Microsoft cannot compete with Apple using the same launch strategy. Apple is able to launch one device and entice millions of people to wait in line and thus ensuring plenty of press coverage. Trying to duplicate an Apple iPhone launch with the Zune phone will just be embarrassing. ie, Sprint Instinct and LG Dare... both decent phone and arguably have better features than the iPhone. However, because they are not Apple they cannot get the big launch or number of developers since their numbers will never be the same as Apple, thus the phone will come and go.

In order for the Zune phone to be viable it needs to have a big launch. However, given the above, what can Microsoft do to make sure the number of Zune phone devices in use and app developers present will be big enough to form a sustainable ecosystem?

1. Create a Zune application that tightly integrates into Window mobile 6.0, 6.1 and 7. This ensures that all carrier globally will have the Zune phone. It also allows current users to become Zune capable. Do it as a downloadable cab file or OS firmware upgrade for carriers that are willing. Tap into the user base. Apple tapped into the iPod users to add phone... Microsoft needs to tap into the WinMo users to add Zune.

2. Create a new piece of Zune hardware with phone and all the associated app built in from the beginning for those desiring even tighter integration.

3. Allow current Zunes to be firmware upgraded to be able to run Windows Mobile programs and thus games. This increases the number of potential install base for games.

Making all three available at the same time and will give Microsoft decent launch time press and numbers result. This strategy will ensure there are enough Zune phone devices out there to force developers to pay attention.

Obviously there are a lot of other details that needs to be addressed such as better browser, interface, centralized app store, etc. But that's the advantage of Windows mobile. You can chose which browser you want, which front end interface you want, etc. For those who do not want to do their own interface/application customizations, they can get the Zune hardware with phone built in. As for the centralized app store, there is no reason why Microsoft can't integrate sellers such as Handango or WM Experts store into its Zune application store. Basically turn it into a virtual mall with different stores.

There you go... global launch on all carriers. GSM and CDMA. Centralized app store virtual mall ensuring exposure for software and hardware sellers.