November 10, 2006 4:00 AM PST

With Zune, Microsoft heads to the mosh pit

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--Microsoft wants to prove that it does rock as well as it does spreadsheets.

The company, which is parodied as a stiff office worker in Apple Computer's Mac vs. PC ads, is trying hard to build a hip, music-insider image for its Zune digital-music player. The question, however, is whether Microsoft can put that stuffed-shirt image behind it.

At a press event Thursday against a backdrop of diaphanous curtains and candle-lit rooms, mere blocks from rock 'n' roll venues where Led Zeppelin and The Doors once headlined, the Zune appeared shabby in contrast--like someone showing up to a punk-rock concert in a tweed coat.

Click here to Play

Video: Soon, the Zune
Steve Ballmer talks about the new media player, emphasizing its wireless capability.

That Zune is a clunky iPod-look-alike that offers little sex appeal underscores one of the most important questions about Microsoft's foray into the music business. Is the software king in tune enough with music fans to coax them away from Apple Computer and CEO Steve Jobs?

Microsoft is up against one of the world's master marketers and expert brand builders in Jobs. He is credited with understanding consumer needs like few others. Consider Apple's clever functionality, such as the iPod scroll wheel and the sleek forms of the company's players. All of it has helped Apple claim a 70 percent market share and win favor of young people from all over the world.

To compete, Microsoft will do more than throw the company's considerable technological muscle behind Zune, which is due in retail outlets Tuesday. In some aspects, Microsoft understands that its size and maturity is a liability. Chris Stephenson, Microsoft's general manager of marketing for the Zune, said Microsoft is trying to foster a start-up mentality within the Zune unit.

"We tell each other, 'Let's think like a band,'" Stephenson said. "What does that mean? That means like musicians we need to think very creatively and in terms of how to improve music for a listener."

Rockers or posers?
Certainly, the Zune executives at Thursday's presentation look as if they could be rockers.

Matt Jubeliner, 25, is Zune's goateed product manager. Terry Farrell, Microsoft's senior product manager, cuts a youthful figure in long hair and trendy tennis shoes--not typical attire at a Microsoft function.

Elsewhere on CNET
Learn about it
See a review of the Zune at CNET.com

Stephenson, 41, is a veteran music-industry executive who has worked for MTV and was raised in another music hotbed: Liverpool, England. Sounding a lot like one of the Beatles, he outlined how his team will measure success.

"Relevance," he said. "Yes, sales are a measurement, but we know that if we're relevant with listeners and artists and retailers, then we're ready to play with Microsoft. I think right now, we've already achieved some of that. Everybody is talking about Zune. Retailers and the entire music industry are waiting for a legitimate second choice to Apple. Competition is good for every one."

Microsoft helped make itself more relevant when it announced Thursday that it would pay record labels a royalty on Zune sales.

Zune does have some features that are sure to appeal to music fans, including a screen larger than the iPod's, which makes watching video more enjoyable.

Zune has Wi-Fi capability that allows owners anywhere within 30 feet of each other to transmit songs to one another. On Thursday, journalists toyed with the feature and found that the operation was typically a speedy 10 seconds. To protect copyright, the songs will last up to three plays or three days.

Microsoft's music store will also offer more of a personal touch than Apple's iTunes, Stephenson said. Microsoft will feature reviews from a large group of critics whose purpose will be to introduce customers to new performers, Stephenson said.

"Everything we're doing is very authentic," Stephenson said.

Nothing matters more to Microsoft's music hopes than offering a device and music store that offer at least as much as Apple's, analysts have said.

And here Microsoft still has much work to do. The Zune Marketplace has 2 million songs compared with iTunes' 3.5 million. Zune customers won't be able to choose from a comparable library of music videos or TV shows, and some consumers could be put off by the currency that Zune uses.

Zune Marketplace exchanges music for "points." Instead of just paying 99 cents for a song, the typical price for a song at iTunes, Microsoft requires users to pay for blocks of points, the minimum being $5. A dollar is worth roughly 80 points. To make matters more confusing, music prices will vary on Marketplace. Customers will be forced to do some figuring; not a lot of work, but it just isn't as convenient as iTunes.

"We did this in preparation for opening up in overseas markets," said Alan Shen, a Microsoft program manager. "We needed a system that everybody would understand. People will get used to it."

The team handling Zune knows that it won't unseat Apple as the top music site in its first year. Microsoft knows Zune will require refining and is taking a long-term view to music, Stephenson said. He also notes that the company has experience in moving into markets dominated by a powerful, seemingly unbeatable company.

"We did it with the Xbox and video games," Stephenson said, referring to Microsoft's video game console. "In that situation we were up against Sony. This is our chance to change the game in music."

See more CNET content tagged:
Microsoft Zune, product manager, Steve Jobs, Apple Computer, Microsoft Corp.

82 comments

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Add your comment
The real news...
Buried in this hatchet job on Microsoft is one line about the real effect Zune will have: to change the portable music business model that has made Apple rich.

Go here for details (and no, I don't work for this site...):

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://tmw.bloggingstocks.com/2006/11/09/microsofts-zune-finds-an-apples-ipod-killer/" target="_newWindow">http://tmw.bloggingstocks.com/2006/11/09/microsofts-zune-finds-an-apples-ipod-killer/</a>
Posted by Betty Roper (121 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hi, Betty. How are things in Redmond?
:-)
Posted by Norseman (1319 comments )
Link Flag
If your product sucks&
&saying so is not a hatchet job.
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
Your point?
I'm not sure what your point is, as the comments to that blog pretty
well shoot down all it's claims.
Posted by VidPro (60 comments )
Link Flag
It won't be that easy
I think the guys at Redmond are forgeting a few things about mp3 players.
For one, they're giving the middle finger to everyone who's bought songs from other places like Napster and Yahoo. That's not a good way to win new customers. Especially when they were bought using Microsoft's own software.

Also, the whole point thing is silly, and a lame attempt to confuse people and making them believe they're getting their songs cheaper. That's not the case, the songs will cost the same $0.99, just like iTunes.

The ability to share songs doesn't appeal to me. Sure, many others will like it. But, I can do fine without it.

Here's what I don't know about the Zune:
Will it allow you to share more than just music files? How about jpeg, txt, and other types of files. How about videos? Will you be able to share those too. What's the transfer speed.
Also, will you be able to watch your videos on external monitors/tv like the iPod does.

The issue here is that people are willing to settle for pathetic attempts. In other words, I think the Zune will do ok. It'd be an uphill battle for it. But, if will survive the tidalwaves. Now, the part that I'm not willing to settle for is that if it doesn't allow users to watch those clips on a tv set. And please, don't tell me that the iPod didn't do it till last year. That doesn't matter. Any mp3 player near $300 and worth the public's attention must have this feature. That's the downfall of the PSP. I own one and I love all the features of it. But, the lack of a hdd, and the ability to watch those video clips on an external monitor make it a bit disappointing.

So, if MS wants to compete with Apple, first it must come up with a product that matches the features found in the iPod, and better. There's no "go gentle on us, this is our first try." Bull. Then sell it to me for $99.99 and not $250.

If MS wants to succeed with the Zune, it must do the following:
1- make it compatible with "PlayForSure" technology.
2- have video/audio output jack to watch clips on tv set
3- allow more than music sharing via its wireless feature
4- make your player, and store, compatible with Macs. That's part of Apple's success too; the cross-platform.

Remember MS, that unlike in the video game market in which you had to come up with your own format in order to compete with Sony, the music market people have even more choices, and demand the ability to do certain functions that have become basic by today's mp3 players standards.
Posted by Dead Soulman (245 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"share more than just music files?"
"Will it allow you to share more than just music files?"

MS hasn't released the details, but their Zune.net web site states that "you can send pictures, too" and "any pictures that are sent to you are yours to keep."
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Link Flag
Mossberg and Pogue give Zune two thumbs down
Looks like Zune may be a non-starter. But will that really surprise anyone?

I doubt if any Microsoft's Plays For Sure partners will be crying if it blows up on the launch pad.


<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/09/technology/09pogue.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/09/technology/09pogue.html</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://ptech.wsj.com/ptech.html" target="_newWindow">http://ptech.wsj.com/ptech.html</a>
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They Are About as Fair and Balanced as Bill O'Reilly.
You failed to mention that Pogue and Mossberg are, ahem... Mac Fanboys. They praise any and everything Apple releases (Heck, even the first version of Aperture!)

And Pogue is writing a book about Windows Vista, which he will no doubt bash to pieces, and he doesn't even have a final release yet. In fact, he started writing the book about Vista when Beta 1 came out, so how could he even be considered fair?

P.S. I am replying to your message on my iMac while my iPod sits on the desk in front of me, so you can't claim that I am a Windows-loving prude.
Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Link Flag
On Second Thought...
I must apologize. After reading Pogue and Mossberg's reviews again (carefully), it seems that they actually LIKE the device; they just don't want to stress that they like it.

Pogue goes so far as to say it is "Excellent", but he beats it up for two paragraphs first.

I wonder if they are getting paid by Apple?

(SIDE NOTE: WAIT A SECOND: ZUNE HAS BEATLES ALBUMS AND ITUNES DOESN'T?!)
Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Link Flag
Another Mac user here
who thinks that Pogue is a freaking tool. Steven Jobs could sh*t in a
hat and Pogue would think it was a stunning blow to Microsoft.
Posted by rapier1 (2722 comments )
Link Flag
Why bother?
What's Microsoft doing in the DAP market? What does it have to
do with business software, servers, or operating systems? What
expertise does Microsoft bring to the table?

One might ask the same question about Apple but here the
question is easily answered. The Mac has always been a lifestyle
choice as much as a computing platform and Apple has a history
of making complex technology simple to use. What Apple
brought to the table of DAP was obvious from day one. But the
same cannot be said of Microsoft.

The Zune is nothing more than a repackaged also ran. Microsoft,
recognizing that it couldn't get anything out the door before the
Christmas buying season simply licensed a failed DAP, gave it
new clothes and brain-dead WiFi, and software that is wimpier
than Microsoft's own media player. How cynical is this? Microsoft
wants your dollars and will do anything to dip into your pocket!

If this isn't enough, what else has Microsoft done along the way?
The Zune uses a DRM scheme that is incompatible with
Plays4Sure - in fact, those of us who have bought Plays4Sure
music are now out of luck. Thanks Bill. Microsoft has also
cynically signed a contract with Universal which gives the music
company a cut of its Zune profits. This obviously is an attempt
to poison Apple's future negotiations more than an attempt to
get Universal on board. More cynicism.

After putting aside all the glitter and glitz that Microsoft is
throwing out, what we see in the end is the same out same old.
Microsoft can't stand to be left out of anything involving the
computer and has to jump in, even if it isn't part of the core of
Microsoft. Anyone who gets in the way, even old partners, get
shunted off to the side. And the consumer? Who cares about the
consumer?

To Microsoft the consumer is nothing more than a constant
supply of ready cash. WItness points. Why does the Zune site use
points instead of cash? And why are 79 Zune Points actually
worth 99 cents? All part and parcel of Bill Gates separating our
cash from our wallets.

Give Bill and Co a resounding message - say no to Zune.
Posted by davidwb (64 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Do you own an iPod or something?
Geeze. Don't be so quick to the gun. Let the thing be released then you can run your mouth off. I am sure this same speach was used when they released the Xbox now look at its success...
Posted by bobj123 (94 comments )
Link Flag
Think like a band?
Musician's don't sit in focus groups and try to improve the customer experience, trust me, I've been a musician for 20 years.

No if you want to think like a band you have to drink heavily, do all your work from 10pm to 2am, be selfish, arrogant, and forget everything you know about making good business decisions. Oh, and you have to work for free, or for a few bucks and all the beer you can drink!

Wait.... maybe they WERE thinking like a band when they designed that turd colored beast and named it Zune.
Posted by ss_Whiplash (143 comments )
Reply Link Flag
PC Mag: Zune = "Wow" (Link)
From PC Magazine:

"I got a first-hand look at the Toshiba-built, Microsoft-designed digital music player and the associated software and supporting Web site and all I can say is "Wow."

"Great design. Easy-to use. Wireless capabilities work. Integration with software appears smooth."

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2054203,00.asp" target="_newWindow">http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2054203,00.asp</a>
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
what the "FUD" review
yikes...

this reviewer seemes like a crying lady..

How can such people get to do the review @ c|net.

Isn't it Funny.. while the Title talks about Microsoft, instead of going into Features of Zune.. the guy is having a SWAN-SONG on ipod.

come on bashers... do you get money for these things.

Is this review is also one of ap(e)les surlious ad campaigne???


yikeeeeeeeeeees
Posted by nonicks (89 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe&
&they get to do reviews because they have a moderate clue as to
how to spell, use English grammar, and bother to use a spell
checker to breach the gap.
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
Plays For Now...Pay Us Again.
Lets see...they left out how it is a closed systems &#38; you can't buy
songs from anyone else, but the Zune is not cross platform. That's
all I have constantly heard from Cnet &#38; MS apologists such as
yourself since the iPod hit the market. Now MS is following Apples
strategy &#38; pissing on their partners &#38; all I hear is how cool a brown
wannabe iPod &#38; a wannabe knockoff of iTunes is. MS should be
honest with it's naming conventions why not call all of their forays
into the entertainment business "Plays For Now...Pay Us Again".
Posted by scweezil (171 comments )
Link Flag
It's only FUD if it's WRONG
The author is right on the nose, what he says is true.

Deal with it, Mr. Fanboi.
Posted by gernblan (71 comments )
Link Flag
Not an iPod challenger.........
Where to start...

1- Microsoft, notorious for burning every ally that has partnered with them, is now disbanding support for PlaysForSure in exchange for the Zune Marketplace. Not to mention, you cannot upload music to your Zune from Windows Media Player. You cannot play music you bought from a PlaysForSure content provider. And Microsoft + MTV's heralded Urge service also apparently will not work with the Zune. So...you stab your partners in the back (big surprise), and burn those loyal to WMA and PlaysForSure (how ironically named) by saying "Sorry, you have to repurchase tracks again, or pay us for a new subscription". Also, think about this- Zune won't play your current subscription music. Well, at least you aren't locked into one format your thinking...soo, you'll have to re download all the tracks from your library all over again to the new Zune enhanced WMA format. Could possibly be thousands and thousands of songs you'll have to re download. Subscription models really ARE great, I'm convinced now.... (wait another two years, then you'll have some new format to adjust to all over again).

2- Considering that Microsoft is making the sharing feature the biggest selling point, let's knock that crutch down right now while we are at it. You are at a party, with your stylishly bulky Zune (sure to attract all the ladies) and you are beamed a song from a friend. Listen to it two times in a row. You are hooked. You love this song. It's great! You find another friend. "Hey, check out this song I just got hooked on, I'll send it to your Zune." Oh wait, you can't! No re-sending a song sent to. "Welcome to the social" indeed... Not to mention that, after finding out you cannot share that song with your friend, you listen to it one more time, then try the 4th time and...... "Thank you for enjoying this song, please go to Zune Marketplace and blindly surrender your money to us". Great concept...sharing is limited and really isn't sharing afterall. And the limitations placed on the shared files are just ridiculous.


3- Everyone knows how much Microsoft has in the bank. $250 is equal to the 30GB iPod retail currently. So, why should I buy a Zune? There is no pricing incentive....sharing, as I've shown, is overrated and hindered by D.R.M., and I'll have to buy new music all over again, or get a lovely subscription. You can afford to lower the price Microsoft. This 1.0 offering of yours isn't great and should be priced as such. 30GB? Bring it down to $199, then we'll talk.

4-Music. Music is great. Everyone loves music. But umm, what about movies, music videos, podcasts (or ZuneCasts), and TV shows? No? How can you expect Zune to be a hit seller for the holiday season, if you have a limited content offering. Microsoft has had tons of time to secure deals with content providers to make the Zune an instant success. This only proves everyone's thinking that Microsoft is slow and lethargic. Come on Microsoft!

5-The point system. You really think you can fool us by charging more points for different songs? The gloves are off...99 cents for a song on iTunes that costs "X" amount of points on Zune Marketplace which may actually tally up to...$1.29, $1.49? or higher! Make sense to you? Sure doesn't to me.

6-People love their iPods. When people hear Microsoft, they think one of two things. Depending on how tech savvy the people are, people think- A)Bill Gates, multi billionaire, or.. B)Windows. And their loathing of it. With Microsoft's past of crappy and overpriced software, a long and colorful history of angry customers (the forced media format change sure isn't helping right now) and their overall distrust and often hatred of Microsoft is going to be hard to overcome. Tech enthusiasts will be an easy sell, but to win over the mainstream crowd will be hard. Zune will have to be sexy, hip, stylish, and iconic. Everything Microsoft is certainly not. X360 did a good job of differentiating itself from the Microsoft brand. But with the "Microsoft Points" programs, etc. people are going to realize, "Hey, this is Microsoft. They guys that introduced me to the amazing blue screen of death, PlaysNoMore, and is the king of the Office hill" Are spreadsheets and databases sexy? (Looking back, the breakup of Microsoft could actually have been a good thing)


7-The nearly unanimous support from accessory makers will be hard to compete with. "Made for iPod" is everywhere.

8-One Zune model. iPod? iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, and iPod. How can Microsoft really compete with the iPod dynasty with one model? Come on!!

That, my friends, is why Zune will never fly.
Posted by naterandrews (256 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not an ipod, either
"Great concept...sharing is limited and really isn't sharing afterall."

You don't like the concept of beaming a song to a friend? Then buy an Ipod or other manufacturer's ME3 player. They won't do it, period.

Personally, I think it's a neat idea... but you won't see me racing to the store to buy a zune. I'm quite satisfied with my Sansa for now. It doesn't beam songs to a friend either.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
Zune not ipod and ipod not zune
"Great concept...sharing is limited and really isn't sharing afterall."

You don't like the concept of beaming a song to a friend? Then buy an Ipod or other manufacturer's ME3 player. They won't do it, period.


Personally, I think it's a neat idea... but you won't see me racing to the store to buy a zune. I'm quite satisfied with my Sansa for now. It doesn't beam songs to a friend either.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
iPod is beatable
I have a 20G iPod. I have it loaded with mp3s. It is barely tolerable having to scroll through all that music with that wheel, I can't imagine how long it would take if I had a fully loaded 40G iPod. Though that would be a good problem to have, I think if anyone can match the iTunes player with a good UI to help get through all the clutter on the device, they could make a good run at Apple's iTunes.

Steve Jobs is benefiting from people not trying hard enough.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Dude...
Playlist &#38; Smart Folders on your iPod...
Check it out.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Link Flag
What in the World are you Talking About!?
"barely tolerable having to scroll through all that music with that
wheel, ..."

If I was a manifested stick man with one finger I could do it!

Ever heard of a playlist? Ever heard of categories? These are all
part of the UI as well! You can organize your music however you
like, and as a direct result, be able to look them up in the same
manner.

Personally, I have a 60g that is 75% full. I have absolutely no
problem scrolling for what i want.

You must be completely clueless, or worse.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
Couldn't diagree more..
I have an 80GB iPod which is almost full with Just over 19,000
songs. Most from my own CDs. It is SO easy to scroll through as
it speeds up and NOW with the new iTunes you view the letters
A, B, C, etc. so you can easily slow down when you are at the
approriate song or artist. The size just fits in your hand
perfectly.

So I am NOT a huge iTunes downloader..only individual songs
since I feel it is such a better deal to buy CDs. Even at 14 bucks
top, you are never limited to usage and have it forever. The
quality is the best and the art work is the bonus. If I don't like or
tire, I can trade it in at a used shop and get maybe 4-5 bucks
credit and thus it becomes cheaper than buying a full album
from iTunes... and I still have the songs which i loaded in.
Posted by beatmoses (56 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft zuned up badly this time
In two years Steve B and his zuning yes-boyz will acknowledge
their total failure to make an impact in this market. In the
meantime they'll lose a lot of money pimping this derivative
second-rate product, which will only look worse as each new
generation of iPods is released. They're zuning crazy if they think
anyone wants to zune around with a wireless song transfer that
evaporates after three plays. Zune off!
Posted by Keith X (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Three tries to get it right
Don't count Zune out. After all, no one expects MS to get
anything right the first time.

By version 3 Zune may be a real competitor. Look at the XBox.
MS is selling a ton of those, and will probably sell a ton of Zunes
at some point. And like the XBox they will probably lose their
@ss on every sale.

The Zune will end up being a competitor which will force Apple
to keep innovating to stay ahead. IMO it will be another case of
the consumer wins because Microsoft shareholders are
subsidizing their purchases.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
Zune=NoEncoder, No FM or Voice Record, No Line Input/Output
Zune = NoEncoder to MP3/WMA from Line in/mic, No FM or Voice Record, No Line Input/Output.

Battery life poor. Non-user replaceable.

Video format unusual.

Expensive
Posted by bartsystems (8 comments )
Link Flag
shut the zune up
:-)
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Link Flag
Oh, no they won't. They have Lawyers.
In two years, MS will rage that consumers have been duped by propaganda against the far superior Zune. Then they'll look over their patent portfolio and decide they can control the world through spurious but certified IP and vague threats of legal action.

Holding up a patent for a method and device that initializes the play of music after the release of a button, MS will approach Apple and ask them to take the iPod off the market. CEO Steve Jobs, realizing that MS has gotten a patent for an on/off switch, will laugh himself sick all over his Porsche and have Apple campus security escort the MS attorneys out of the building.

Finally, MS will enter into a cross licensing agreement for their music-initialization-device patent with an Uzbekistani manufacturer of plastic doorstops. Ballmer will appear on TV commercials holding up the Zune and intoning darkly about "renegade devices" that are on the market without benefit of licenses for MS's "globally recognized music initialization technologies."

MS attorneys are stunned to find out no one has the foggiest idea what the commercials are supposed to mean but the Redmond campus is swamped with phone calls from people asking what kind of scalp wax Mr Ballmer uses.

Enraged by the commercial's failure, Ballmer runs out into SR 520 and head butts buses off the road until he is subdued by Washington State animal control officers.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Link Flag
MS = Mosh Pit Music?
hahahahahahahahahaha!
right...good one......

Oh I get it...Seattle / Redmond / Microsoft / Grunge Bands / Mosh Pit / Zune = " cool &#38; with it...edgy...alternative..."

Wha'ev.

Fat bald errogant business man in a tacky Brooks Brothers suit tell us that he's "with it &#38; down with the groupies in the mish pit by pimpin' his brown Zune turd mp3 player...

hahahahahahahaha!
Laugh untill you spew dude!

=8-0~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
the part I love about this link:
the first image that comes up on this below link has a "dude" - eyes closed, pushing hard, like he's trying to sh-t out another brown Zune.

What? is he on the production staff? Then to the left, a chick with bad teeth.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.zune.net/en-US/" target="_newWindow">http://www.zune.net/en-US/</a>

Great marketing MS, great!
Posted by OS11 (844 comments )
Link Flag
5 Zunie commercials
get your Zunies &#38; party with the dog pound!

Check out the DJ Dog &#38; his wicked scratch!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments/11511" target="_newWindow">http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments/11511</a>
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
zunie commercials
These commercials don't make any sense as to what the zune is,
what it does for you, or why you should buy it. The dog
commercial is just a waste. Lets face it, are you going to go to a
live concert and listen to an mp3 player???? The ad guys and MS
guys should get a concept before getting excited and smoked
up over this drivel.
Posted by JonB. (59 comments )
Link Flag
Those commercials sold me on something--
calling my broker and ordering more Apple stock.
Posted by Norseman (1319 comments )
Link Flag
Read my lips
Hey guys, chill.

It wasn't PlaysForSure! It's PlaysForSure? with a silent (not) at the end.

Just like it was:
'Know New Taxes' not 'No new Taxes' with Bush Sr.
'The Fair Well Tour', not 'The Farewell Tour' for the Who
and so on. This isn't anything new.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm already "getting used to it"...
I've already purchased ALL the music I'll ever buy from Microsoft
using their system-none!
Posted by filmtex (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What a lot of people seem to miss&
&in all this mindless frothing at the mouth about trivial features
like sharing and full track sampling is that the primary reason
that Apple did not include similar functionality in the iPod was
that the music industry, in their greed and paranoia, would not
allow it when the ITMS first debuted.
Now that they are feeling boxed in by previous stupid business
decisions, they feel the need to support some kind of challenge
to the iPod hegemony. As such they are willing to acquiesce on
these issues and allow for slightly less restrictive policies.
Since they have made this step, there is nothing preventing
Apple from incorporating these features, at which point, even if
they did provide competitive advantages (which I doubt) any
such advantage would evaporate like the vapourware of
Longhorn.
There seems to be this presupposition that when MS updates the
zune that it will compete against the same iPod lineup as today.
Future zunes will be going up against future iPods, and popular
features incorporated into the zune due to music industry
acquiescence can be more elegantly incorprated into the iPod.
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What a lot of people seem to miss&
&in all this mindless frothing at the mouth about trivial features
like sharing and full track sampling is that the primary reason
that Apple did not include similar functionality in the iPod was
that the music industry, in their greed and paranoia, would not
allow it when the ITMS first debuted.
Now that they are feeling boxed in by previous stupid business
decisions, they feel the need to support some kind of challenge
to the iPod hegemony. As such they are willing to acquiesce on
these issues and allow for slightly less restrictive policies.
Since they have made this step, there is nothing preventing
Apple from incorporating these features, at which point, even if
they did provide competitive advantages (which I doubt) any
such advantage would evaporate like the vapourware of
Longhorn.
There seems to be this presupposition that when MS updates the
zune that it will compete against the same iPod lineup as today.
Future zunes will be going up against future iPods, and popular
features incorporated into the zune due to music industry
acquiescence can be more elegantly incorprated into the iPod.

P.S. If this gets double posted, blame CNET
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What the astroturfers seem to miss...
...is that the point of Zune is not to create a music player that excels on the tech merits, but on the business merits.

-------------------------
From the Washington Post:

Now, Microsoft's deal with Universal may change the landscape between Apple and the labels, Gartenberg said. "The obvious question is: What happens the next time Apple meets with Universal?"

Morris said he intends to point to the Microsoft agreement when he sits down with Apple chief executive Steve Jobs.

"We're going to try and make a deal with Apple, too," he said. Jobs "has been a very good partner . . . [but] he's not the kind of guy you're going to tell what to do."

A spokesman for Apple declined to comment.
-------------------------

This is what Microsoft does so well -- eating revenue loss to cut their competitors off at the knees.
Posted by Betty Roper (121 comments )
Reply Link Flag
duh
MS loses on technical merit everytime.

MS will fail for three reasons:

1. Zune is underwhelming at best.

2. People have caught on the the BS at MS and rightfully distrust them.

3. iTunes has the mindshare and MS can do nothing to reverse that.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
No one is missing it&
&It is just not important. In fact, it HAS been mentioned several
times if you would bother to pay attention.
Any number of people, including in this very discussion have
mentioned it. But since you appear to not be paying attention:
The business merits of the zune SUCK!
First, the technical features are such that very few people are
going to buy it. Second, people are not as dumb as cynical
industry insiders, especially those in MS, believe. Their business
model of points not cents is a thinly veiled attempt to charge
more that $.99 a song. People might not be able to do linear
equations, but they can certainly figure out when a certain
number of points equals $1.49. They will see no reason to
abandon ITMS and pay more for less. Third, since there are any
number of other parties involved, MS is going to be forced to
pay additional "partners."
Fourth, and most important, nothing in this business model puts
ANY pressure on Apple. Jobs is also not stupid, and as such, his
response to Universal is most likely going to be "go screw
yourself." Universal is not in any position to refuse to sell tracks
through ITMS, and is not in a position to try to leverage Jobs
based on the zune. As you yourself quoted, "Jobs is not the kind
of guy you're going to tell what to do."
So, immature, sophomoric attempts at ad hominem aside, you
are wrong, no one has missed this, and the Zune excels at
nothing besides being a joke. Not in the technical, nor the
business, sense. It will, however, succeed in alienating their
partners even more, especially MTV and the plays4sure crowd,
whom they have now officially screwed over
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
No one is missing it&
&It is just not important. In fact, it HAS been mentioned several
times if you would bother to pay attention.
Any number of people, including in this very discussion have
mentioned it. But since you appear to not be paying attention:
The business merits of the zune SUCK!
First, the technical features are such that very few people are
going to buy it. Second, people are not as dumb as cynical
industry insiders, especially those in MS, believe. Their business
model of points not cents is a thinly veiled attempt to charge
more that $.99 a song. People might not be able to do linear
equations, but they can certainly figure out when a certain
number of points equals $1.49. They will see no reason to
abandon ITMS and pay more for less. Third, since there are any
number of other parties involved, MS is going to be forced to
pay additional "partners."
Fourth, and most important, nothing in this business model puts
ANY pressure on Apple. Jobs is also not stupid, and as such, his
response to Universal is most likely going to be "go screw
yourself." Universal is not in any position to refuse to sell tracks
through ITMS, and is not in a position to try to leverage Jobs
based on the zune. As you yourself quoted, "Jobs is not the kind
of guy you're going to tell what to do."
So, immature, sophomoric attempts at ad hominem aside, you
are wrong, no one has missed this, and the Zune excels at
nothing besides being a joke. Not in the technical, nor the
business, sense. It will, however, succeed in alienating their
partners even more, especially MTV and the plays4sure crowd,
whom they have now officially screwed over
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
Zune way too late..
Bought an iPod about 6 months ago and have NO plans to toss the
thing out to buy a Zune. Besides, there's already too much
Microsh*t on the market anyway..
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Zune Virus Alert!
Every other Microsoft technology facilitates the spread of virii. I expect we'll see a Zune virus hopping around the wireless port sooner rather than later.
Posted by Microsoft_Facts (109 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The plural of virus
Sorry, but the plural of virus is not *viri, and is certainly not the
even more ridiculous *virii (from where exactly are you getting that
extra "i?")
The noun virus, meaning either replicating DNA or RNA pseudo-
organism, or its extension as a term for computer malware, being
an ENGLISH word (not Latin) uses the English construction "viruses"
as a plural.
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
dude....
There is an audio video jack,,for you to connect the tv and watch anythk you want,,,and its allows you to send,,not just the music files..it allows jpeg..i m not sure about mpeg(it should be though),,,but jpeg is trasferable for sure...and it will take no more than 10 sec to transfer 1 song,,,and stop hating microsoft,,coz if you sit back,,relax and think properly,,whats all feature that zune have is going to be worst than ipod...
Posted by jaspal.m (52 comments )
Reply Link Flag
commacommacomma
Almost nothing you said has even an ounce of merit. It certainly
does not have legibility.
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
Forbes Magazine Condemns Zune !
At last, a magazine that doesn't have MS as an advertiser can tell the objective truth about this ridiculous iPod wanna be.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://blogs.forbes.com/digitaldownload/2006/11/zune_stinks.html" target="_newWindow">http://blogs.forbes.com/digitaldownload/2006/11/zune_stinks.html</a>

Forbes get it right on DRM, pricing complexity and MS's singularly demented marketing. What does the sell line "Welcome to the Social" is supposed to mean? Is this an attempt at, hey, hep cat speak?

And, hey, they're only selling that at a loss of $50 a unit. Are these guys geniuses or what?

Roberto
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Microsoft Mantra
"Competition is good for every one."

Yes, who more than Microsoft has embraced the spirit and strength
of open competition?

This is hilarious coming from a Microsoft employee. I'm sure all the
past employees of the competitors that Microsoft crushed are
rolling on the floor laughing right now!
Posted by VidPro (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Anti-Microsoft Mantra
Who more than Microsoft has been forced to compete with disadvantages like having to sell versions of Windows without Windows Media Player when nobody complains Apple bundles QuickTime with every OSX, thanks to all those fines (many of them totally ridiculous, like this one) against them? What I think it's hilarious is that people like you accuse Microsoft of not playing fair just because some of their products are better than the competition and, thus, have completely dominated the market by a large margin for many years (nobody is pointing a gun to anyone's head forcing people to buy Microsoft products). I'm sure too all people like you will continue to give the ignorant excuse that whenever a Microsoft product succeeds it's because they don't play fair.
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
Link Flag
no monopoly no fun
The cometition in MP3 player market very, very strong. There are literally dozens of small Asian brands of players, who are more cheaper, feature-rich and pirate-friendly than Zune. And since we talk about youth market the emphasis on "pirate-friendly" is important.
So, why should anyone suffer the DRM hell of Microsoft?
Posted by Santa Clauz (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
no monopoly no fun
The competition in MP3 player market very, very strong. There are literally dozens of small Asian brands of players, who are more cheaper, feature-rich and pirate-friendly than Zune. And since we talk about youth market the emphasis on "pirate-friendly" is important.
So, why should anyone suffer the DRM hell of Microsoft?
Posted by Santa Clauz (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
monopoly
By NO measure is the competition in the DMP market "veery. veery
strong. It does not matter how many players their are, it matters
how the market is carved up. With one company having over 80% of
the market, it is hard to see how you think their is competitipn. as
for being pirate friendly, it is of trivial importance.
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
By Next Year's Holiday Season...
...all of the iPod worshipers will be searching new meaning in their lives when they see how well-received Zune has been by consumers. BTW, where did this "everyone must love AAPL" belief system come from, which seems to be endlessly regurgitated?

Gene from ZuneChannel.com
Posted by ZuneChannel (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
... your Zune will be REPLACED
Do you, you silly, endlessly regurgitating MS fanboy, have any reason to think that Zune is a ripoff simply because the battery cannot be replaced? What the heck is that about? More disposable GARBAGE to clutter the planet -- especially if it is as successful as YOU seem to think it will be. SUCKERS!
Posted by Ringhorne (4 comments )
Link Flag
By next summer
you will be posting under a different name, deny ever posting
such ridiculous prognostications, and be no where to be found
to be called to task for such.

Balmer will be well on the way to making the decision to cut and
run on the Zune, and by next holiday season you will all be
scrambling for some lousy firmware update to allow you to play
tracks from Napster since the Zune store will have gone belly up,
and none of the original Microshaft partners in plays4sure, nor
MTV will be willing to jump in to fill the breach.
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag
 

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