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Zune - Microsoft Killer or Next Apple Victim? 159

prophet asks: "Now that we have all seen the new Microsoft 'Zune', and the suits over at Microsoft have seen fit to inform us of a whole line of 'Zune' related hardware and software products, my real question is, will Microsoft be able to de-throne the ever growing iPod phenom? With the current confirmed 'Zune' prototype photos dispersed throughout the net, it is hard to see how Microsoft has thought that the current design of the 'Zune' is in fact enough in its current form for users to be pleased aesthetically, and at the same time impressed by ease of use. At the current moment, rumors are circulating of a redesign of the controls on Microsoft's part before a complete release. With the current aesthetical design of the Zune, will it appeal to the masses in the way the iPod did? More importantly, does it appeal to you?
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Zune - Microsoft Killer or Next Apple Victim?

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  • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @08:59PM (#15896334) Homepage
    Zune - Microsoft Killer or Next Apple Victim?

    What, if anything, does that have to do with the content of the article?

    I doubt that Zune will kill Microsoft, although it does seem like it will be largely ignored.

    Apple's too entrenched in the audio-player market. Microsoft should pick a new territory to explore, and firmly establish themeslves in if they want to compete with apple.
  • Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KU_Fletch ( 678324 ) <<bthomas1> <at> <>> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @09:05PM (#15896349)
    When Microsoft leans to design towards waht consumers want instead of dictating to consumers what they want, they'll be able to take on the iPod. Unfortunately, to most people in their target demographic Microsoft nows stands for bad design, shoddy products, and unhip stodgyness.
    • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thelost ( 808451 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @09:32PM (#15896417) Journal
      I really have to disagree with you. The people in MS target demographic (lets assume 20-30 somethings, not necessarily technically minded) most probably don't have strong feelings of love or hate for MS, talk to someone on here and you will get some strong feelings but in other places people really don't care. When was the last time most people cared whether they ate nestles or not, but some will, that some is the conscientious minority. In this case in my opinion anyone who refuses to buy it on the basis that it's an MS product will be in a minority. You can't assume that because you are disenfranchised with MS that everyone is.
      • And I'll have to disagree with you.
        Pretty much anyone who has experience with Microsoft, namely through their crappy OS, has to be a half-blown system admin.
        They need to understand the nuances of OS updates, antivirus, spyware etc.
        In the MS world, the only ones not technically minded are our grandmas and sisters.
        • hmmm, if their OS is so crappy then why does the world create so much wealth based on its use? I am not an MS backer by any means (running multiple OS for different purposes at home and work (yes including windows)), but you just seem to be towing the anti-MS line.

          Plus, I have plenty of un-technical friends who own PCs and run Windows, to my knowledge they haven't had to brush up on their sys-adminning skills they've just got on with using their computers.
        • Re:Meh (Score:5, Interesting)

          by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:42AM (#15897079) Journal
          But, let's also remember--nobody knows companies.

          Look at the advertising for Xbox. The connection with Microsoft is subdued or non-existant--maybe a little Microsoft logo at the bottom of the screen below the much larger Xbox logo. Heck, there are plenty of people who don't really know/care about the connection with iPod and Apple (for that matter, there are plenty of people who don't know the connection between Macintosh and Apple).

          As I've said before, most people don't actually buy Windows. They buy Dell, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, or whatever. Windows is just something that comes along with it. When something goes wrong with their computer, they don't necessarily blame Microsoft--they blame the company they bought the computer from. Heck, how many people do you know who have used "Netscape" or "Lotus"? People don't understand these things, nor do they care.

          So I could see Zune getting the same treatment as Xbox and make it more of a brand unto itself. It makes sense, really. Arguably, the "Microsoft" brand has it's best recognition among corporations. The "Microsoft" brand doesn't carry a whole lot of weight elsewhere. So why bother with it. It's not the "Microsoft Zune", it's just Zune.
    • Re:Meh (Score:2, Insightful)

      by radixvir ( 659331 )
      You obviously haven't used their hardware products like keyboards and mice. MS makes some of the best products in the business in these categories and I would buy them for use with any operating system. Whether or not their portable media player will be good or not, I do not know. I will simply buy whatever I feel works the best for the price no matter whose name is on it. If the executives don't mess with the team designing it and if they don't encumber it with WMA-only playback, then it could end up being
      • Microsoft mice are dirt collectors. They need to be cleaned every few weeks. I have Logitech mice at home, and they never need cleaning.

        And their keyboards ? I don't know, I pick Cherries every day, for fifteen years already.

      • Honestly, I've had nothing but trouble with MS keyboards/mice.

        They cannot be used in my office, since they don't last very long. We don't have similar problems with Kensington, or Logitech (by far the most reliable brand).

        MS Wireless Keyboard/Mouse sets tend to last no more than 1-2 years before either the keyboard or mouse fails, which basically requires you to replace the set. I've never had a Logitech wireless set go bad, with the partial exception of one old, old wirless logitech (mechanical) mouse I ha
    • When Microsoft [...], they'll be able to take on the iPod.

      No, they won't. Microsoft is not hip. It will not be hip, unlike Apple. iPod is a lifestyle-device, and you simply cannot sell it with a brand like Microsoft. It simply is not cool. Sorry.

    • Apple did more than just design what people wanted. They designed what people didn't even realize they wanted.
    • Exactly! And consumers don't seem to want windows anywhere except on their PCs (and some not even there). I certainly don't want windows in a music player - or a phone, or a PDA.
  • Microsoft != Apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RLiegh ( 247921 ) * on Saturday August 12, 2006 @09:06PM (#15896350) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft has spent too many years chasing after corporate/enterprise appeal, whereas apple has always worked to maintain a hipper, more artsy appeal (which is all the macs have now they're intel-based, but I digress). For that reason, apple had a better idea of what the kids want, and the kids were more receptive to the ipod than they're ever gonna be to zune whatever.

    In short, MS has neither the credibility, nor understanding of what the market they're selling to wants (unless you consider "their market" to be the content industry, as opposed to consumers). It won't kill MS, but apple has no reason to loose any sleep either.
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Saturday August 12, 2006 @09:21PM (#15896391)
      . . .unless you consider "their market" to be the content industry. . .

      That is exactly where Microsoft see their market.

      This has nothing to do with products or services, Microsoft is waging war to be the default DRM source, to get a cut of every "media" sale from every source.

      They want one big check from Time-Warner, not a godzillion little checks from those annoying consumers.

      • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) *
        So....Microsoft can give them security, Apple can give them paying listeners. Seems like a simple decision to me, but this is the [MP||RI]AA we're talking about.
        • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Saturday August 12, 2006 @09:49PM (#15896474)
          The combination of digital encoding and the Internet have freed the reproduction and distribution of "content." There are people who have been making a damned fine living from controling said reproduction and distribution.

          You can't expect them to be happy about things. If they can't maintain a form of "natural" monopoly (given that copyright isn't actually natural) they'll take an artificial one through DRM.

          What might be less obvious is that they aren't exactly thrilled with Apple's paying customers either. They aren't making much money on it and Steve is emerging as an outsider dictating terms to the industry that depends on control.

          They'll be pefectly happy to play divide and conquer, playing Steve and Bill off against each other while they search for some form of DRM under the control of an industry entity, as per the DVD Forum.

          Of course if any of them win you know who loses.

      • I recall articles about some music publishers not liking the iTunes flat-rate price structure; so those providers may come on board. Also the Beatles (aka 'Apple records') have issues with iTunes (aka 'Apple omputer'), along with some governments. (France, I think).

        To me, the question is, will it be much cheaper than iPods?

        While I dislike DRM in principle, I'd rather use a license system from Microsoft than Sony, anything from a Cellular company would probably suck as well.

        Only other company I see being 'li
        • To me, the question is, will it be much cheaper than iPods?

          In ten years you'll be picking up personal media player devices as an impulse buy while standing in line at the drugstore for about twenty bucks. Have patience my child.

          I'd rather use a license system from Microsoft than Sony. . .

          How about, oooooooooh, I don't know, refusing to support any encoding format that isn't free and open? It's a simple plan, but it just might work.

          • I already have; picked up a 64 meg mp3/non-drm WMA player at Bartells for under $50.

            'free and open' doesn't meet everyones needs; e-mail is free and open, and innundated with spam. at some point it's worth it to pay a little for a step up in quality.
    • by c_fel ( 927677 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:29PM (#15896589) Homepage
      That could be right, actually. But there was a time where a palm pilot was THE thing. Besides, Windows CE was a joke. But now 50% of handheld computers are running Windows.

      I can't find a better analogy, and I fear that this thing is gonna work.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, 2006 @09:11PM (#15896360)
    Well, let's consider its features.

    1.) It has wireless.

    2.) It has more space than a Nomad.

    So this thing should be good to go!

    •'s Micro$oft! Evil! Antitrust! WGA! Security! DRM! Plus, it's got the added drawback of competing with beloved Apple.

      So the answer is: no, it does not and will not appeal to us, and in the rare event that it does, we wouldn't dare admit it here on Slashdot. :)
      • I don't know about the rest of Slashdot, but the shot of the interface was enough for me. It looks almost like a WinCE pocket PC. No thanks. I like the iPod because it does what it's supposed to do simply and elegantly. Nope, it doesn't have a port for an external game controller. Good.
    • Finally, since it will use WMA (when ripping CDs etc.) rather than MP3, it won't need an MP3 encoder -- so it won't be "Lame"!
  • by robla ( 4860 ) * on Saturday August 12, 2006 @09:12PM (#15896368) Homepage Journal
    Just like they've done with many other products (e.g. XBox), they'll persist until they build a brand in the market. Apple certainly doesn't have much to worry about with their first iteration, but its probably bad news for a lot of the second tier players. Over time, they'll apply more pressure to Apple.

    One question (with a rather obvious answer) is "do you see Microsoft exiting this market once they enter it?" Microsoft rarely concedes defeat; they just release a new version.
    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @09:22PM (#15896392) Homepage
      This really is the sad state of affairs when MS releases a product. The XBox wasn't that good, and lost tons of money, and yet still they released the XBox 360, which had lots of problems too. Many people bought the XBox, because it was marketed like crazy, even though it was marginally more powerful than the GC, and cost quite a bit more. It should have cost way more, but MS was selling at a loss. This is the way MS operates. They will be able to sell quite a few units, just by marketing the crap out of it, and underpricing it, making the difference off licensing deals. Still they won't understand why they aren't doing as well as they thought, and will release another one in a couple years, making all the same mistakes they made the first time, while the real competition still makes a pretty good profit without even taking any regard to MS. MS has no ability to give users what they want. All I ever hear about with the 360 is the fact that you can play frogger, and some game called geometry wars. Do we really want to spend $400 on a system to play 20 year old games? If people are only interested in playing 20 year old games, then the Wii is going to kill this generation, because it has the entire Nintendo back catalog.
      • I bought an xbox because I liked halo.. but that wasnt the only reason.. I make use of my xbox in a way which thoroughly infuriates bill gates, i moded it and now run mplayer on it ; )

        thank you microsoft, by paying you a little then I don't have to deal with you at all now
      • All console gaming systems are sold at a loss, not just the XBox.
        • Although you may be right, Nintendo and Sony both made money off their consoles in the end (after licensing and first party game sales). XBox on the other hand cost MS $4 billion, even with everything taken into account.
          • Better than that, Nintendo never lost money fromthe GameCube. Wii may be the first console they don't break even on, but Satoru Iwata has made statements to the effect that it will be less than $2 or $3 per unit for a short time until prices fall.
            • Depending on what you read, and who you listen to, it may be true that all consoles are sold at loss. The Grandparent of your post stated that this is case. Even if they are, it doesn't matter if you still end up making money in the end. Basically, I don't care whether or not any console is sold at a loss, as long as the company ends up making money off the venture, I'm ok with that. MS lots billions on the XBox, yet they were able to have another go at it, simply because they have so much money in the
      • Strongly disagreed. The Xbox was a new entry into the console playing field when the arena was already largely dominated by Nintendo and Sony, and in a few short years MS has bought themselves a very significant portion of the pie. The Xbox was a fine machine, and its reliability was no worse than the PS2. The GC AFAIK was largely known to be a solid machine, but both the Xbox and PS2 experienced significant drive failures. The difference here is that PS2 drives are *still* dying, whereas late-gen Xboxes we

    • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @09:28PM (#15896403) Homepage Journal
      "do you see Microsoft exiting this market once they enter it?" Microsoft rarely concedes defeat; they just release a new version.

      Microsoft is a long term company. They have been defeated at times (Bob, Ultimate TV and their internet-on-TV box are examples, they died pretty quietly) but they've managed to hold on to several markets. Their pocket OS is still around and now a strong player though in a weak market of PDAs (I think they are in more PDAs than Palm's OS), and there are a lot of Windows phones. There are definitely a lot more Microsoft-based phones than there are Apple-based or iTunes-based phones. Now, to compete against Windows phones, Apple would have to get their phone mostly right the first iteration, and the more they wait, the weaker their chances are.
      • Their pocket OS is still around and now a strong player though in a weak market of PDAs

        Weak? Don't you mean destroyed?

        That's a good example of how M$ style dominance does not always lead to M$ making any money. They and Intel used their OS "lever" and a slew of lawsuits to destroy Palm and other competitors in that space. What's left over in the US is a bunch of Windoze only crap that has yet to live up to the Sharp Zaurus or even the Handspring Visor. No one's buying it because it does not work rig

        • They and Intel used their OS "lever" and a slew of lawsuits to destroy Palm and other competitors in that space.

          No. Bullshit. Fact is, Palm devices were terrible compared to Windows Mobile devices from the same period. Utterly pisspoor.

          What's left over in the US is a bunch of Windoze only crap that has yet to live up to the Sharp Zaurus or even the Handspring Visor. No one's buying it because it does not work right.

          Even more bullshit. The Handspring Visor, compared to most of today's Windows Mobile devices,
          • No. Bullshit. Fact is, Palm devices were terrible compared to Windows Mobile devices from the same period. Utterly pisspoor.

            The hardware of the devices running Windows CE or Windows Mobile 2003 was better than the Palm hardware. Not quite as nice as the Psion 5 series of course.

            Everything else the Palm was better at.

            Windows Mobile 2005 finally is quite reasonable. Sadly it took 5 years for Microsoft to get there.

            I find it heinous that on a PDA such as the Dell X3x series, losing battery power loses everythi
            • Unfortunately, very few people understood the concept of the original Palm III/IV.

              A small device that allows you to access information while away from your desktop without requiring the expense / weight / size of a laptop. Not a device for watching videos on, or listening to music, or editing spreadsheets / documents in their native format. Even nicer was the issue that the simple black and white screen gave you 2-4 *weeks* of operating time on a single set of batteries (in the III series).

              You could,
      • "They have been defeated at times (Bob, Ultimate TV and their internet-on-TV box are examples, they died pretty quietly)"

        I'm not sure that any of those are good examples. They aren't product lines that Microsoft abandoned, just projects. No one else is doing Bob or Web TV. Ultimate TV has been replaced by Windows Media Center.

        Bob was an alternative Windows interface. Seeing as how Windows is still around, I wouldn't say that they were "defeated" -- just wrong about which direction their product was goin
    • Microsoft rarely concedes defeat; they just release a new version.

      That is rarely true. Historically, after a few tries, MS will resort to any number of illegal actions. That has worked well whenever it involved their platform. But once it it is a cross platform, then MS has not faired all that well. It remains to be seen how they will act.

      Now, with that said, I would not bet a penny in apples favor.:)

    • If Zune can play the same formats as an iPod and more, I'd consider buying one. If Zune's DRM is less restrictive than Apple's or I can choose where I buy, and thus whose DRM I use, my music, I'd be much more likely to buy one. The screen already looks nicer than the Video iPod, and I could see myself watching an episode of a TV show during a flight or something.

      Now, the important question: Does it run Linux?
  • Good Luck... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @09:58PM (#15896493) Homepage

    You're gonna need it.

    It won't succeed. They are aiming after something that is WAY too popular and extremely well designed. To get people off the iPod, you're going to have to pass it and that will be very tough with current technology (especially batteries).

    But let's talk about the BIG feature. Let's talk about something people have been wanting from the iPod for quite a while. Let's talk wireless. People say Zune will be able to buy and download music wirelessly.

    It won't.

    I read a report earlier today that said that was a misunderstanding and that basically the wireless functionality was to let you see what OTHER people with Zunes in the area were listening to. I read a little blurb that one of the low end MP3 player makers was looking at doing the same thing (only not using WiFi for it). Or are we supposed to surf the 'net on this thing too? Guess what, my PDA does that. So does my phone. And my DS. And my PSP. And my laptop. And that desktop over there. And...

    That is a BIG difference between telling people what you're listening to and buying new music.

    And I'm not surprised. To do that would require a ton of power. The WiFi on my Dell Axim X50v eats up battery life, that's why it's off unless I'm using it. You'd have to do the same thing, which would somewhat defeat the "buy music any time" idea. Plus, when downloading music (lots of data!) it would use a large amount of battery. You want wireless headphones instead? So do I! But then you have to keep bluetooth running which will use up power. Plus your wireless headphones are expensive and need batteries. Two sets of batteries to recharge and fail for the price of one!

    Watch TV/Movies? The iPod does it.

    Look at the proposed updates to the iPod. A touch screen? That's a little pointless (unless they make it into the new Newton).

    And let's not forget the iTMS lock-in problem. The people who spend the most on iTMS are probably the ones you want most (because they will buy from you/your partners). But they are also the ones with the most to lose from abandoning the iPod. So you have to give away free music for every song that they bought. Fun logistics there. And you don't think the RIAA will let you do that for FREE do you?

    Bob has $200 in iTMS music. He moves to Zune. MS gives him his music in their DRMed format. They just paid the RIAA the same "taxes" as if he spent $200 with them. Don't forget the hardware probably isn't high margin (like the iPod) and may even be close to even (so it's fancier for the $$$ compared to the iPod). You just lost money on that customer. What a way to make money!

    Until DRM gets outlawed, Apple somehow screws up royally, or batteries improve enough to allow some of the features not useful now (wireless, longer movie playback)... Apple will remain on top.

    Their position is just too strong (combined with MS's history) for me to think that Zune will change anything in the market any time soon.

    PS: I have heard Zune will abandon "Plays For Sure" for something else. Considering MS did that, I'm sure that the successor will be supported for a LONG time. Sheesh.

    PPS: Changing DRM to force everyone to buy a new player. Not something I can see Apple doing. MS might be considering it (given their market share is much lower but still...)

    • Wireless capability could be pretty nifty if it let you grab stuff off of each others players. Which is perfectly legal in the civilized world.
      • Well even with the RIAA around, I bet there are ways that could be implemented; and it would be a great feature. What if you could browse and listen to any song on my iPod, but only when you were near me physically. Once you left, you would lose files (they would only be in RAM). That would be a fun feature (especially when sitting in the airport or something like that). Best of all, you could make a way to mark songs you liked and take that list back to your computer to make purchasing easy.

        But it would b

    • "Look at the proposed updates to the iPod. A touch screen? That's a little pointless"

      No, it isn't. The point is that if you have touch-screen, you can have a screen almost as large as the device itself, without having to waste space for actual physical controls.
  • Just to note - the summary comments on the aesthetics of the interface (which would include both hardware and software parts), but the picture on the article it links to is clearly a picture of a third party online radio player called SiriuCE running on Windows Mobile 5, superimposed on the Zune. You can even see the original site from which the screenshot was missapropriated from []. I don't think anyone's leaked a picture of what the actual Zune software interface is go
  • Victom... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wvitXpert ( 769356 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:19PM (#15896555)
    Microsoft cares about features, Apple cares about implementation. That is obvious in their software, and I'm sure it will hold true for the Zune.
    Now I realize that many geeks share Microsoft's blind lust for a long feature list, but the general public wants something that works and is friendly to use. I expect that from Apple, but I'd be surprised to see the same in a Microsoft product.
  • Microsoft will probably work together a deal with its resellers such that whenever you buy a licensed copy of a Microsoft OS (such as with a PC purchase), you'll get a Zune for free. Apple is already doing this for students purchasing a MacBook (free iPod Nano *after rebate). It's the same line they took against Netscape Navigator with Internet Explorer.

    If everyone already has a Zune, why would they want to buy an iPod, right? Or if they've got two Zune's in their family, may as well go with the house-hol

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:30PM (#15896595)
    ...for one simple reason: The ecosystem of accessories that exists for the iPod.

    If you buy an iPod, nearly any kind of accessory you can dream up is available for it. Hell, most of the 2007 model year cars in the U.S. will offer iPod connectivity if not include it standard.

    Plentiful software and accessories for Windows is a big part of why Windows remains popular in the face of superior alternatives. Microsoft is on the wrong end of that now.

    As a long time Mac user who endured having to walk through the 90% of the local computer store dedicated to Windows crap to get to the few shelves of Mac stuff buried in the back, I have to ask, "How does it feel, fuckers?" :-)

    • As a long time Mac user who endured having to walk through the 90% of the local computer store dedicated to Windows crap to get to the few shelves of Mac stuff buried in the back, I have to ask, "How does it feel, fuckers?" :-)

      As a fellow Mac user... I nominate this post for "Post of the Year". Yes, Slashdot should create a voting system and we should have a post of the year.... just a simple CSS position vote link on the right of the "Reply to This" line. Give it an AJAX IFRAME load so I don't have to
  • Call me crazy but it seems to me that over the past few years (OK, a decade or two) innovation (not used in the Microsoft abuse of the word) has taken a back seat in favor of stagnation. Golly gee wow, someone else has manufactured tEh "iPod killer." Wow. What's this, the fifth or sixth MP3 player that is supposed to tank Apple's market share? No thanks, I'll pass.

    How about this, instead of trying to garner market share by imitation, do something original.

    I guess the polar opposite can be just as b

  • "Among the other things that got confirmed along the way are WiFi connectivity and drive-based storage for the initial Zune player, as well as a new PlaysForSure DRM to accompany, rendering this player useless to Napster and other download service users."

    WiFi? Cool! Err wait. I've seen this before, sort of. On my cell phone. Click this link to download $HOT_RINGTONE. Ok, now click this link and you'll start downloading it for real. Ha ha! One more link, I promise. Sucker! 2 more, no joke. And another link

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Zune will create history. The best MP3 player designed in the shortest period with highest sales when it goes on shelf during 06 holidays. Zune uses .Net compact framework so you can change and twist anything in the smallest development cycle unlike iPod which requires contacting dozens of arrogant hardware vendors.

    ZuneYourCar is something which some ofthe insiders are working on ;-)
  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @11:35PM (#15896832)
    As much as I hate the iPod / iTunes / iTMS monopoly, I have come to realize:

    - There is no iPod killer
    - Even if there were, Zune isn't it

    The iPod has what Google has - an excellent product with widespread brand recognition. Unless something else comes out that is significantly better (and, let's be honest, all of the competition to date has been lacking in the features that most users care about), the iPod will be king.
  • Zune won't be compatible with Microsoft's own "PlaysForSure(TM)"... How long will Zune last?
    Don't like iPods? Though I can't really see any real reason, it's possible.
    Want Ogg support? Samsung seems to have Ogg support in nearly all of their players.

  • Microsoft is definately entering this field way too late. They already allowed Apple to dominate the field. Had they wanted to seriously compete with the ipod, they would have released something a long time ago. Microsoft is much better trying to dominate a new field that Apple hasn't entered, then wasting money on this hopeless endeavor. This, unfortunately, is what leads to companies making products that just copy off each other and provide nothing new.
  • Ballmer's take on it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I interned at Microsoft this summer (horror of horrors!) and attended an event where Ballmer spoke to all of the interns and recent college hires. There was a Q&A session at the end, and someone asked him about the Zune. He said that at the beginning of this year Microsoft decided that they wanted to enter the music player market. They've been quickly working to pull together a product that they can get out the door before Christmas to start a "customer feedback loop".

    He all but said that he knew that

    • They've been quickly working to pull together a product that they can get out the door before Christmas to start a "customer feedback loop". [...] However, he said that they wanted to get a product out as quickly as possible so that they could start getting comments from customers and partners on what they wanted.

      as in past tense? what they expected from a product that they've already purchased? makes me want to run out and buy one!
    • "He alluded to the growth of Pocket PC"

      PocketPC got killed by Symbian and smartphones. If that's their idea os "success", I wonder what do they call a failure?
  • I find iPod to be restrictive and have features misaligned with my needs so the price is too high for what it does give me.
    I find Microsoft to be repulsive.
    So, no need for an iPlod killer here, I've already got my sight set on better options ( [] comes to mind).
    • A mobile phone with mp3. Why carry two bulky bits of junk in your pocket when you can carry one?
      • I have one. Problem is that the storage is less than adequate and most phones come with a hurdle or two which the manufacturer would like $ to remove. In my case, getting the mp3s on the phone (without re-buying them through the phone) required having a bluetooth enabled laptop as the usb support was locked out unless I purchased a windows-only software package.

        On the other hand, I do have fine storage on my watch so I doubled up there and listen to the mp3s through it all the time.
  • One of the big bullet points with apple users when talking about why they like the OSX more than Windows is that it runs Itunes so much better. I love my Ipod, but I run Itunes from a windows box and at least from the mac users perspective am missing out on the whole experience and my interface is just a bastardized version. I havent had any problems and find it rather intuitive but evidently I just dont know better. That being the case, I suppose there is room for an improved experience for those that a
  • Boy, that screen looks familiar.

    Zune is nothing but a Pocket PC with a hard drive.

    I've owned four Pocket PCs over the last 6 years. They've all had MP3 playing support. Most had Wifi support. But they aren't terribly good as MP3 players... the OS is too heavy and complex for a handheld, it very much needs to be treated as a desktop OS stripped down, not something built from the ground up to run an embedded application. It even runs programs by copying them from "file system" RAM to "program" RAM. Very stran
  • The MP3 player market is very young - so Zune has a shot. Like it or not today's market leaders probably won't be in a few years as the market evolves and hopefully DRM goes out with a whimper.

    That said, why you waste screen space with WinCE chrome is beyond me.
    • The problem is that currently there is no MP3 player market - there is a Fairplay AAC protected player market. As you can imagine, like Highlander there "can be only one".

      Until studios start selling MP3's of major songs there is no MP3 player market, not to most poeple buying players. Microsoft's attempt at an end-run around that by offering you copied of all your ITMS songs in the new Microsoft format is interesting but I think too kludgey for the average consumer.

      I subscribe to eMusic and like it a lot
  • 'This Week In Consumer Electronics' claims to have obtained pricing information [] from retailers, putting Zune at $299, the same price as a 30GB iPod.

    Tough sell?
  • When I clicked this thread and its article, I thought there'd be some new info, but the article is three weeks old. Why does slashdot accept lame stories like this (this one is lame because it's so old), and reject legit ones?
  • It will flop big time; 1) the name zune is not hip at all 2) the design is not hip at all (yes, the ipod has become more of a fashion thing) 3) DRM! 4) Microsoft is not cool a "brand" as Apple.
  • I had another look! You know, Microsoft is known as a Beige box OS maker, but why is their player Beige?!

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas