On the podcast a couple of weeks ago I chatted with Garry and Andrew about how surprised I was at CES I saw no sign of any Zune branding on Microsoft’s booth. In previous years a good portion of the stand was given over the Zune, showing devices and the Zune services but this year there was nothing. Over the last week there have been plenty of talk from Microsoft about Windows Phone 7 and the services it offers but again there seems to be little mention of the Zune. This has caused a lot of speculation that Microsoft are preparing to kill off the Zune brand and replacing it with either Windows Live or Xbox branding. It could be that they could pull the plug on the whole Zune video and music service but I can’t see that as Microsoft need comprehensive digital media solution to compete with Apple. So it could be that Zune will be re-branded, for example the Zune desktop software could be Windows Live Entertainment Hub (or something like that), replacing other media applications and then there could be solutions for phones, the web etc
This could also be related to a shift in power at Microsoft and how the Windows team seem to be the dominate force and having Zune branded as Windows could be part of that master plan
To be honest I don’t think the brand name really matters as long as there is a integrated solution and Microsoft promote and stick with it.