This quote from a recent Steve Ballmer memo is being flung around gadget blogdom as potentially hinting at the reality of the long-rumored Zune Phone:
We’re changing the way we work with hardware vendors to ensure that we can provide complete experiences with absolutely no compromises. We’ll do the same with phones–providing choice as we work to create great end-to-end experiences.
I’m not really buying it. The theme of Ballmer’s email is the difference between Microsoft (choice) and Apple (end-to-end). Microsoft certainly does do things end-to-end with the Zune and 360, but this email was ostensibly about choice, and the preceding sentence makes clear that he’s talking about how they work with hardware vendors. This seems to be nothing more than a vague promise about continued improvement to Windows Mobile on many different hardware platforms, but has been bizarrely catapulted to Zunish zeitgeist by yesterday’s blog meme of mszunefan lasering off his corporate branding tattoos.
Or one, at least, hopes so… Microsoft must, at least, have the sense not to infect a possible iPhone competitor with the disastrous Zune branding.
Update: unwired has another Zunephone rumor, filled with unremarkable predictions like “It will run on Windows Mobile 7.”