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I am choosing a product that I had direct interaction with, the Microsoft Zune. I know this product was a failure as a business venture but it was a massive success in my book. It got me through a very long trip away from home and kept me sane. I was not familiar with Apple products at this time and needed something to keep my music/sanity safe. The Zune was made to directly be in competition with the iPod. I think the failure of the product started at the beginning of the innovation process. Robbie Beach who was the former leader of Microsoft’s home entertainment stated, “We just weren’t brave enough, honestly, and we ended up chasing Apple with a product that actually wasn’t a bad product, but it was still a chasing product, and there wasn’t a reason for somebody to say, oh, I have to go out and get that thing” (Gilbert, 2019). The Zune struggled in developing a business effective strategy, how the product will affect consumers in the future and how this product will differentiate from one already in existence. The product itself had many contributing factors to its failure, I think the most important bad timing, the iPod was already seeing massive success as was Apple at this time. It is hard to compete with word of mouth. “There is little evidence that the Zune was of low quality. In fact, its users enjoyed the interface and audio quality just as much as, if not more than the iPod. But this did not change the wider perception that the Zune was not as good as the iPod” (Damra, 2017).
I think the best way to avoid product failure is done through strategizing multiple avenues for everything. This includes strategies for changing markets, supply issues, demand, society, and consumer feedback as examples. Some company’s lose focus on the product development itself, they try to skimp on resources and miss the opportunity in the market altogether (Carter, 2021). A couple of key ways to have a robust innovation process would be to focus on adoption and retention, being a consumer-based company rather than a product-based company, and having multiple strategies within each stage of the innovation process.
Blackman, D. (2020). 6 STAGES IN THE INNOVATION PROCESS. Retrieved on 20 November 2021, from https://bsisnc.com/6-stages-in-the-innovation-process/.
Carter, J. (2021). Avoid The Next Product Failure: Rethinking Your Product Strategy. Retrieved on 20 November 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/05/27/avoid-the-next-product-failure-rethinking-your-product-strategy/?sh=8c27c34ea7ad.
Gilbert, B. (2019). 25 of the biggest failed products from the world’s biggest companies. Retrieved on 20 November 2021, from https://www.businessinsider.com/biggest-product-flops-in-history-2016-12.
Shamra, D. (2017). Why the Zune Failed. Retrieved on 20 November 2021, from https://medium.com/@shiriendamra/why-the-zune-failed-132784522ff0.