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iPod Has Nothing To Fear From Slow-Starting Zune 422

narramissic writes, "Looks like Apple's iPod has nothing to fear from Zune this holiday season. In a research note published Tuesday, PiperJaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster writes that 'during its launch week on Nov. 16, Zune held the seventh spot on online retailer's top 10 best-selling MP3 players list, and it fell from that spot to 13 on the list only five days after launch, on Nov. 20.' Even worse, only 8% of retailers surveyed by PiperJaffray recommend the Zune to customers, while 75% recommend Apple's iPod." The article notes Apple's 5-year headstart in the portable player market and Microsoft's stated intention to invest heavily in the Zune over the next several years.
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iPod Has Nothing To Fear From Slow-Starting Zune

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  • by The evil doctor Matt ( 847030 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:15PM (#17024062)
    The Zune is brown... Grandpa used to tell me, "No matter how much you polish a turd..." Poor MS hopefully Zune 2.0 ditches DRM, plays all formats and breaks all of the rules iPods live by. Untill then... It's the iPod for me!
  • by TrippTDF ( 513419 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [dnalih]> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:15PM (#17024068)
    Did M$ plan on having a flop out of the gate, planning on 2nd and 3rd generations to really go after the iPod? M$ never gets anything right the first time, so maybe it's not a big deal to them that it flopped?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      What about this angle... Make a useless piece of crap, enable lots O' DRM, give kickbacks to RIAA, lose lots of money... Take 2: Well sorry RIAA, we lost too much money and your way hurt our business model. This time around we are going to use no DRM, have a 200GB drive, play lots of formats and enable wireless sharing between all users. We'll also throw in the ability to download demo's and free singles at music stores for FREE. Maybe we'll also integrate it with Vista so that you can store your user
    • by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:01PM (#17024918)
      I downloaded the Zune SW with Firefox (that was an experience in itself). I then downloaded it with IE 6. Both on a XP box SP1. I was curious... the IE 6 download quikly, the firefox took a good 2 minutes.... now here is the interesting thing: the splash screen for the installon a SP 2 box has a background like a scene from Woodstock. The background on a SP1 box install that says "Zune needs an update" Your version of Windows or Zune software may need an update. Windows Vista support is comiong zoon (It can't tell XP SP1 from Vista?)... Ok the Background picture that honestly looks like.... a young oriental women being raped. Try It I am NOT making this up...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DingerX ( 847589 )
      I wrote up some conspiracy theory on this, just for the hell of it.

      It boils down to this: What about the ROKR? When that came out, people were digging up every possible excuse for why it was a good idea. Well, it probably wasn't -- but it did have some positive reverberations.

      Same for the Zune. It'll flop tremendously. But the Zune people have put WiFi on a media player. Their failure will scare off anyone else trying to do so. At the same time, they've suppressed their gag reflex around the **AAs so that
  • Maybe (Score:5, Funny)

    by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:16PM (#17024076)
    if it could have squirted ogg, it might have done better.
    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:38PM (#17024484)
      Don't kid yourself. It might have sold better in the FOSS-supporting Windows market, but that's not a huge market. The Zune would have been helped by having PlaysForSure compatibility, and Linux/Mac compatibility. Ogg is going to be at best 1% of the market, and it's going to be the 1% least likely to buy anything Microsoft.
  • Honestly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MiKM ( 752717 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:17PM (#17024112)
    Did anybody seriously expect the Zune to gain a lot of market share?
  • Well... ok (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aqua OS X ( 458522 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:18PM (#17024122)
    How many Windows iPods were sold a few weeks after they hit the market?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BeerCat ( 685972 )
      How many Windows iPods were sold a few weeks after they hit the market?

      Enough, obviously.
    • by amightywind ( 691887 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:27PM (#17024288) Journal
      How many Windows iPods were sold a few weeks after they hit the market?

      I had every intention of flaming you, but you are right. These sales figures [] show that it took over a year for iPod to really take off.

      • by Smallest ( 26153 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:51PM (#17024726)
        part of that long ramp-up is the simple fact that it took time for people to catch on to the idea of a portable MP3 player - from any manufacturer. Zune doesn't have that particular problem; the market is well-established.
        • Bzz, wrong answer (Score:5, Insightful)

          by patio11 ( 857072 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:24PM (#17026396)
          MP3 players existed before the iPod and they were *commodity hardware* no less. Apple said "Screw that, this is a style item, not a pocket radio", and made the MP3 player *cool*, then charged a couple hundred dollars more than the Asian consumer electronics giants were charging. And proceeded to beat the living who-hah out of them. (The original iPod was $400 back in 2001. The Nomad Jukebox, which also had a hard drive, sold for about $250. Ever heard of it? Me neither. There were dozens of flash-based MP3 players, all capping at $250. Some of the popular models were in the $160 range.)

          See generally ons/2100-1040_3-274821.html [] for a blast from the past.

          So here is the problem for Zune: there was a "portable MP3 player market". It was tiny. There is still a "portable MP3 player market", and its still tiny. And then there is an iPod market. Apple owns the concept like Nintendo used to own "video game console" (come on, how many of you have mothers who said that the Playstation was "The new Nintendo?").
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dangitman ( 862676 )
        And what happened a little more than a year after the Windows-compatible iPod was released?

        iTunes for Windows was released. Before that, it shipped with MusicMatch Jukebox. iTunes was half of what made the iPod such a compelling solution. So, it wasn't really until iTunes that Windows users could get a "real" iPod.

    • Re:Well... ok (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:36PM (#17024432)
      That's a totally different issue though. Back then, MP3 players were relatively rare. Today, almost everyone has at least played with one (if they don't own one), and there are tens of millions on the streets (in the US alone). Back then, iPod sales were slow because MP3 player sales were slow.
      • The thing to look at is market share, not units sold. You want to see how many iPods were sold relative to the number other PMPs sold.
        I'm fairly sure the iPod was not dominating the Windows PMP market 2 weeks after the Windows iPod hit the shelves.

    • Many. Users up to that point were using Mac iPods and buying 3rd party software just to make them work. The Windows upgrade was a highly requested model. AFAIK, no one requested the Zune.
  • by Buzz_Litebeer ( 539463 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:19PM (#17024148) Journal
    Unfortunately the Zune seems to offer very little, and the feature that it should be known for takes a LONG time to implement. Sharing a song with another zune is as easy as the path the pinball takes on the sesame street number song.

    It takes like a minute to share (squirt) a zune song [] []

    The thing I was wondering is this. I do not mind the squirting feature, it seems neat and probably could have been implemented in a more intuitive way (IE have a squirt button instead of traversing 3 menus and a submenu) but the idea itself is "ok." Though I do have a problem with "squirting" a song in reference to a player that looks like it was molded in shit.

    So they have some possibilities for cool features! They have wireless... why do they not leverage it in more interesting ways.

    As you can see in the video they can see other zune players, in fact it seems incredibly intuitive.

    Now lets say that it is true wifi and could probably support 5 or 6 streams coming out of it... why do they not have some kind of "Zune broadcast" feature were people can look at zunes, see what they are broadcasting or who they are listening too, and let people tap into the music that way... maybe even have some sort of re-broadcast peer to peer feature were each zune re-broadcasts what it is playing if someone wants to listen to the same song...

    This way if you knew a lot of zune friends you could have them sample the song before you squirt it into their zune... though even talking about the zune and squirting makes me kind of uncomfortable.

    Also, since it has wifi, why do they not provide a program that lets your computer do the same thing... IE submit to someones current audio stream.

    This is even "better" than bringing an ipod to a club and having them plug it in, you just bring your zune in, start your stream and the DJ could link into it. OR you could go to your house, have your computer plugged into a nice sound system, and have it plug into what your zune is playing, this would allow you to use the zune as sort of a music remote control were you have a nice interface in your hand.

    Or it could be used the other way around, the computer could transmit music and the zune could log in and see the music being transmitted... Microsoft even has Media center edition which would be perfect for this kind of thing, or it could be a plug in to their current media player. This way people could come over, log their zunes into your computer network and listen to music rocking down the line.

    Maybe internet radio, walk into a wifi cafe, set up your zune, and listen to radio streaming from a remote radio station that is on-line, NPR for example (though you might want to find one to your tastes ofc).

    How about wireless synchronization with podcasts? Walk into a wifi area and hit "sync" and have it sync with all the podcasts you are behind on and then tell you which ones you haven't listened to yet.

    Maybe they could work with an online video provider similar to youtube and hook up a method to stream user videos to the zune in an easy fashion, something that would nearly be a killer app for anything.

    Imagine a youtube branded mediaplayer with wireless access (maybe even work with phone companies for EVDO support) were someone could log into youtube and download youtube videos right to their phone.

    I mean, the possibilities are ENDLESS and OBVIOUS. You merely have to think "man what would I love to do with a wireless capable player that can be locked into a major brand and legally buy music for" etc... and it seems Microsoft chose one interesting feature to focus on and implement poorly (squirting) and then made it so that the player broke every compatibility rule that you can think of, and made a SONY mistake were it changes format and requires that you re-purchase to play.

    In the end you have to ask yourself "WTF"

    and note, all of this is without the criticism of making blood contracts with record companies etc... it is saying "here are the things you made me hope you would provide, then you provided... this"

    • Great list of ideas. Going with just one or two of any of those ideas would be a huge improvement over what they released. All of those ideas are perfectly feasible with the current technology available. It's just a matter of someone offering it in the proper form factor. In fact, just today I read that Verizon has taken your youtube idea already. You can now log in to youtube through Verizon's Vcast service and both view and submit videos from your Vcast enabled Mobile phone.
    • The obvious feature to me would be some kind of short-range instant messaging. Of course, entering text with so few buttons could be tricky.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by bobringer ( 1003150 )
        The obvious feature to me would be some kind of short-range instant messaging. Of course, entering text with so few buttons could be tricky.
        That's been invented already... it's called speech
    • Broadcasting music openly to local peers via wireless? Allowing (possibly) anonymous connections via wifi?

      if MS caved so badly as to give the RIAA a kickback on every unit sold with the premise that they would be used for illegal means, why on earth would you think they would enable such features that almost beg for copyright infringement (as the RIAA sees it)???
      • Live broadcasts would not matter, and if they were sharing anonymously, they could always enforce the "3 day" rule and wrap the DRM around the file, and then offer it for sale.

        All of my suggestions would allow for on the fly DRM to be in place that would limit the time and play availability of files. I am not suggesting going against the RIAA, I am suggesting making a more useful and interesting product while protecting copyright holder interest.

        The only thing I would argue for is that if a piece of music
    • WiFi Buzz (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 )
      The reason they probably don't yet stream music is because they've not yet solved the WiFi buzz (audio noise) you get from enabling wireless on a Zune...

      Read about it on a blog that listed the top ten ways Microsoft could improve the Zune.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Agripa ( 139780 )
        Operating an RF transmitter in proximity to an audio amplifier without creating audible artifacts is a non trivial engineering exercise. Not only do you have to worry about the obvious sources of interference through the input and power supply lines but the output stages can be affected through the output leads. Usually the interference mechanism is AM rectification by PN junctions. The WiFi signal itself is probably not the problem but turning the transmitter on and off is a form of AM modulation. Cell
  • Seriously. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by windex ( 92715 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:19PM (#17024150) Homepage
    The iPod has remained relativley the same across all releases. It still does then what it does now. It still works in generally the same way.

    If Microsoft wants to touch that, they need an interface most people understand and prefer to the iPod, and they need to STICK TO IT. Ease of use and knowing the tricks to an iPod are part of what keeps people buying them again and again. Knowing Microsoft every revision of the hardware will be wildly different from the last, breaking any device-bound loyalty people have.
  • by roscivs ( 923777 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:19PM (#17024154) Homepage
    Somebody posted this in a previous Slashdot story, I thought it was worth repeating: []

    Basically it ends up being an advertisement for the new iPod shuffle. Interesting to see how "the masses" are reacting to the Zune.
  • Give it time... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gentlemen_loser ( 817960 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:22PM (#17024216) Homepage
    Let me preface this by saying that I am actually a fan of Apple and I hope that I am dead wrong on this. But look what they did with the XBox, Web Servers, and Browser. Microsoft always tends to start slow with a crappy product and take heavy losses. Over time, they'll leverage Vista and everything else they can to turn the Zune into a household name. Apple is in a good position at the moment, but all it takes is one mistake.

    In my opinion, Sony screwed the pooch with the PS-3 and MS took advantage of it. With the war chest they have, they do not need a better product. They only need to be able to win a war of attrition.
    • Re:Give it time... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:54PM (#17024808)
      But look what they did with the XBox, Web Servers, and Browser. Microsoft always tends to start slow with a crappy product and take heavy losses.

      Xbox: Anytime a company is willing to take billions in losses to get marketshare, the product should be able to place better than 2nd place to the PS2.

      IIS: Even though it is bundled with Windows Server, it still is second place to Apache.

      IE: Ahem, didn't they get sued by leveraging their monopoly on this one?

      So far none of the examples succeeded on their own merits.

      • So far none of the examples succeeded on their own merits.

        If by success, you mean taking first place, then I agree with you. However, if by success you mean, "becomming relevant enough to harm competitors by taking advantage of their monopoloy on the desktop", then we disagree.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by badasscat ( 563442 )
      But look what they did with the XBox

      They didn't do jack with the Xbox. In fact, I'd have to say the whole Xbox project has been a colossal failure by almost any definition.

      They spent a total of more than $6 billion on the system. They have so far made back $2 billion of that.

      With that $6 billion, they managed to buy 20% of Sony's market share and about 10% of the overall industry's market share. Yes, the PS2 outsold the Xbox by 5:1 worldwide.

      The Xbox 360, now, is still being outsold by the PS2, and it's
  • The last time I checked the Zune was at #96 and at risk of completely falling of the top 100 Amazon list. 1549011/ref=pd_ts_pg_4/103-2463489-7006241?ie=UTF8 &pg=4 []
  • Ugly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 42Penguins ( 861511 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:25PM (#17024250)
    The thing is just plain ugly. Aside from the technical concerns (DRM, extremely limited wi-fi, sideways viewing) just look at it: brown, gray, or dull black. And it's blockier than even the 1G iPod.

    As superficial as it sounds, Apple has right idea for a big seller: make it shiny, make it smooth.
  • I wandered in to Radio Shack the weekend before Thanksgiving, and the salesperson there was trying his best to push the Zune on me, even though I told him I already had an iPod and was looking at the iPod accessories. All he had to say positive about it though was that the audio quality was "pretty good".
  • ...until Microsoft decides to "suck all the air out of the room" (i.e., buy up all of the shelf space in stores), just as they have done with their software products in the past.

    People buy from the front shelves, not the bottom shelf in the back.
    • by kalidasa ( 577403 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:53PM (#17024782) Journal
      I dare them to buy the front shelves in the Apple Stores. (There's a reason Apple has a retail chain.)
    • People buy from the front shelves, not the bottom shelf in the back.

      So, how do you explain the popularity of things like the Wii and PS3, before they were even on the shelves at all? How do you explain the popularity of the iPod before it was on the "front shelves."? How do you explain the popularity of Dell computers, which aren't even on shelves at all - yet is the most popular brand of PC?

  • Apple will have a chance to have wifi and FM tuner for the next ipod. If they do it, they can thank MS for the ideas
  • by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:40PM (#17024520) Homepage Journal
    Well, you can't compare them directly, but what about the 10 year head start Nintendo had over Sony? Ten years later, Sony has shipped over 110 million PS2's since March of 2000 ( .html/ []) while Nintendo sold "only" about 21 million Gamecubes since its release in September 2001 (pdf warning - []). That's a pretty big difference for a company that once held a dominant position in the console market but only sold/shipped one-fifth the number of consoles in the last generation.

    Like I said before, you can't compare the markets directly for a number of reasons, but you shouldn't count out a company that has a seemingly infinite warchest and is willing to spend it to strong-arm their way into whatever market they'd like.

  • Merchant Support (Score:5, Informative)

    by DLG ( 14172 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:43PM (#17024568)
    In the simplest terms, the Zune will not be receiving the best response from the merchants who might be pushing it during this holiday season.

    a) These merchants all have 100's of iPod Accessories. The nature of this is that if you sell a 299 dollar IPod, it will also create the sale of some other device, perhaps a speaker system or a nice little protective wallet, or some addon. Even if they would work fine with the Zune, the packaging all says 'iPod'.

    b) No impulse upgrade available. Someone comes in for a 30 gig iPod and may be talked up to a 60. The shuffle buyer ends up with a Nano. Maybe the Nano buyer ends up with a video iPod.

    c) The Zune is a new product from Microsoft. To most vendors that implies support issues. The worst thing for them would be to have to deal with returns. Microsoft waiting till this close to Christmas is probably to try to get enough of these into the market before the inevitable bug/virus/hardware issue comes up. They would prefer to fix it after Christmas to see big numbers.

    d) Grandma buys the Zune for her kid because a salesperson said 'its like the iPod but better!' and the kid returns the Zune for store credit to get their iPod.

    Basicly the profit margin can NOT be high enough to sell this at this stage. The question is WHEN.

    I will not propose any suggestions of how they could improve things. Clearly the fact that they have a wifi and fm radio in the box and an upgradeable firmware/software means they could improve these gradually. But the fact that they came so strongly with DRM that even makes my recording of my sister's karaoke performance self destruct ala mission impossible, does not bode well to the idea of a flexible portable mobile media center.

    The fact is that Microsoft should be big enough player to dictate to the RIAA how things are going to be rather than the other way around. Even Apple, substantially smaller, bullied them effectively.

    I haven't tried the Zune, but i also didn't buy an iPod until the Nano came out, and since I can fit my Nano in my shirt pocket and forget it is there, I don't see any comparison to Microsoft's offering.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The fact is that Microsoft should be big enough player to dictate to the RIAA how things are going to be rather than the other way around. Even Apple, substantially smaller, bullied them effectively.

      Bullying? The labels are making more off itunes than Apple is. I think Jobs found a workable arrangement that attracts customers, pays the labels, and manages to not lose Apple much money. If the labels made a bigger cut of the same amount Apple would lose more. If Apple jacked up the prices to appease th
      • Re:Merchant Support (Score:5, Informative)

        by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:15PM (#17025208)

        I think 'bullying' is too harsh a term. I do think Apple strong-armed the labels. After all, who else is bigger than Apple in the online music market? But most people agree with Apple on pricing. The whole incident on pricing shows how short a memory the labels have. Their attempts to make money on digital music failed for years. Apple came to the music labels with the idea of iTunes store and successfully implemented it. Their argument for fixed pricing was simple. If you keep the prices simple and low enough, most people will buy music instead of pirating it. The labels allowed it to happen and they made hundreds of millions without any real extra effort on their part. Then they want to raise prices forgetting why iTunes Store was successful in the first place. Or is it that they remember but they're just too greedy?

  • The real reason... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:44PM (#17024600) Journal
    The real reason (tongue in cheek) that the iPod has nothing to fear boils down to the ineptitude of many people who sell consumer electronics. FTFA:

    Moreover, some MP3 salespeople hadn't even heard of Zune, even though the players are being sold at their stores, he wrote in his report.

    Quotes from retail clerks cited in Munster's report range from them claiming they don't know what the Zune is, to comments that Zune is a good option if a customer does not use Apple's iTunes software.

    "To be honest, I don't really know much about the Zune," one clerk is quoted as saying in Munster's report. Another said, "I don't suggest the Zune because it is really heavy," according to the report.

    If these are the people that Microsoft is relying on to sell the Zune to the masses, they are seriously outgunned by the hordes of iPod lovers.
  • They have a (semi-?)annual "Wishlist" promo, where you can pick up cool stuff for cheap prices by madly clicking on a flash graphic and being one of the lucky first n people. Sharp 37" HD AQUOS(R) Flat Panel LCD TV for $900, 2007 Porsche Cayman Coupe for $5,000 and so on. Anyway, the Zune is one of the offers this year. Think it was up for 150 bucks. I still don't find it appealing. Picked up a 60G Zen on eBay for not much more than that many months ago, and it still seems better.
  • What real advantages does Zune really provide over the 5.5 generation iPod? Basically none. I went to Staples to check out a Zune and it is nearly twice as big as the iPod 30 GB and atleast $20 - $30 costlier. The wireless sharing capability is the only big feature but also cannot be used until the people I know have a Zune. And that too is a let down because you can't keep music for more than three days. It is similiar to the problem Sony is facing against XBox 360. Its new, doesn't have as many games as
  • I read someone else's impressions [] of it and went to Best Buy and have to mostly agree with what he says.

    I too felt that the Zune felt cheap and the button interface left much to be desired. Like the reviewer, I too own an iPod.

  • On the go alot? Don't care if you have massive quantities of albums with you at all times?

    Get a Rio Carbon! I've had my 5-gigger for roughly 3 years now. I used to use it when working on cars (I was a professional mechanic) dropped it upwards of 20-30 times. Thing still works PERFECTLY. Drag-and-drop, no software required. Hooks up using a standard mini-USB cable, 20 hours on one charge, can also be used out of the box as a portable hard drive...small as shit. Easily controlled using one thumb, MUCH
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:20PM (#17025300) Homepage
    What I want to know about that YouTube video [] is where it was made.

    The screen shows at least six other Zunes nearby.

    Is there any place in the universe other than the Microsoft campus that has over six Zunes within range of each other as of November 2006?
  • by Bertie ( 87778 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:05PM (#17026102)
    How hard can it be to produce a decent player, really?

    The market in portable MP3 players has been around for a fair few years now. The iPod runs the show because it does what Most People want to do, in a nice friendly way, and is brilliantly marketed. There are a thousand and one players on the market for Everybody Else, which offer more functionality, better sound quality, less DRM restrictions, lower price, whatever. Pretty much every single one of these competitors is deficient on the usability front, and most of them have some head-slappingly bad UI howlers that make you wonder just what the hell they were thinking when they designed it, or indeed whether they were thinking at all.

    And then, having had years to learn from everybody else, good and bad, Microsoft rocks up with the Zune. Oops.

    Why can't they, and everybody else, understand what makes for a good portable music player? Why do they give Apple such an easy ride? The iPod really isn't any great shakes, it's just that the competition is mostly rotten. With each revison Apple have done just enough to keep half a step ahead - for example, the rather fudged implementation of gapless playback that finally arrived with the last updates took away one of the main reasons why I personally wouldn't buy one (seriously, folks, if there's no gaps between the tracks on the CD, and your player puts them in, that is a bug. Fix it. And yes, I know MP3s can't really do true gapless).

    Really, Apple's market dominance is there for the taking. All it takes is a bit of application. Why can't anybody come up with the goods?
  • by hmbcarol ( 937668 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:18PM (#17026298)
    The Zune hardware is not too bad. Some reviews have actually said it's really pretty good. The problem is that you don't try to take on the market leader with a device that is about as good for the same price. Esp if it's larger, heavier, and has less battery. The biggest "cool factor", the WiFi isn't even remotely useful until there is a critical mass of Zune in the wild. If you want to squirt stuff from your Zune you have to find someone else who has one.

    But it's not flying off the shelves. It's NOT EVEN ON some shelves. It will fall off the Amazon top 100 in the next few days. The iPod is 5 or 6 of the Amazon top ten electronics sellers. The #1 at Amazon has firmly been an iPod for weeks. (Zune was #94 last I checked)

    And Microsoft has done everything right. They were able to convince the entire non-iPod MP3 player industry to adopt Plays-For-Sure so they could all be put out of Microsofts way at once and they STILL can't outsell Creative's player.

    Would you do business with them after they lured you into Plays-For-Sure?

    They were carefull to pay off the RIAA through Universal Music for each Zune sold. The RIAA gets their money when you pay at the cash register. That way people can know they are doing the right thing.

    Everyone who wants to send a buck to the RIAA by buying a Zune raise your hand!

    They did a lot of focus groups and their ads had the right mix of Black, White, Asian, women, men, young, and old in their "Welcome to the Social" ads which feature some kind of music player. Did their ads really inform anybody about the Zune? Why I want one instead of an iPod?

    They carefully came up with a misleading "points" scheme to cloud how much a song costs and to force consumers to leave a few cents on the table for each purchase. This is sure to appeal to the average buyer.

    The only one who deserves a Brown Zune for Christmas is Bill Gates.
  • by nobodynoone ( 940116 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:37PM (#17026578)
    Considering that the name "Zune" translates to "FUCK" in Hebrew... Not joking. []
  • by MrCrassic ( 994046 ) < minus caffeine> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @10:12PM (#17028138) Journal

    It's already pretty well understood that the hardware and legal limitations of the Zune are early shortcomings. However, I happen to think that one of its bigger shortcomings is not the player, but the advertising for it.

    I've seen only one commercial for the Zune, and it was the first time I wanted a refund of my time for a commercial. All I can remember was a dog wagging its tail and the owner asking it to go outside. The Zune was never shown. As a matter of fact, I cannot really recall any advertisement where the Zune was displayed. I mean, after looking at a commercial like that, it just begs the question of WHY? Did the owner want to go outside to get a Zune? Did its dog see one and get excited about it, thus sparking a reaction from the owner to chase it or something? If I have to do a close analysis of a 30-second or less commercial, what would make me or anyone want to research further into the product, let alone buy it? The "let's-get-lots-of-interest-by-being-enigmatic" strategy for marketing and advertisement only works for ideas and philosophies, in my opinion.

    Let me not even get started on what they think is "welcoming the social." I think that seeing some random Spanish (?) girl looking like she has other intentions with something cylindrical or an Asian girl seemingly fornicating (this can be looked at in so many different angles) makes me wonder what "social" I really want to be a part of. Using the verb "to squirt" to describe sending music or data doesn't help the situation either. Developers, developers, developers.

    Plus, it's not like Microsoft hasn't made cool advertising before. Its advertisements for Office have been pretty interesting, and so was its commercial for Windows Vista while it was still in beta. Why couldn't they do this with the Zune? Were they afraid that the RIAA would come down on them if they played a song or anything related to music?

    To be fair, when the iPod was first launched, I don't remember the advertisements for it exactly but I think they centered around the same theme that Apple uses today: showing people using iPod to listen to music. They showed people dancing, jumping, freaking out, going crazy, and doing all sorts of things that have to deal with the enjoyment of listening to music. Hell, when I saw those ads I wanted to dance. Plus, the white iPod looked really cool in them. No wonder it became a chic item to have. Hell, just for kicks Microsoft could have creative around this idea. Why didn't they?

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:56PM (#17028964) Homepage Journal
    Once again, Zune is NOT a product. Zune is a massive testbed for DRM that MS is examining at the behest of the music industry for subsequent inclusion in Vista.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.