November 10, 2006 4:53 AM PST

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--Scanning the crowd of partygoers who on Thursday night helped Microsoft celebrate the approaching launch of the Zune digital music player, it dawned on me that there were likely more iPods in the room than Zunes.

OK, the iPods themselves weren't visible, but I suspected plenty of the devices were stashed in pockets and purses.

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See a review of the Zune at CNET.com

Do the math: Apple Computer owns 70 percent of the market for digital music players and Microsoft's Zune doesn't make its public debut until November 14. Also, Microsoft supplied the launch party with about only a half-dozen display models. I still wanted to know if I was right. Sure enough, most of party guests I interviewed acknowledged owning an iPod, even if some were embarrassed to fess up at a Zune party.

"Is that OK to say here?" asked Shana Halligan, singer for the band Bitter:Sweet, which performed at the event. "Anyway, I got it before the Zune came out."

This is what Microsoft is up against. So ubiquitous is the iPod that I suspect the company could find Apple enthusiasts within its own ranks. Nonetheless, plenty of those who attended the party see areas where the Zune could best the iPod.

Partying for Zune

British hip-hop star Lady Sovereign arrived at the party sporting her trademark ponytail, which she wears on the side of her head. She told me I had exactly two minutes to interview her. She then spent four minutes telling me how she blames Apple for two computer meltdowns that resulted in her losing thousands of songs.

The 20-year-old owns an iPod and knows her PC was running on Microsoft software, but blames Apple for not devising a better backup strategy.

"I can always replace the music but it just takes so long to load it into your computer," Lady Sovereign said. "There's got to be a way to protect the songs against that."

Halligan said that taste-testing music on iTunes can be dissatisfying. A listener gets to listen to only a song snippet at Apple's music store while Microsoft will allow users to hear a song in its entirety three times.

"You can think a song you hear on iPod is going to be fantastic," Halligan said, "but then you buy it and find out it doesn't have that great hook you expected."

Chip Hodge, an analyst with Lionsgate Entertainment, said he rejected owning an iPod years ago because of the price. He said he listens to the 200 songs he has stored on his Palm Treo 650 smart phone.

"But I'm thinking I want this," said Hodge, 26, as he hovered around a Zune display model. "This is nice. It might be time to upgrade."

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48 comments

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I had to read this story twice
... one outstanding part of the story was this ... "Lady
Soveriegn"'s story about her PC crashing (Windows OS), doesn't
do a back up, loses her files, then blames the iTunes software
because "it" didn't back up her music and/or it would take to
long to re-load them.

If her story is the best they can do AT a Zune party, sponsored
by MS, then good luck ...

Who the hell is she anyway ... going to look it up now. ooookay!
Just looked her up, she just signed a record contract last year.
Now, I know she's not a marquee name (basically unknown). She
can thank the author of this article later I guess.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: Not a marquee name
While her logic might be off, Lady Sovereign is pretty well known
and well played on most major hip/hop and even alternative radio
stations.
Posted by Microbreak (61 comments )
Link Flag
It is actually pretty common
I've seen this several times with Macs as well. The user totals the machine/does something dumb/simple system failure, then blames anyone but themselves because there is no way to recover music/data.

For some reason, the very same people who change their cars oil every 3 months and have their home heating systems regularly maintained just can't grasp the concept of backing up their computers.
Posted by catch23 (436 comments )
Link Flag
The " two computer meltdowns" link is bad
It doesn't link to a story about how her "computer failed and lost
her music". Isn't that what it should link to?? I'd like to hear how her
computer had two meltdowns and lost her music. That's
purportedly why she is blaming Apple and threatening to switch to
Zune which I guess she thinks runs on a more stable platform Than
OS X/Intel-Macs. Ha!
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: The " two computer meltdowns" link is bad
Most of us would have learned from the first meltdown. :-)
Posted by protagonistic (1868 comments )
Link Flag
Wish them luck...
Wish them luck, but they are going to fail. I use to be a Mac
Genius, and I can tell ya right now I had more problems show up
with HP iPods, than generic Mac iPods...

With the lack of security, and all other things considered that Zune
doesn't provide, this is going to be a long walk off a short plank for
MS.
Posted by Matthew R. (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
3 free plays? Piracy will be rampant
Seems to me it wouldn't take much for someone to record a song
from the Zune Music Store during one of those free plays. Who
needs to buy them then? That'll be _great_ for the music industry,
I'm sure they'll love the lost royalties.
Posted by jscott (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get a clue, please
Go to SourceForge, get Audacity.
Set it record off your WaveOut
Go to Napster, where you get to listen to every song 3 times
Hit play on Napster, hit record on Audacity

This has been around for a _long_ time. There are dozens of utilities for the Mac and PC that already do it. Anything you can push out your sound card can be recorded back in.

Stop trying to spread such garbage. The music industry has nothing new to fear
Posted by catch23 (436 comments )
Link Flag
The gold nugget was at the end
With a T5/LifeDrive/Treo, iPod/Zune are downgrades.

1 Palm T5/LifeDrive
1 SD card 1Gig+ (2Gig specifically)
1 pair of headphones
1 copy of Pocket Tunes

No DRM, No iTunes/msMusicStore, No BS. Been able to play music and movies, read books, browse the internet, manage projects and work with .txt,.doc,.ppt,.xls,.pdf formatted documents on a viewing screen that takes up most of the PDA casing.

iPod plays music and shows movies on a tiny screen. Zune plays music and shows movies on a tiny screen with the added feature of built in wireless (how is MS going to fight piracy with this one?) networking. If music is all you want, either one will take your money happily.

Sorry, Lady Soveriegn, you'll still have to backup your computer or hire someone to hide the hassle from you. Unfortunately, it is not the fault of Apple or (even) Microsoft if you don't backup your own data.
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tell that to Sony!!!
When PS practically owned the game console market Xbox wasn't even there. Even if Zune captures a modest 20% of the market in the next few years Zune and playforsure device will hold half the market.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS has said that zune will not support playforsure
MS has said that zune will not support playforsure
Posted by jones_8099 (177 comments )
Link Flag
holding you to it.
You post in a medium that allows you to make ridiculous
statements that get forgotten almost immediately. As such you
can say anything you want and never get called to task.
Like most of your other prognostications on this board, your
statements indicate a complete failure to understand the basic
concepts involved, and are invariably wrong. As such it gives me
great joy to cut and paste this comment into my archives to
throw back in your face a few years hence.

P.S. Sony STILL owns the game console market. MS has been
pwned.
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
Users are ID10ts!
OK, so the Brit hip-hop twit uses a PC and it crashes and she didn't
back up, and that is somehow Apple's fault? And the ANALyst
decided that an iPod is too expensive, but he's considering buying
a Zune? Uh, slighly HIGHER cost than the iPod for less quality? This
guy is good...
Posted by i,Jimbot (65 comments )
Reply Link Flag
blaming apple for user stupidity
funny whenever that happens with a Microsoft product people jump all over Microsoft when it was really user stupidity, third party software etc.

So let me get this straight?

Users are allowed to say anything and blame Microsoft and the all the trolls and the community side with them and its Microsoft's fault.

But when they do it to Apple its wrong? Because Apple is so holy and could never do anything wrong correct?

Thats makes total sense now
Posted by mcepat (118 comments )
Link Flag
No clue needed
I think the previous poster was comparing the Zune store to the
iTunes Store - not to the rarely used Napster store. iTMS gives you
a 30 second snippet, which prevents you from using those tools to
copy an entire song.
Posted by i,Jimbot (65 comments )
Reply Link Flag
True
But the 30 second snippet iTunes playes is idiotic. How are you
supposed to determine if you really want a song in 30 seconds?
Thats the big reason why I don't like iTunes. That and because the
damn iTunes app on my Mac tries to do too freaking much. I want
to listen to a freaking song - do not load a giant bloated
application to play 1 freaking song. I'm a Mac user and I *hate*
iTunes and I really don't like the iPods. The design has *never*
impressed me.
Posted by rapier1 (2722 comments )
Link Flag
True
But the 30 second snippet iTunes playes is idiotic. How are you
supposed to determine if you really want a song in 30 seconds?
Thats the big reason why I don't like iTunes. That and because the
damn iTunes app on my Mac tries to do too freaking much. I want
to listen to a freaking song - do not load a giant bloated
application to play 1 freaking song. I'm a Mac user and I *hate*
iTunes and I really don't like the iPods. The design has *never*
impressed me.
Posted by rapier1 (2722 comments )
Link Flag
it is far
more popular (Napster) then you make it out to be.
As are all the subscription services, which have the same issue.
Even streaming iTunes between machines can be copied this way.

The point is that this is not anywhere near a new problem, nor does it have anything to do with the Zune. There are many things to like/dislike about the Zune, but snagging songs off it illegally is not an issue related to it.
Posted by catch23 (436 comments )
Link Flag
I love my Pod Casts
and that is non-existent, is MS going to copy that too and call it MS Casts ?
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Reply Link Flag
More of a threat to Creative...
If Microsoft can hold out in the market that it...
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Watch out iPod!!!
I can't wait to get a Zune!!!
Posted by www.SMicFromHome.com (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Better Back-up Strategy?
iTunes:File:Back Up to Disc...

How hard is that?
Posted by JScottK (40 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Exactly!
You beat me to the punch. I was going to say the exact same thing.
When I read the incredibly stupid statement she made, I thought
what is she talking about? Heck you can backup your entire iTunes
library with a couple of mouse clicks and a few blank DVDs. If the
"artist" cannot handle that simple scheme, then I would say "please
step away from the computer". She has nobody to blame but
herself.
Posted by bsn (34 comments )
Link Flag
Kicking and Screaming
What I find most intriguing about the Zune is how Microsoft has
decided that they have the time to devote to an entirely new
markert for them. Couldn't they better spend their time trying to
finish Vista? Or as some might call it, the MS version of OS X
(seriously, compare the new features in Vista with current
features in Apple's OSX 10.4 or the upcoming 10.5. It's scary the
resemblence)

Something that disturbs me about the Zune, which is not even
mentioned in this article or any of the others on the CNET page
under Zune, is how Microsoft is going to pay Universal an
undisclosed sum of money for each Zune sold. Their argument is
that since the record label lost money from music piracy, they
should be entitled to the money made selling devices that play
the pirated music. By that logic, the record labels are "entitled"
to reparations for every computer sold including parts,
especially storage medium; be it hard drive or recordable disk.

Someone needs to call MS out on this one as being what it is. An
underhanded way of getting record companies into bed with MS
and it's inept Zune player. I'm sure record companies would do
business anyways because they could dictate the prices; whereas
in iTunes, Apple has stood up against the record labels and
made them use a flat rate pricing system that favors the
consumer with any new music.

So make of it what you will, I don't plan to buy a Zune anytime
soon, and I think the only people that would buy a Zune are
those who refuse to buy an iPod because it's an iPod; they won't
buy a Zune because it has better features than the iPod.
Posted by URTido (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nice Post
What does Vista have to do with the Zune? I love how MS haters are everywhere. Do you have the Zune? Have you ever used it? Why even bother writing crap like this?
Posted by lavern (161 comments )
Link Flag
time to devote to an entirely new market
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/apple_ipod_commercial.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/apple_ipod_commercial.htm</a>
Posted by Ipod Apple (152 comments )
Link Flag
I cannot help but wonder....
Seeing that there are many hackers target Microsoft for the sheer
joy of it, I have to wonder if they won't find the wireless feature of
Zune an attractive attack vector. Granted, there is not much in the
way of finacial gain to be had here, so the organized crime hackers
probably won't be interested. However, the thrill seeking teenaged
hackers may come after the wireless feature with a vengance. Who
knows, it just may happen.
Posted by bsn (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
compare promotions apple to microsoft
You cant help but compare the two companies in this arena as
they are going head to head. Apple champion their product with
Bono and U2. Microsoft arent even close.
When apple releases a product and have a major product launch,
they have loads to give away to promote their product. The
biggest software company in the world turns up to its own party
with half a dozen!!!!
As for the 'accessories table', they really neednt have bothered.
The apple ecosystem of cases, covers, chargers and other
accessories spans over a thousand products. I dont know exactly
how many. Microsoft shows us a car charger, case and one or
two other things.
I could be wrong, but its up to apple to loose this race because
microsoft have everything to do and I cant see it being a huge
hit.
Posted by yikes31 (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
compare promotions: apple to microsoft
You cant help but compare the two companies in this arena as
they are going head to head. Apple champion their product with
Bono and U2. Microsoft arent even close.
When apple releases a product and have a major product launch,
they have loads to give away to promote their product. The
biggest software company in the world turns up to its own party
with half a dozen!!!!
As for the 'accessories table', they really neednt have bothered.
The apple ecosystem of cases, covers, chargers and other
accessories spans over a thousand products. I dont know exactly
how many. Microsoft shows us a car charger, case and one or
two other things.
I could be wrong, but its up to apple to loose this race because
microsoft have everything to do and I cant see it being a huge
hit.
Posted by yikes31 (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You can't (different cases)
You're forgetting a little detail: Microsoft is not yet releasing Zune; the big product launch is still coming.
I do agree, though, that iPod will continue to be the best MP3 player around, IMHO.
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
Link Flag
 

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