Smartphone Thoughts discusses a Steve Ballmer talk in London this week, in which the ever-leaky CEO mentions that the Zune experience will soon be popping up outside the traditional Zune ecosystem:

At the end of the day, one of the big trends is that all content is going digital,” [Ballmer said. “And if we don't have the software and services that are useful, helpful and valuable for the consumption of music and video, we are sort of not really a player. Now, we built the Zune hardware with the Zune software - and what you'll see more and more over time is that the Zune software will also be ported to and be more important not just with the hardware but on the PC, on Windows Mobile devices, etc."

To be clear, this is no longer “news.” I first reported this in the “looking ahead” section of my own Zune 3 Preview, in which I wrote:

“Zune isn't just an MP3 player and a software experience,” Microsoft senior product manager Terry Farrell told me. “We think about what Zune means as a broader entertainment brand for Microsoft. So, sure, we can and will expand and refine the MP3 player business. We'll expand the software and broaden it out."

"But we also think a lot about connected entertainment. And that leads to external partnerships with groups like Windows and the Xbox. They're happing now, and that will move us beyond the base of just device owners. All this stuff we're doing isn't just for Zune devices going forward. We want to make the installed base excited, and we think we've done that with Zune 2 and 2.5, and we'll do it with Zune 3. But there's more going on there."

When pressed about what these secret plans might be, Farrell just laughed. "Sorry," he said. "That's a conversation for another day."

Compare the two quotes and you’ll see this was well-known a month ago. In other words, nothing new, sorry.

Plus Smartphone Thoughts ripped off my GMAIL/IMAP graphic, which I don’t really appreciate. :) j/k