also.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 8:38 PM, BobbyLite wrote:

    @Speedacer69 You should focus on your grammar and not the PS4. You are the perfect example of a Sony fan.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 9:27 PM, le2o wrote:

    Is there a problem being a Sony Fan? PS4 FTW!!!

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 9:31 PM, BobbyLite wrote:

    No, I understand why you are a fan. "PS4 FTW!!!"

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 9:42 PM, deputyspade wrote:

    This is the worst written article I've seen in a while. He thinks the xbox one will dominate the US in sales with a price tag of $500?! Uh, no it will not! History has shown us that the more expensive console doesn't sell as well as the cheaper ones.

    Loops, you obviously haven't been looking at sales figures. The 360 has fallen in to 3rd place in worldwide sales and that's after having a 1 year head start. They have indeed been beaten in quite a few months before.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 10:12 PM, techy46 wrote:

    Hmmmmm.. Xphone has a kind of nice ring to it.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 10:34 PM, moopert wrote:

    The only reason the Xbox is a valuable brand is because of gaming consoles. Just calling everything else that has no relation Xbox won't fool consumers into using your subpar services. The American consuming public isn't that dumb.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 10:34 PM, moopert wrote:

    The only reason the Xbox is a valuable brand is because of gaming consoles. Just calling everything else that has no relation Xbox won't fool consumers into using your subpar services. The American consuming public isn't that dumb.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 11:03 PM, Zatannux wrote:

    Xbots don't realize the Xbox has been living in the PlayStation shadow outside of the US. With all the early steam the PS4 has gained, not to mention a cheaper price tag, it's going to dominate the market. Don't start with the "Oh Xbone has Kinetic and TV stuff!" The PS4 has a optional camera that has voice recognition and motion sensor functionality and Sony has just signed Viacom and a TV service partner that's only the beginning of the extra entertainment features. Let's not talk about Sony Music Unlimited...

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 11:34 PM, kellenbmiller wrote:

    This is great because Microsoft is not giving up. It feels good to see that they are serious about staying relevant. My take on there new metro OS is that I like it. But while they are showing up with a colorful start screen the competition is showing up with fictional racy looking OS's. People are zombies. They can't see color. So you must trick them into thinking it has everything. Or that it will have in just one second. Nokia's camera is great. Now show me a thousand camera apps. Takes great pictures now show me apps like Comicbook and so on. And quit trying to not be like Apple. It is not working. Keep your focus on Apple, copy them. Just like google did. And wall la. Success. Or maybe they will conquer with out all that. I don't know. I am bias against android. I like Apple. So to see google copy them so blatantly. And give it way to ensure success. Pisses me off. Microsoft will not copy them and are being walked on because of it. Maybe?

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 12:32 AM, jcan1701 wrote:

    moopert, the xbox one is not a gaming system anymore. Its a glorified cable box, with gaming capabilities. Oh, and slapping "i-" in front of everything worked for Apple....even tires are gonna be called "iTires", so why wouldn't it work for Microsoft? kellenbmiller, you must be an Apple fan. Apple actually copied off of Google. Android OS was out about a full year before the Apple OS. I still have my first Android phone, and it sucks really bad compared to modern OS.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 12:50 AM, bugmenot wrote:

    You make it sound as though the Xbox was a phenomenal success when the Xbox venture had bled money for a long time and Microsoft is still second fiddle to Sony (and Nintendo) for console gaming.

    Microsoft should get out of everything consumer and focus on productivity tools and enterprise. Forget about the app store, forget about copying Apple when it comes to marketing, forget about the Bing search, forget about Windows phones and tablets.

    Ballmer has lost an entire decade, the war is over and Microsoft has lost. It's time to move on and stop throwing more money at a lost cause.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 2:15 AM, Bunnyking77 wrote:

    If Microsoft decided to use the XBOX name on everything, it would be a disaster.

    Sony has a better machine (50% more powerful as some game developers have stated) for $100 less.

    Don Mattrick the CEO of the XBOXone wing has left for Zynga after outcry from gaming fans, and Adam Orth, a game exec at XBOX was one of the prime example of XBOXone's self delusional rants has been fired.

    And the XBOXone was such a bad device at its E3 reveal that the US Navy wrote an article on how bad it was.

    When the Jimmy Fallon show had the audience booing the XBOXone and cheering for the PS4 because of it's DRM policies calling them a "show stopper." XBOX decided to change it's downright awful anti gamer policies.

    Jokingly the gaming community calls their console the XBOX one-eighty because of it's reversal of every one of it's policies.

    It's gotten so bad that Microsoft has hired a squad of PR guys to hack into twitter and tweet positive things about the machine.

    Microsoft won't fail, this article is a prime example. But XBOX is not a honey mustard, it is more of a corn laced excrement flavored dip.

    Don't let anyone fool you.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 8:21 AM, URALLFOOLS wrote:

    Mentioning Xbox in any article opens up the troll gate, doesnt it. MS has VERY deep pockets and this torch carrying mob "out to get MS" have no idea what kind of company MS is. Why do these children believe Sony is a bigger company than MS? Why do they think the Xbox is what built Microsoft to what they are? Because gaming is these kids' and is what they think put MS on the map. MS isnt going anywhere anytime soon in the gaming market. The Xbox One is continuing to build a head a steam after the reversal of policies for the One. Some of which were good for the consumer, some not so much. Both Sony and MS will have a difficult time keeping the two next generation systems in stock come the holiday season. It all comes down to a matter of which company can meet the demand. If one company falls short of reaching demand the other will surely cover a gamers needs as the disparity of multiplats vs exclusives has diminished.

    Unfortunately for Microsofts gaming division, gamers have a tendency to cling to the past and they will be hard pressed to try to change the "owning" a game mentality. Although with this generation of system, Microsoft AND SONY will be slowly changing that mentality.... it is inevitable... as it is the best sales model for consumers and for developers and for console manufacturers..

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 11:40 AM, techy46 wrote:

    xPad would probably not fly well?

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