Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer just gave a shout out to the Zune business in a speech to financial analysts.
He did it in the context of talking about Microsoft’s seven core businesses — the Zune definitely isn’t one of those.
But as he said “Zune has been important to build out to power some of our devices and provide services.”
Specifically, the Zune music service means that Microsoft has an iTunes equivalent for Windows Phone — and it didn’t have to build it from scratch.
The Zune service is also available on Xbox Live, giving Microsoft a nice edge over Sony, which had to build its own subscription music service from scratch.
The point: Microsoft makes a lot of investments. Even the ones that fail — like the Zune device — sometimes add value to other businesses.
This is why it’s so important, Ballmer believes, to keep making bets on things like Bing, and to keep playing in both the consumer and enterprise spaces.
We’ll have more details from his speech when it finishes up in about an hour.
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