Except that’s exactly what Microsoft is doing. While the kowtowed tech media keeps fawning about how fresh and new and “exciting” Metro is, and how Windows 8 is fated to turn around the lack of interest in PCs as a mature market that peaked sometime around 2007, the reality is that Metro (or whatever they are calling it these days) is a user interface developed for the Zune.
And the Zune was a low budget effort to develop an iPod. And its user interface was designed, not just under the constraints of Microsoft’s limited funding apportioned for the Zune, but also under the very real constraints of a low powered device charged principally with playing songs and videos. Because that’s all Microsoft envisioned for the Zune up until the iPhone appeared a few months later, making it look like a joke.
And when the Zune HD appeared years later to take on the far more sophisticated iPod touch, nobody cared because it offered no compelling value. It wasn’t cheaper, it wasn’t better at anything useful, and was really just a bit behind in a variety of areas.
And then for the last year we’ve seen seen Microsoft try to retread the Zune interface to sell Windows Phone, with disastrous results. The user interface, despite all the expert marketing trying to position it as fresh and exciting, is really just the results of trying to deliver a simple layer of web based UI over the top of functionally limited mobile device hardware.