An accidental link to a Twitter account on the official Office 2010 mini-site has indicated a Zune phone in May. Although Microsoft removed the link following the incident, the Zune phone rumor just won’t go away.


If you have been avid follower of corporate accounts on Twitter, you may have noticed an interesting Twitter account linked on Microsoft’s Office 2010 mini-site last week. While at first sight there’s nothing out of ordinary about this account, a closer history inspection reveals this interesting status message that reads as follows:

“New product launch, that’s all I’m allowed to say. Hold off from buying an iPhone/Pre. :)”

On top of this suggestion that a Zune phone will become a reality sometime between Palm Pre and the next iPhone launches, other posts made by the account holder also claim that Office 2010 will be release for Mac as well. There is also post that claims that Word will be tightly integrated with Facebook and Twitter.

Shortly after the incident, Microsoft couldn’t deny or confirm the rumor to Gizmodo but Brian Seitz, group marketing manager of Zune, did tell the publication that the Office team “has no control or involvement with the Twitter account,” adding that it was a “rogue twitter.”

Microsoft has also removed the link in question on the Office 2010 mini-site, having it replaced with a link to a new Twitter account that looks legit. The account has three posts so far, one of them saying that the account “only stars Office at this point though, no Zune.”

We don’t know for a fact if Microsoft’s linking to an external Twitter account over which the company supposedly didn’t have “control or involvement” is plain sloppiness or part of a broader viral marketing strategy designed to hype a Zune phone.

One thing is certain: There are many people who would like to see Microsoft release both a Zune phone and Zune HD, an alleged  touch-enabled music player designed to take on Apple’s “funnest iPod ever.”

Christian’s opinion

With each passing day, Microsoft’s Zune phone seems more and more obvious, despite the software maker’s refusal to come clean on the matter. In fact, it’s Microsoft’s ambiguous stance on the rumor that adds fuel to tremendous speculations out there.

Taking a page from Apple’s book, Microsoft is, in my opinion, driving expectations wild by offering comments that don’t exclude the prospect of a Zune phone entirely. Alternatively, Microsoft could be cleverly using the power of the Zune rumor to draw attention to upcoming version of the Office suite.

Microsoft’s behavior in this matter is notably in contrast with other cases when the software maker would rebuff media speculations about products that weren’t in the pipeline. If you ask me, I find it rather unbelievable that Microsoft would link to a third-party Twitter account on the official Office 10 promo site. However, although problematic posts on aforementioned suspicious Twitter account looks real, it’s most likely someone’s practical joke.

That said, a Zune phone rumor still sounds convincing enough.We reported last week about possible leaked specs for the first Windows Mobile 7 phone that appears to run a modified version of the Zune software. Paired with jaw-dropping design, the handset looks like it could give Apple’s iPhone serious run for its money.

However, you shouldn’t definitely assume that a Zune-branded mobile phone will be necessarily built and sold by Microsoft as the company might be simply offering third-party vendors a reference hardware platform paired with Windows Mobile 7 and Zune software. To me, there is too much evidence pointing to a Zune phone to be ignored and Microsoft would be really shooting themselves in the foot if they don’t plan on releasing Zune-branded smartphone.

Published On: May 18th, 2009 / Categories: MICROSOFT / Tags: , , , , /