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Heavily Discounted Zune Outpacing iPod Sales 407

firegate writes "Yahoo Tech is reporting that the Microsoft Zune, having been heavily discounted for the holiday season, 'is currently Amazon's top-selling music player, beating out the new iPod Nano and the 80GB iPod on the 'Bestsellers in Electronics' list.' An Associated Press report even indicates that the Zune's newfound popularity has left it in short supply, sold out in many locations. Is this a sign that a true competitor, from Microsoft no less, has finally broken into the Apple-dominated MP3 player market? And will this spell more success for Windows-media based music subscription services like Napster?"
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Heavily Discounted Zune Outpacing iPod Sales

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  • No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by b0lt ( 729408 )
    It just shows that Microsoft can afford to lose money to gain market share. They can't keep selling it at a loss and hope to eventually make a profit, since Microsoft's online music store isn't as comprehensive as iTunes.
    • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:43PM (#21545533)
      They can't keep selling it at a loss and hope to eventually make a profit, since Microsoft's online music store isn't as comprehensive as iTunes.

      I'm apparently confused. I was under the apparent misconception that both units played MP3s and neither required a music store to operate the device. Silly me -- all this time I thought you could use any MP3 on these devices. Don't know where I got that from.

      Aside from your comment about the music store, from what I've seen of the Zune (I don't own either an iPod or a Zune) it works just fine for a media player. Yeah, the color schemes are lame and they certainly don't have the marketing team that Apple does for their units, but money talks.

      As long as it plays music and fit in your pocket, cheap people (who happen to outnumber those interested in being hip) will flock to it. In addition, for you to claim that MSFT will somehow not be able to continue this mode of operation for a very long time, you're nuts.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        His point wasn't that it sucked, his point was that MS can't sell it at a loss if he thinks that music store sales will make up the missing profit. He proposes that the Zune music store is lacking.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Apple ekes out a small profit on the iTMS, but the RIAA gobbles up most of the sale price. Most other (playsforsure based) online music stores have discovered that there's no profit to be made.
          • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

            by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @05:52PM (#21547171)
            Actually, Microsoft may not be losing all that much money... I did a bit of digging into the sales rankings at Amazon, and what I found is interesting. The Zune is indeed listed as #1 in the category "Portable Digital Media Players". Microsoft has done it: they beat Apple at their own game, they've got a certified hit on their hands... right? OK. Go to "electronics" and sort by sales ranking. The top sellers are now:

            1. Kindle. (ok, Amazon, I admit it. I'm impressed.)

            2. Canon Powershot A57OIS

            3. Apple 4 GB iPod nano silver

            4. Garmin nüvi GPS navigator

            5. Canon PowerShot A560

            6. Apple 8 GB iPod nano black

            and so on... iPod classic pops up again at #11, iPod Touch at #18 and 21... Zune comes in at #24. WTF? Likewise, if you head over to bestsellers in the "MP3 player" category, you'll see Apple in the #1,2,3, and the 5,6,7,8,10 spots. #4? SanDisk. #9? #9 is the much-vaunted, reduced-price Zune... What's up? I think that Microsoft is playing one of the oldest tricks in the book, using the "in it's class" qualifier. For instance, you are told that the 2008 Chevrolet Pendejo is the cheapest, best-performing, and bestselling SUV "in it's class." What the ad does not tell you is that the class they're talking about is narrowly defined as the class of SUVs which get 5 miles per gallon, which can't exceed 45mph when going uphill, and which tend to spontaneously combust when making left turns. Tack on enough qualifiers, and ANY piece of crap is the best in it's class. Microsoft has it's Zune classed as a "portable digital media player". Apparently, iPods aren't Portable Digital Media Players, they're MP3 players, and there's some sort of really important difference, so the Zune wins the top slot... in it's class. Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but from what I can tell, this is some sort of scam cooked up by the guys in Microsoft's marketing division. Wow... I mean, I feel I should be pissed at Microsoft, but it's just kind of, well... pathetic.


   [] [] []

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by jordyhoyt ( 1013713 )
              Try refining your results a bit, perhaps looking at "MP3 Players" [] (which iPods do indeed dominate), but then selecting the subsection "Hard-Drive Based" []. Here, Zune takes spots 1,2, and 4 (Brown, Black and White, respectively), iPod gets space 3, and the Zen is 5th.

              Obviously this is some sort of evil plot by Microsoft.

              Also you might try looking lower in the "Portable Digital Media Player" bestseller list: iPods are there, just very low on the list.
              • Re:No (Score:4, Informative)

                by Karlt1 ( 231423 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @09:16PM (#21548477)
                "Also you might try looking lower in the "Portable Digital Media Player" bestseller list: iPods are there, just very low on the list."

                This was debunked months ago...There are no current generation iPods on the list. For some reason Amazon is not counting current generation iPods as a portable media player.
              • by GeffDE ( 712146 ) on Sunday December 02, 2007 @02:06AM (#21549873)
                The Zune does take spots 1, 2, and 4. However, the most recent generation of iPods is conspicuously absent...the iPod in space three is the previous generation. Where is the iPod Classic? So the Zune is getting spots 1, 2, and 4 on that specific page because there is a lack of current generation iPods. The same is true of the PDMP bestseller list: the iPods listed are the previous generation. If you notice on the first screen you get to navigating from Amazon's homepage to the MP3 & Media Players, the iPods are their own category. The conspicuous lack of any current generation iPods showing up in any of the 3 subcategories of MP3 (flash-based, hard drive-based and PDMPs) may be because Amazon has listed them as iPods, and not as flash-based etc.

                Also, how many people do you think get their iPods from Apple vs. Amazon? Does Microsoft even sell the Zune directly (answer: no)? So regarding on the sales from Amazon is kinda ludicrous...

                Regardless of Microsoft's involvement of it, anyone using these data to claim that the Zune is outpacing the iPod sales has had their reality cable become unplugged...
            • Excellent research! (Score:5, Informative)

              by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Saturday December 01, 2007 @06:32PM (#21547481) Homepage Journal

              You'll get banned from Slashdot for doing things like that, you know. This site is for prejudice and uninformed drivel only; Uncovering the real scam is bad form.

              It amused me particularly because I asked someone only today why JVC sell over 200 different current models of camcorders in the UK, and was told that it was because of the scam shops do which says 'if you can find one of these cheaper anywhere else we'll refund the difference...' - apparently each major reseller gets one model which only they sell, even though it's practically identical to all the other models which are exclusive to each of the other major retailers. This scam of Microsoft's seems to me to be a sort of variant of the same gag.

              Caveat emptor.

            • Re:No (Score:4, Interesting)

              by pankaj_kumar ( 581814 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @11:32PM (#21549169) Homepage

              The folks who follow Amazon Sales Rank over time know that the Sales Rank tends to fluctuate and one needs to look at them over a period of time to draw any meaningful conclusion. The chart at,B000H0QDCC/ [] looks at the Sales Rank chart for Apple 80 GB iPod Classic (Black) and Microsoft Zune 30GB Digital Media Player (Black) over last 3 months. Yes, the chart is live and compares Sales Rank for last three months from whenever you at it. The chart does show a spike in sales of Microsoft Zune during Oct.-Nov.'07 time frame, but then it levels off. In contrast, Apple iPod sales have been steady and better than its competitor for most of the time. The bump in Sales Rank of Zune could have been due to heavy discounts or special promotion campaign or both.

              There is another factor to consider -- both Apple iPod and Microsoft Zune are available in different models and different colors, and each one gets its own Sales Rank. So comparing Sales Rank by picking a single model, even over a period of time, is misleading. As Sales Ranks are not additive, you can't simply add Sales Ranks of various models (or combine them in some interesting way, though this may be possible with some advanced math) to arrive at a single statistic.

              I do a bit more analysis od Sales Rank charts of different iPod and Zune models in my blog post at [].

        • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

          by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @03:14PM (#21545831)
          Except they can't legally do that, unless they plan on always selling zunes at a loss, they would be in violation of antitrust legislation if they used an artificially low price to cut into the competition before raising the price again. They could do it and leave the price low, but if Apple isn't doing so well with the ITMS in comparison to the ipod sales, I can't imagine that MS would do well enough to turn a profit like that.

          That being said, with the amount of mark up on ipods, I would be surprised if the zune isn't still selling for a profit.

          Personally I'm somewhat skeptical as to how long this is going to last, but even if it doesn't last for too long, it gives the zune more exposure and the ipod owners a sense that maybe ipods really are as over priced as people say.

          The main point of this is to get zunes sold so that they can get a proper word of mouth campaign going. Contrary to popular belief the zunes aren't bad, while unpopular, the only person I know that owns one was quite happy with it last time I saw her. After talking to her I probably would have bought one, had I been in the market for a new mp3 player.
          • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Yath ( 6378 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @03:54PM (#21546147) Journal
            they would be in violation of antitrust legislation if they used an artificially low price to cut into the competition

            At which point the Justice Department would swoop in and beg Microsoft for a spanking, I'm sure.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Torvaun ( 1040898 )
            Actually, they can be as anti-competitive as they want until they start beating the iPod. Antitrust legislation keeps monopolies from artificially keeping competitors out.
            • Re:No (Score:4, Interesting)

              by DECS ( 891519 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @05:00PM (#21546697) Homepage Journal
              Wrong. Anti-trust involves using your market dominance to destroy competition in other markets, not just having done so in the past. If the US wanted open markets, it could have stopped Microsoft before it destroyed markets, rather than just spending millions to establish the facts and then doing nothing long afterward.

              However, Microsoft has already failed to use its market dominance to get PlaysForSure off the ground, and sure doesn't seem to be doing a bang up job with the Zune. If th company started dumping the Zune in other markets, you could be sure Sony and others would attack the company using local laws. That's unlikely, as Microsoft has no significant hardware sales outside the US.

              Apple doesn't have much to fear in the US from the Zune, as Microsoft can't manage to even sell the Xbox at a profit in volumes around 5 million per year. Apple sells ten times that many iPods, and the number is only going up. Sure some of those iPods are $200, but around a third are $400, and the iPod will add another 10 million per year. Compare Microsoft's greatest hardware "success" to Apple's similarly priced iPod business, and it is clear Microsoft has no hardware position to leverage. The Windows monopoly isn't selling the Zune or the Xbox.

              In media sales, Apple is at the top of music, TV, and movie sales--despite the fact that it hasn't even started offering rental movies or HD content. It's still #1 in each segment, with 60-90% of those markets. Microsoft doesn't place among the top four outfits that sell 97% of content downloads, even when combining its incompatible Zune and Xbox media sales.

              Microsoft doesn't have any position to leverage. It can't make hardware that works, can't sell it at a profit, can't sell downloads, and still seems to think rental music will somehow take off after ten years of failure in the market. On top of that, it has lost its leadership position in desktop operating systems, lost its effort to monopolize server operating systems, and can't make money in any new markets, including search.

              So on one hand, you're wrong about anti-competitive markets, but on the other hand, it doesn't matter because Microsoft is on the way to oblivion. Its 90s crown isn't going to be any good in a world where OEM PC licensing is increasingly not the primary way to make money and wield influence. That weird period of tech history is on the wane, and a new era of open competition will leave Microsoft's fiefdom as obsolete as Windows.

              Ten Myths of Leopard: 10 Leopard is a Vista Knockoff! []
      • Re:No (Score:5, Funny)

        by OECD ( 639690 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:49PM (#21545589) Journal

        Aside from your comment about the music store, from what I've seen of the Zune (I don't own either an iPod or a Zune) it works just fine for a media player. Yeah, the color schemes are lame and they certainly don't have the marketing team that Apple does for their units, but money talks.

        I have this sneaking suspicion that there will be a lot of forced smiles and strained "Thanks, Mom"s come Christmas morning.

        Followed by a spike in iPod sales the following week.

        • Keep that receipt Grandma :-)
      • by mcrbids ( 148650 )
        As long as it plays music and fit in your pocket, cheap people (who happen to outnumber those interested in being hip) will flock to it.


        How do you account for this product's relative failure? []

        I bought one a year or two ago. I love it. It's the size of my thumb, runs on a single AAA battery for days, plays mp3s and radio, has a mic so I can record whatever, stores 1 GB of songs (enough for a good jog, which is what I primarily use it for) and I can use it like a flash thumb drive with a simple 8" cable.
        • by karnal ( 22275 )
          Perhaps you mean a more direct link like this?


          Your direct link will take us to any of the creative mp3 players. I'm guessing you got a stone. Anyways, props to Creative - I've owned 2 of their players, and they've all been fairly solid; only problems I've had is this:

          1. Zen Xtra 30gb:
          a. Sometimes gets scratchy in the left ear on turn on - have to cycle power to get the DAC to reset (and it's not the well-known loose jack issue...
    • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:50PM (#21545609) Journal
      They could give it away for free to everybody who runs windows and it would not effect their bottom line. In fact, they could give one to everybody (I would guess that they would not give it to google or Linux users). At that point, how many music companies would NOT sell through MS?
      • by b0lt ( 729408 )
        Yes, but that wouldn't make any money. It'd also probably be violating anti-trust legislation, since they would be abusing their operating system monopoly to crush Apple.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That is ironic, that all the music companies, particularly NBC/Universal, want to run away from Apple, that runs it's online store with just about the same terms for music labels as any Brick-n-mortar, to Microsoft that is known for eating it's competition.

        Steve has done a great job getting people to PAY for music on line, and pushed companies to pull their head out of their asses so he can do that. Apple makes enough money to run iTMS and passes on more profit per song than labels get from CD's... what's
    • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

      by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @03:38PM (#21546011) Homepage Journal
      ...Microsoft's online music store isn't as comprehensive as iTunes.

      Not only that, but putting the music on the zune isn't as easy a task as setting up iTunes. I have a first-gen zune (brown, no less) and it took me over an hour to get the software installed and get ready to use the zune. Also, I got the zune second-hand and once I set up my software, I wasn't able to play any of the music that was left on it. It kept saying that I didn't have permission. When I asked the guy who I got it from about that, he said that they were mp3'd using the zune's software, so he didn't know why that was the case... they shouldn't have been DRM'd.

      I don't know if the new zunes fixed that or if the new zunes have a better interface on the device itself (I do know they haven't really gotten the desktop application any simpler. it's still a pain to use). The old zune is a pain in the arse to navigate and the only thing I really feel it has going for it is the larger screen, although I haven't put any video on it, yet.

      so, has anyone used one of the new zunes, yet? has MS improved the interface? The physical box definitely is much nicer looking than the original model and, from a purely superficial standpoint looks like it can compete with the ipods... at least with the general consumer population.
    • What makes you think they are selling at a loss? Are you aware that iPod nano's are speculated to cost less than 50$ each to manufacture? Sandisk currently sells 2GB players for about 50$ each and makes plenty of profit on them. 4GB and 8GB players are only marginally more expensive to manufacture.

      If you think there is less than a 50% gross margin on the "premium" players you are sadly mistaken. Their R&D dollars have already been spent. MS is simply cutting their gross margin on the player to maintain
      • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DECS ( 891519 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @04:17PM (#21546343) Homepage Journal
        The 2006 Zune was intended to be sold for $300, but Apple's price cuts last year forced Microsoft to sell it at $250. Even at that price, it couldn't sell.

        By June 2007, Microsoft had stuffed the channel with 1.2 million units. Retailers have been trying to sell them ever since, as low as $80. The fact that last years models, which Microsoft has already claimed having sold, are being sold at fire sale prices of a half to a quarter of the original price indicate that Microsoft hasn't made any profit on the Zune hardware.

        Last year, the speculation was that Microsoft would give away hardware with a rental subscription. So the OP is pointing out that no, the hardware itself is a huge failure, and rentals (or sales) can't even bring those losses into the black. Microsoft can't make any money on downloads. Even Apple didn't make money on downloads until it was selling millions of downloads per week.

        The idea that Microsoft backers would parade out the line that "the Zune 30 is outselling the iPod at certain retailers!!!" was predicted last week in:

        Why Microsoft's Zune is Still Failing []
        Last winter, I detailed why Microsoft's iPod Killer would fail miserably. This year, Microsoft will fail again, but for a new set of reasons. It is not obvious that the company has figured this out itself. Here's why the Zune will fail in 2007, and how Microsoft is painting a fraudulent portrait of interest that doesn't exist.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gnasher719 ( 869701 )

        What makes you think they are selling at a loss? Are you aware that iPod nano's are speculated to cost less than 50$ each to manufacture?
        You are confusing the speculations about "bill of parts" with "cost to manufacture". Not the same thing. And once you've manufactured it, it costs a bit of money to get it from a factory in China into the hands of a customer.
  • story is bull (Score:5, Informative)

    by friesandgravy ( 1086677 ) * on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:36PM (#21545459)
    story is complete bull. go check amazon, as of today, 1:30 EST, apple mp3 players are at places 1,2,4,5,6,7,8. the zune is number 9. (apple continues at places 11, 12, 13, 18 ...) []
    • It was at #1 a couple of days ago, and no wonder! It was priced so low that it couldn't have been above cost. Hell, I'm an iPod fan but I would have gotten that brown stinker if I was in the market for a music player.

      Note that the full-price second generation Zune is way down at #22... probably because it is competing directly with the iPod 80GB, which is #8.

      Right after Christmas might be a good time to pick up a solid-state Zune... they are currently coming in at #58 (compared to Apple's #3 Nano). I'm assu
    • story is complete bull. go check amazon, as of today, 1:30 EST, apple mp3 players are at places 1,2,4,5,6,7,8. the zune is number 9. (apple continues at places 11, 12, 13, 18 ...) []

      Indeed, complete bull. I immediately went to the list of top MP3 players on Amazon, just like you, and it is just as you said - Apple's iPod dominates the chart taking 8 out of the top ten; the first Zune is at #9, doing more poorly than even the SanDisk Sansa at #3. The iPod Touch seems to be doing very well at #5 and #6, contradicting TFA. This is basically the same picture I've seen every other time I checked Amazon's rankings, with minor changes.

      The issue is probably the heading on Amazon's page, "U

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ThreeGigs ( 239452 )
      Amazon's numbers aren't right.

      Overall MP3 list shows 80GB iPod at #4. This is a hard drive based player, no? It's the highest ranked HD based player on the 'complete' list.

      Yet, if you narrow it down to show only HD based players, suddenly the Zune is beating it.

      *Amazon* seems a bit confused, no wonder the press is too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:36PM (#21545461)
    Heavily Discounted
  • Minute to minute... (Score:5, Informative)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:37PM (#21545465) Homepage Journal
    I suppose it depends on when you look at the numbers as Amazon gives discrete periods of time when items are selling vs. others. For instance, looking at it now, the Zune is #8, well behind 7 flavors of iPods...

  • All I really want for Christmas is an MP3 setup where several tech podcasts per day get downloaded automatically onto an MP3 player, and I carry it to my mini-van and listen to geek stuff on my hour-plus commute every day instead of mindless music.

    being too lazy to look into it, I have remained MP3-playerless to date (even though our household has at least 6). Who wants to set this up for me. Pay ya.

    • All I really want for Christmas is an MP3 setup where several tech podcasts per day get downloaded automatically onto an MP3 player, and I carry it to my mini-van and listen to geek stuff on my hour-plus commute every day instead of mindless music.

      It seems like you might want one of these. I believe the new zunes have a wireless dock that grabs podcast subscriptions from your pc while it charges. not sure if the new ipod touch does that, but i'd be surprised if it didn't.

    • Re:mp3 to go (Score:4, Informative)

      by antibryce ( 124264 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:46PM (#21545559)
      iTunes/iPods have done this for a long long time. You can even subscribe to video podcasts if you have an ipod capable of playing it.

    • 1) run a cron job with your favorite command line podcast grabbing tool
      2) mount mp3 player as mass storage device
      3) copy downloaded files to mp3 player (rsync is nice for this).

      If you don't like the manual copy thing, then put the downloading software on the mp3 player itself, and have the cron job look for it (if it doesn't find it, then obviously your mp3 player is not mounted) to determine whether or not to download that night or not.

      I sortof do this, but my car has a USB compatible head unit, so I don't
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by MightyYar ( 622222 )

        Using windoze? Sorry. Not my fault you chose to use such an inflexible tool, but I'm sure you can find all of the above in some form anyway.
        Yes, quite a bit easier acually:
        1. Download iTunes
        2. Subscribe to some podcasts.
        3. Sync your iPod.

        Oh sure, you don't get to learn how to use wget or curl, bash scripting, cron, mount, and rsync. But you'll get to hear your podcasts.
  • by loftwyr ( 36717 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:40PM (#21545489)
    Will Microsoft be able to sell it through another outlet? What will be done with all the Generation One Zunes still on shelves? What percentage of these Gen 2 Zunes are being purchased by hapless parents who will see them returned by ungrateful children?

    For the answer to this and many more questions, wait for December 26!
  • by GarfBond ( 565331 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:40PM (#21545491)
    Why listen to a blog pontificating on something they know nothing about when you can go straight to the source? [].

    As of MY press time, Zune 80 is #9. iPods occupy spots 1,2, and 4-8. #3 is a Sansa of some variety, #9 is a Zune, and #10 is another Sansa. 11-14 are different nano varieties, and all the way at #15 is a Zune spot.

    Feel free to come up with your own crackpot theory as to why this is. My favorite is the Zune isn't popular unless it's dirt cheap.

    • by vidarh ( 309115 )
      It's worth reiterating one point you make: There are tons of different versions of the iPod on the list. Specifically, each and every combination of colors and flash/disk and model is on there somewhere. As far as I know there are far more versions of iPod's than there are of Zune's. So even if a single Zune model every now and again shoots to the top, it means nothing. Unless there are suddenly 10+ different Zune versions overtaking the various iPod models on an ongoing basis, Apple still has the upper han
    • by alanQuatermain ( 840239 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @03:47PM (#21546091) Homepage

      Okay, here's something interesting:

      • On the MP3 Players [] list, the iPod is doing really well.
      • On the Flash-based [] sub-list, the Sansa holds the top spot.
      • On the HDD-based [] sub-list, the Zune holds the top spot.

      Now go back and look at that first list, and take note of the iPods in the top few places. Done that? Okay, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to locate those same models on either of the other two lists.

      No luck? Okay, just find *any* of the current generation of iPods (iPod Classic, iPod touch, iPod shuffle (clip version), iPod nano w/video) on the two narrowed lists. In fact, I don't see the new Zunes on those lists either, when it's apparently at #9 (at time of posting) on the general list. Nothing in the top 12 places on the general list appears in either of the other two.

      So, it turns out there's a pretty simple explanation for this:
      Amazon hasn't tagged the latest generations of iPods or Zunes as either HDD- or flash-based.
      As a result, they just don't show in those sub-lists. And since the price-dropped 1st Gen. Zune is proving more popular than last-season's iPods, it appears above them on all lists of which they are a member, including the general list (it's at #15 right now-- the 30Gb Brown one). It just happens to place behind all the current models from both manufacturers.


  • PROTIP: (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hobbs0 ( 1055434 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:40PM (#21545495)
    Don't post articles on what is or isn't on amazons bestseller list. Because as soon as you do this, amazon will prove you wrong.
  • How would this spell success for Windows-media based subscription services, since the Zune doesn't support PlaysForSure?
  • predatory pricing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by m2943 ( 1140797 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:41PM (#21545505)
    I think that sort of thing is called "predatory pricing": pricing something below cost in order to drive a competitor out of business. It's frowned upon in a free market, in particular when a company uses one monopoly to support predatory pricing in a different market.

    Of course, given that Apple itself dominates the MP3 player market so much, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry...
    • Interesting - I assume you have some sort of basis for claiming they are selling below cost?
  • Competiton is good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ckwop ( 707653 ) * <> on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:42PM (#21545511) Homepage

    My key question is whether they're selling them for less than they cost to make. If so, then it's probably a dumping case waiting to happen.

    In many ways I welcome the competition. Although Apple seem to have a halo on Slashdot, they are every bit as nasty as Microsoft in this department. Apple want to lock you in to the Fairplay every bit as much as Microsoft wants to lock you in to Windows Media DRM.

    On a totally off topic point. Can you remove the flash ads Rob? They're fucking irritating and really cheapen the site. Even if I gave a shit about what they're peddling, you should know that many on Slashdot aren't going to click those things on principle. Get the marketing diarrhoea off the site please.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TomHandy ( 578620 )
      Apple wants to lock you into FairPlay? Then how does their move to iTunes Plus DRM-free tracks (with EMI, as well as being offered with a number of indie labels now) jibe with that? Apple has extended DRM-free track offerings to the other labels as well, but they haven't bought into it yet (because they want to try and build up competitors like's DRM-free MP3 store). But seriously, what is your evidence that Apple WANTS to continue locking people in via FairPlay? I can't see anything that ind
      • The sword cuts both ways my friend, Microsoft likewise offers DRM free mp3 tracks though the zune market place...
        • Yea, now that it's "cool".

          MS plan has always been to center all media around windows, everything they do is to further that goal. The only reason they are selling DRM-less tracks is they have to in order to have any chance whatsoever of competing.

          If the situation were turned around with MS at the top of the market, they would be closing things even further like always.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crankyspice ( 63953 )

      Although Apple seem to have a halo on Slashdot, they are every bit as nasty as Microsoft in this department. Apple want to lock you in to the Fairplay every bit as much as Microsoft wants to lock you in to Windows Media DRM.

      ORLY? "Convincing [the big music companies] to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly." []

  • by urcreepyneighbor ( 1171755 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:43PM (#21545523)
    Granddaughter: I want an iPod for Christmas!
    Grandmother: Okay, honey!

    Later that day, grandmother has a sudden attack of sticker shock at the price of the iPod and asks if there's something "like it" for cheaper. The clerk, with a "someone's going to be disappointed this Christmas" smirk on his face, hands her a heavily discounted Zune. The grandmother, not knowing any better, purchases said Zune.

    Come Christmas morning, the granddaughter rushes to the Christmas tree to find the box containing her brand new iPod. Upon ripping off the wrapping paper, she realizes... she got a Zune.

    At this point, she has two choices: demand a return for an iPod (usually out the question, since insulting grandmother may cut off any future birthday cash) or she'll feign excitement (a skill nearly all women are born with) and start secretly plotting to kill her grandmother.

    Moral of the story: if you're a grandparent and you don't want to die at the hands of your sweet, loving granddaughter... don't buy a Zune!
  • Things change (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jonboy X ( 319895 ) <jonathan DOT oex ... DOT wpi DOT edu> on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:45PM (#21545549) Journal
    At the moment, Apple has 7 od the top 8 spots on Amazon's MP3 bestseller list [], including their 4 gig Nano at #1. The 2nd-gen 80-gig Zune comes in an #9. However, you'll note that the Yahoo article's a week and half old.
  • Was this story written by Microsoft's PR department?

    See above comments where this isn't even true.

    With quality posts like this, I expect to hear that Slashdot fired Jeff Gerstmann any time now.
  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:49PM (#21545593) Homepage
    "Rate of Growth" is one of the most commonly "spun" statistics.

    For example: If I sell 1 widget last month, and then I sell 10 widgets this month I can make the claim that I have a 1000% month-over-month growth rate. Not only that, I have a "faster rate of growth" than every other major widget manufacturer/retailer.

    Obviously, rate of growth is clearly only a meaningful statistic when presented alongside comparative volumes.

  • Do you know how you can tell if the Zune is for real? It's when you see Wal-Mart running ads with a MILF saying that she didn't know that Wal-Mart sold Zunes and it's all her daughter wanted for Christmas. So much so that she carries it everywhere she goes, even when she brushes her teeth. Until that time, it's still an also-ran.

    I don't want to turn this into an Apple/Microsoft flame war (I'll leave that to someone else), but let's call this what it is. *Anything* heavily discounted online is going to s
  • by oDDmON oUT ( 231200 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:52PM (#21545629)
    Unfortunately for them, there is no way to recoup money on the loss leader Zune as there is on the X Box (i.e. games sales and subscription play services).

    This isn't the first time though, that Microsoft has gone with a one-size-fits-all strategy.

    It won't be the last either.
  • by Fear the Clam ( 230933 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:53PM (#21545631)
    People will buy ghetto versions of desirable objects if they become sufficiently cheap? My Coby CD [] player and I are shocked, shocked.
  • Old Saying (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @02:53PM (#21545637) Homepage
    There's an old salesman's saying:

    It takes no particular talent to sell a dollar for fifty cents.

  • A flashback from the past [].

    Please come back when there's some statistical significance to the fact. And by that I mean staying in the top 5 for a few days.

    This whole story is flamebait. Journalistic integrity vs sensational headlines.

  • by Have Blue ( 616 )
    No on the first, it's a sign that the Zune is competitive when massively and temporarily discounted but not at its normal pricing.

    And no on the second, because the Zune store is the only service that works with the Zune.
  • It states that the brown 30GB zune is on sale for $134, and that it is at the top of the amazon list. However on amazon's site, it is currently 14th on the list of top sellers and is priced at $189.

    The best selling zune is the 80GB for $248.99 it is in 9th place, behind almost every ipod model available. Of the top 10 sellers 7 are ipods, and 9 and 10 are 2 of the non-ipod players. that means 7 of the top 8 are ipods.

    I don't know how you can call this "real competition" or even "a" competition.
  • by Cyno01 ( 573917 ) <> on Saturday December 01, 2007 @03:12PM (#21545805) Homepage
    Most retailers will comp competitors ads. We managed to get rid of our stock of brown zunes (all we had left of the gen 1s) last friday because toys R us had them (specifically the turd brown one) advertised for $79. Hanvt sold any other zunes since then that i know of. Plenty of nanos and 80gb classics tho. The microsoft rep was in the other day to check our displays, clean the 360 display or something, i almost laughed in his face. Woman came up and asked if we had any Wiis, i told her no, we got our shipment of 10 for the week earlier that day and they had sold out in less than 2 hours. He overhears my side of the conversation and is like "What sold out? zunes?".
    • I love this kind of real-world stuff (provided it's true of course). It cuts through all the bullshit we get fed every day by PR hacks and those who pump it down the shit pipes.
  • I know Zune music players are ugly, big and made by Microsoft (which irks people) but it has wifi, I thought it would sell well because of that one feature. Sharing music over wifi with other Zune owners didn't happen though (restricted), maybe if Linux could be installed on it sharing over wifi in public may take off.
  • by bbzzdd ( 769894 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @03:21PM (#21545865)
    Amazon Sales Rank in no way represents reality. Just last week many members the HD-DVD rah-rah camp prematurely declared victory for software sales based on Amazon rankings showing HD-DVD titles outselling Blu-Ray by a large margin. In reality Nielsen VideoScan came back to show Blu-Ray taking the week 73:27.

    For the entire month of July the PS3 was in the top three of the Video Game category at Amazon, seemingly outselling even the Wii most of the month. The Xbox 360 was barely in the top 20 for the month. When the smoke cleared the Wii outsold the PS3 by over 300% and the 360 beat it by 11k units.

    Amazon Sales Rank is useless for comparing product sales.
  • Itunes still wins because the damn Windows Media Player does not have a save position option for audio files! This makes listening to audio books, podcasts, and radio shows next to impossible.
  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @03:41PM (#21546041)
    I wonder how many billions Microsoft plans to lose on this turkey? Billions lost over the life span of WindowsCE has purchased them a strong hold of the PDA market but is giving them problems in the SmartPhone market with Nokia's Symbian and Linux stalling that effort.

    Anyways, it isn't a surprise that Microsoft is dumping billions into this product and suckers are picking it up. It's not like they don't have the cash to dump on this and we all know there are millions of suckers willing to pick up a Microsoft product because it's cheap.

    The only thing of interest here is how many billions Microsoft is willing to lose to gain market share against Apple. They've crossed over the $10 billion mark to kill Palm about 4 years ago. But it's a laugh when the press talks about WinCE, PocketPC, Windows Moble, etc being a good product line for Microsoft. So if you're a MSFT investor, Zune will be a massive loser too. IMO.

  • If you want to avoid the DRM laden crap pushed by Microsoft and Apple, I recommend buying a Sandisk Sansa [] and installing rockbox [] on it. I can play ogg, flac, and mp3 music and even doom on mine.
  • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Saturday December 01, 2007 @03:51PM (#21546123) Homepage
    I said when they came out with their 30G player last year, they needed to sell it for $175 or less. Instead, they priced it roughly the same as the iPod Video, which is a losing deal. Many of the Zune's have been selling for about $100 for the 30G version, at which point you start to consider it.

    Now, they need to un-bollix the wifi sharing, add a Mac client, allow Plays-For-Sure subscriptions, and then they'll actually have a competitor.
  • Zune does not suck (Score:5, Interesting)

    by poppycock ( 231161 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @03:56PM (#21546163)
    I have three iPods, and a Zune 30 (with the new firmware). The new Zune does not suck *at all*, and the wireless sync works quite well. The Zune button is not nearly as good as the click-wheel, though. But the iTMS, and the Zune Marketplace are comparable. iTunes still has better podcast support (includes password protected podcasts), but the Zune has a useful Zunepass subsciption service. And honestly, I'm surprised at how I kinda prefer the Zune points system. There's a certain degree of convenience there that I like.

    Zune is for real, and anyone who would be disappointed to get one would only be disappointed because it's not what Muffy has.
  • Last year on black Friday there were 2GB Memorex MP3 players that were only available at Target. I bought two for my kids. I was jazzed because they show up as flash drives, and it is trivially easy to copy music onto them. (They also had built in rechargable batteries.)

    This year on black Friday, there were 4GB Memorex MP3 players that were only available at Target. I bought one, as they've updated the display so that it can play back (low res) MPEG4 video. The case design is the same, although they changed
  • the one that kills any motivation I could have to buy a Zune: not being able to download stuff to it without a proprietary MS application.
  • by 2ms ( 232331 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @05:16PM (#21546835)
    These stats have little meaning for one giant (I would think obvious) reason -- people don't buy their iPods from Amazon. I bet 90% of iPods are sold at either or Apple stores. Zunes are sold 3rd party.
  • by Killer Eye ( 3711 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @06:37PM (#21547529)
    I'd bet money that many kids getting a Zune for Christmas will think "well damn, why couldn't it have been an iPod?". Happens all the want one thing, parents buy what they can actually afford that comes close.

    Although holiday sales give you a sign of how much revenue a company is pulling in, this is the *least* representative time in terms of what product is actually *desired*. Who's doing the buying? Not the people using the stuff!

    Come back in January, see how many Zunes are returned. Or hell, look at sales in the middle of March or some other random time. Either of those would be more accurate indicators of whether or not the Zune is really hurting the iPod market.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Saturday December 01, 2007 @07:17PM (#21547793)
    If you give it away,
    they will come.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson