I still think the Zune will die horribly, and I actually like some Microsoft products. Here is an excellent analysis on the situation I wish I wrote myself.

Microsoft’s soon-to-be-released Zune MP3 player is a sure-fire iPod killer — if you believe what you been reading in the press recently.

There’s nothing the press likes more than a good fight, and the Zune looks like a worthy contender for the iPod’s heavyweight crown.

The tech press loves the Zune because of its specs. They tally up the features and conclude the Zune is better because there’s more stuffed inside.

The Zune will definitely have an impact. That’s guaranteed by Microsoft’s clout, and is why music labels, movie studios and accessory makers are jumping on the Zune bandwagon.

But although the Zune looks good on paper, it’s not going to kill the iPod because of three things:

1. It’s not cool and never will be.
2. The Zune will be locked down tighter than the queen’s knickers.
3. Wi-Fi song sharing will not catch on in public.

The Zune may do relatively well, but it will be at the expense of other devices, but not the iPod.



  1. ChrisMac says:

    ahhh… wasn’t the same thing said about the xbox360?

  2. Smartalix says:

    Not by me, I’m waiting for Halo 3 first though.

  3. jC! says:

    I’m an iPod fan. I adore my iPod. Hell, I’ve even begun to hate PCs and wish I owned a Mac! (when for as long as I can remember I’ve done nothing but poke fun of Apple)

    But, I believe, Zune has a chance. Yes, public file sharing probably won’t catch on. But it IS cool, the UI is 10 times nicer then iPod’s, and you don’t think the iPod isn’t locked down!? Ever easily try to get your own videos ripped and onto the iPod? I’m not sure but what is ment by ‘locked-down.’

    It is cool! iPod is like a 350Z, Zune is like a CLK. Sure the 350Z is cool, sleek and has got the power, but everyone wishes they had a the same power and sleekness, but with the eleagince and wow factor of CLK.

    Zune is getting all the same Pro/Con crap iPod got before it released.

  4. JSFORBES says:

    The Zune won’t be successful because it has a dorky name. End of story.

  5. moss says:

    Has the XBox crossed over to the profitable side of the ledger, yet? For it’s whole life?

    If Ford had as much time and as many dollars to subsidize a product, we’d still be seeing Edsels on dealers’ lots.

    The installed base XBox entered to compete within — was established by several brands over more than a decade. The iPod/iTunes base was created in much less time and by one brand.

    Will iPod owners be able to easily move their already owned tunes over to Zune? And why would they? Even if a device promises bennies to someone who doesn’t own a comparable product — folks with an iPod already have the “standard” product. Think they should go out and make that purchase all over again — when Apple is more than capable of replicating any advantage Zune might have in the short-term — and selling it at a profit while MSoft is selling at a loss?

    For how long?

  6. jC! says:

    #4 – Same was said of ‘iPod’ before it’s release.

    Win or loose, who cares. Pick the one you like best. Neither will fail. This just finally creates a true, positive competition between two quality products and raise the bar for the future of portable media.

    Hell, if the Zen can last this long, I don’t think Zune will be going anywhere for long long time.

  7. Smartalix says:

    What’s a Zen?

    Oh, you mean the device that got two stars on C/net. Not interested.

    I see a lot of iPods on the subway, a few PSPs, and the odd Panasonic or Sony MP3 player. I’ve yet to see a Zen player, and there are 8 million people in this city.

    This is not to say that Microsoft won’t sell a few Zunes, just that it won’t make a ripple in the market share.

  8. jeffbart says:

    The reason the iPod caught on is because it ties in so well with the iTunes app, and the iTunes store. All three elements are simple, great, elegant, and seamless. The same cannot be said for Zune. It might be a great unit, but it lacks the two other components in the larger system.
    Media Player is a hostile and bitsy player. Don’t even start on the commercial Windows music download stores.. They’re not homogenous, and they are woeful.
    Best hopes for Zune is that one day it gets opened up to iTunes.

  9. tallwookie says:

    I get the feeling that those loyal-mac enthusiasts are just that – loyal. they’re loyal to a company who is riding the wave, praying the coral reefs arent that close… but dominance in this particular market is fleeting at best – enjoy it while it lasts, apple.

  10. James M says:

    I see a Zune virus coming out as soon as the unit ships with that Wi-fi capability- crippling the Zune in a blast of bad publicity from the same finnicky tech press.

  11. zune says:

    Perhaps the zune can succeed without making a dent in the iPod. For example, there are over 6 billion people in the world that dont own a PMP. So if MS gets 1% of them to buy a zune (over time) they just beat iPod in sales, without denting iPod sales.

  12. ChrisMac says:

    i bet the first virus disables the DRM 😉

  13. 0113addiv says:

    Already I’m seeing less and less of the iPod proving that its popularity was just a fad much like the Sony Walkman when it came out. The Zune is a little too late. On the subway in NYC, reading books still reign for zoning out the environment. Also, books don’t disturb other people and iPod headphones look so stupid.

  14. Podesta says:

    jC, you are coming across as someone who is pretending to know what he is talking about and failing.

    • Converting and playing your own video content in iTunes and on an iPod is relatively easy. Heck, iTunes will even do the conversion for you.

    • Zune’s marquee feature, Wifi, is fairly useless unless the product sells, and, even then, can only be used to share a few songs with other Zune owners.

    • The Zen has crumbs when it comes to market share. Creative is being subsidized by Apple now or it might not survive.

    Could it be that you just wish you had an iPod?

  15. tallwookie says:

    #14 – dude, the wifi is only “useless” if you dont hack/reverse engineer the software/firmware to allow you to do anything you want with it (akin to some bluetooth devices being crippled, and some not)… It will happen – look at the psp… and plus microsoft has more resources and connections than apple does, hence a better overall product

  16. @$tr0Gh0$t says:

    Say no to DRM Infection!

  17. doug says:

    you know what I would want out of a Zune? a bookmark function for podcasts and other standard MP3 (ie non-Audible) files. no need for a dedicated button, just hold down the pause for an extra tic and the next time you go back to that file, you pick up where you left off. Given the popularity of podcasts, it aint right that there is zero functionality on the iPod oriented towards them.

    and the wifi opens up a lot of possibilities – how long before Starbucks and Borders start offering those 3-day music files to sample and download? or video for that matter? I think Apple missed the boat by only doing an incremental upgrade to the iPod. No, they wont sink, but I know if they had offered the ‘real’ video iPod (preferably with some wifi capability), I would have bought one.

  18. Named says:

    17,

    You said it. The opportunity for viral marketing with the Zune is immense. Just imagine the power of persuasion you can have in music stores, clothing stores, etc… You can push out the video of Christina Aguilera (she’s still HAWT!) while people are walking by her Sketchers ad. It’s a mighty powerful implement. Especially for kids. Advertisers are going to be very happy with the zune.

  19. doug says:

    #18. Yep, stop by the Gap (or whatever) for the latest viral video, un-DRMed teaser tune by some indie band that you can then share out, movie trailer or what-not.

    it is so damn smart, it surprises me that M$ thought of it …

  20. FRAGaLOT says:

    ah ppl will hack the Zune to make to give it more functions.

  21. Tom says:

    Microsoft is always too little too late, the reason it the ipod was able to destroy the way it did was that it was the first of its kind, and it was and is trendy, microsoft may be good at hype but actually sellling these things to make a dent is overambitious and stupid, the same thing will happen with their youtube clone and their social network clone. When they think of something original then yes they might be able to compete in the market, but that is what microsoft has and will never be about.

  22. gquaglia says:

    The tech press loves the Zune because of its specs. They tally up the features and conclude the Zune is better because there’s more stuffed inside.

    Doesn’t matter. M$ has shown us that the better product (Mac OS) doesn’t always win against the inferior (Windows). Zune can have all the bells and whistles in the world, but it can’t compete against the ipod’s market share and Apple’s strong marketing. How does it feel Bill to be on the other side of the fence for once.

  23. mike says:

    Just look at ALL the other wired ‘articles’ this guy has writtern. Almost without exception they’re ALL pro-apple puff pieces.

    The article isn’t worth squat!!

    Just another apple cultist who took an overdose of the green coolaid!

  24. Sam says:

    The Zune is the winner overall for 1 reason:
    adding new features will only require a firmware update (FREE) while new features on ipods requires buying a new one! lol!

  25. Smartalix says:

    23,

    Even if he was an Apple employee, he made some firm points one can discuss. What are your counter-arguments beyond ad-hominem?

  26. @$tr0Gh0$t says:

    Go read the latest comic at Penny Arcade

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic

    they hava a quite humorous take on the Zune player.

  27. JoaoPT says:

    #24 iPod s have upgrade firmware option. I know this because my mac has tons of iPod updates I have to download even though I don’t have an iPod.

    And the ever winding discussion of why the iPod succeded so well…
    it’s only a simple answer:

    It’s cute. It was cute when launched, and the several updates made it cuter… just that. And expensive, so it has a “exclusiveness” touch that appeals to the middle class.

  28. JoaoPT says:

    ohh, except the mini which was horrendous and also the new mini mini…

  29. Kendall Brookfeld says:

    I’ll prefer the Zune if it does just one thing: let me easily change the battery without warranty-voiding surgery or an expensive trip to Apple. The whole battery game with iPods is just ridiculous, and the main reason I never bought one. Is there any other gadget out there that makes swapping batteries so hard?

    How does Apple get away with this and other closed-box nonsense, and will someone explain to me what’s cool about it?

    I have a flash memory-based MP3 player that takes a single AA battery, runs for a week or two on it, and allows me to interchange spare rechargeables with my still camera. It’s also got an FM tuner, of all things…

  30. Bastian says:

    Zune = also ran (before it runs of course)


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