The Times runs a long Bizday piece today on Microsoft's fancy new MP3 player called Zune. The breathless article tells us not only how super! duper! amazing! the device is but also just how gritty, dedicated, and, well, real the Microsoft operation to build it was. There are many pieces of evidence offered for this thesis — an executive who uses merely "J" as his first name; the "creatively fervid overcrowded office space" in which the team worked, where on "hot summer days" the engineers "had to decide between lights and air-conditioning" — but one is by far the most convincing. It's the accompanying photos, apparently shot by MSFT itself and credited to it. With engineers and marketing execs who seem quite so, well, punk rock, there's no way these guys didn't make the coolest MP3 player around. And wasn't it nice of the Times to gamely run the company-provided photos that prove the point?
Microsoft Counting on a Twist to Make Zune Shine in Shadow of iPod [NYT]