February 28, 2007 4:15 PM PST

Microsoft fix to keep Zune from skipping a beat

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Microsoft is planning to issue a firmware update next month designed to fix a glitch that is causing some owners of the Zune music player to experience skipping when playing songs purchased from Microsoft's online store.

Zune marketing director Jason Reindorp said the company plans to issue the firmware update sometime in the middle of next month. Reindorp said the downloadable update will also offer other performance improvements, but no major feature updates to the player, which debuted in November.

"In mid-March we will release a firmware update which will address a 'skipping' issue some power users have experienced when listening to (Zune) Marketplace content and improve overall software reliability and efficiency," he said in an e-mail to CNET News.com.

Reindorp said the Zune held its No. 2 spot in hard drive-based digital music players in January, citing NPD numbers that give the company 9.9 percent of that market. The company still trails Apple's iPod in the hard drive-based music area and does not yet have a flash-based device to compete with the iPod Nano or Shuffle.

"We believe this toehold in the market will enable us to make a deeper footprint as time goes on," Reindorp said, "and we're committed to expanding the Zune offering."

In a phone interview, Reindorp declined to say when the company might add more devices or start selling video content. He added that the company is focused on making the music experience on the current device the best it can be.

Reindorp said the company did see its base of subscription customers grow by 60 percent in January over the prior month and individual song downloads increased 65 percent in the same period. Microsoft would not give specific figures. "Those numbers are still relatively small," Reindorp said. "But this growth is exactly what we hoped it would be."

Microsoft updated the Zune in December to allow both the device and the desktop Zune software to work properly with Windows Vista.

See more CNET content tagged:
Microsoft Zune, online store, firmware, Apple Computer, Microsoft Corp.

39 comments

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No suprise
Just evidence that M$ release a product which is half baked. Skipping is something which was experienced with CD's - all the years I've owned an mp3 player, it's never skipped a singe time on any tracks. Somehow M$ expect to gain market share with their half baked product....laughable really.
Posted by ozidigga (77 comments )
Reply Link Flag
really!!!
the suprise is that the first MP3 player MS release is one of the top rated MP3 player

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://reviews.cnet.com/4323-6532_7-6509081.html?tag=dir" target="_newWindow">http://reviews.cnet.com/4323-6532_7-6509081.html?tag=dir</a>

Done give me the same BS the cnet is biased.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If they're not biased,
what are they?

The MP3 player is only a third of the solution. The software used to
connect with the computer is another third, as is the online store.
Zune is miserable on both.
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
read what it says
It says that it's second in "HARD-DRIVE BASED".

I can't think of any others besides iPod. I'm sure there are some but they've made no headway. MS's name alone will give theirs some interest. The question is over time will more people buy or will anyone ever buy a second (because their experience with the first was good).

It's stated that there is no Zune flash-based player, which is cheaper in the iPod family and sells more.

And really, second place to iPod at less than 10% isn't saying much.
Posted by kxmmxk (320 comments )
Link Flag
Conflict of interest on Zune
James Kim was writing a book about the Zune. He never disclosed
that fact, though. So, the need to defer to Microsoft in order to
get access probably influenced C/Net's overly positive review of
the Zune. Can't say I'm impressed with Kim's ethics.
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
Link Flag
No suprise
Just evidence that M$ release a product which is half baked. Skipping is something which was experienced with CD's - all the years I've owned an mp3 player, it's never skipped a singe time on any tracks. Somehow M$ expect to gain market share with their half baked product....laughable really.
Posted by ozidigga (77 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No suprise
Just evidence that M$ release a product which is half baked. Skipping is something which was experienced with CD's - all the years I've owned an mp3 player, it's never skipped a singe time on any tracks. Somehow M$ expect to gain market share with their half baked product....laughable really.
Posted by ozidigga (77 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Let's see...
The biggest, richest, most powerful software company on the
planet... one with more money to spend on R&#38;D and QA than some
country's have in their GDP's, develops a closed architecture system
from the round up, a system in which they have 100% control over,
a system that they designed and built from the ground up... and
this is the result?
Man, you'd have to be the suckiest of the suck-ups to buy into the
Zune ecosystem, and even a suckier than the suckiest of
sycophants if you choose to defend it.
Posted by GGGlen (491 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Zune's Skipping "feature" is answer to iTunes Gapless Playback
It is.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Also known as the "broken record" effect
Nah.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Link Flag
About DRM
All those talk about freedom to use what they purchase for.
Shouldn't the stopping of subscription talk come before the talk of
ending DRM. I mean subscription is locking its customer in the
long term more than DRM. If you dont pay the 15 bucks a month,
you lose all the music you have. Isn't that more a lockdown than
DRM?
Posted by hunter_jc (109 comments )
Reply Link Flag
About choice
Subscription is an option with Zune. You can still purchase your music without paying 15 bucks a month. So no it isn't more of a lockdown than purchased DRM. It's a choice you can make.
Posted by DrtyDogg (3084 comments )
Link Flag
"End in sight for Zune shortages" from C|Net News
... would make a good followup to this story. This would be typical
C|Net news much like their "End in sight for PS3 shortages"
&lt;<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/2100-1043-6162819.html?tag=tb" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/2100-1043-6162819.html?tag=tb</a>&gt;
Posted by BobBobBobBobBobBobBob (49 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Windows on the inside!
I wonder when Zune owners will start seeing the blue screen of death?
Posted by Xenu7-214951314497503184010868 (153 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's possible
I can find a picture of the blue screen of death, load it onto my Zune, and set it as my background (something the ipod can't do), and there's my blue screen of death! Of course, ipod losers, I mean users, can't customize their ipod, by setting their own background pics, which is kind of a shame. Wait, are you talking about a real screen of death? Nope, nobody so far has got one, and you can check all the blogs. Yet I do hear the ipod having problems frequently. I would know since my friend works at Fry's Electronics. I've had it since the beginning of December, and nothing has gone wrong at all. Same as most other people out there. So before you open your big fat mouth, why don't you actually use a Zune and see what it's all about, instead of reading the Apple fanboys posts?
Posted by quikboy2 (95 comments )
Link Flag
\well, I'm sure that the six Zune users still out there are glad!
...though I think three of 'em will never know - they're are still convinced that they actually own an iPod. You see, their parents never had the heart to admit that they screwed up and bought a Zune for their kid accidentally...

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hmmm
I hate to say this buddy, but I'm 15, and I ASKED for a Zune on my b-day. There's a ton of things that the Zune has that the ipod doesn't have, and that doesn't include problems. Many of my friends already have a Zune also, and it has gathered interest (good interest) among other teens here. Parents aren't stupid to not know what's the difference between an ipod and a Zune, and if they did, it's easily returnable. So stop insulting Zune users and parents and move on with your life. We don't need haters like you out there.
Posted by quikboy2 (95 comments )
Link Flag
MS needs to market this "Feature" . . .
They can call it the "Redmond Mega Zune Beat Scratch Dub Mix"
available ONLY on the Zune!

Quick . . . Find someone to "Squirt"!
Posted by K.P.C. (227 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Squirt was never official
If you go to the Zune.net site, you see no mention of the word "squirt" It was just a joke that one of the Microsoft MVP's made on the Zune feature. Yet I guess some Apple fanboy had to make some big deal out of it, and spread a lie thoughout the whole web. I guess you're just one of thoe people who love to believe in rumors.
Posted by quikboy2 (95 comments )
Link Flag
Pathetic. Proof (Again) of MSFT's Drooling Incompetence
Patch the PC. Patch the player. It never ends. The stuff is always coming apart at the seams.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Excuse me but...
Apple's player sees firmware updates...even the screenless-flash based iPod Shuffle! Apple's devine Mac OSx gets updates too. FYI there for ya.

VCR and DVD players also get them, so why should Microsoft be the first to not offer firmware updates to make something BETTER?
Posted by timber2005 (720 comments )
Link Flag
Repetition... again and again...
The more Microsoft creates, the more they have to patch.

They can't even fix all the flaws in their already shipping products, so they should stop making new products until they've patched their currently shipping ones and learn how to write better code.

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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