Posts Tagged ‘PlaysForSure’

Microsoft Speaks Up About the Zune Player

After taking much criticism of their latest product, the Zune Media Player, this week Microsoft spoke up about some of their plans for Zune and how this year is just a beachhead, or first landing, so to speak. They expect to sell 1 million players be the end of the fiscal year, June 2007, which would give them somewhere between 10 to 20 percent of the market currently enjoyed by the Apple iPod, which is not too bad of a first year. They also mention that some of the features that they don’t have compared to the iPod are ones that most users don’t use much, and are ones that they will be adding as time goes on.

Assuming that happens, Zune isn’t a total wash, as the number one non-iPod product in the over-$200 MP3 player market during last year’s holiday season only sold a tiny fraction of that amount. It’s also worth nothing that Zune went from the first whiteboard scribbles to finished product in about 10 months, a monumental feat for a company that isn’t particularly well know for moving quickly.

The key to Microsoft’s decision to make the Zune, I was told, is that while Apple controls 75 to 80 percent of the overall market for MP3 players, Apple completely controls the only parts of the market that make money (i.e. large capacity MP3 players). For all of its work creating the underlying technologies for the PlaysForSure initiative, Microsoft watched as its numerous hardware partners, collectively, managed only to steal tiny amounts of share in the low-end flash memory player part of the business. This is not a sustainable business model, I was told.

This holiday season, then, is a “beachhead” period for Microsoft, during which it is trying to change people’s perceptions of the MP3 market from “Apple and everyone else” to “Apple and Microsoft and everyone else.” From this perspective, the company has been somewhat successful. Despite lukewarm reviews, the Zune is a hotly debated topic among influentials. Looking forward, Microsoft intends for Zune to be profitable in 12 to 24 months. “This is the fuel we need to go after Apple on a long-term basis,” I was told. Source: WindowsITPro

They plan to launch and ship many updates for the Zune player and will be adding new devices with more unique features. They are currently readying the first update for some bug fixes and things current users will appreciate, but this update does not contain any new features, especially the one everyone wants, more WiFi stuff baby.

Microsoft is also readying its first software update for the Zune. The update will allow the Zune to work with Windows Vista, Microsoft’s just-finished operating system, which is now available to businesses and goes on sale to consumers in January.

The Zune software update, which is expected before Christmas, will fix some minor glitches and add some performance and other improvements, Microsoft said. The company won’t include major new features in the release, however. Source: News.com

Bill Gates said they are just going to do media, they are going to do more, and they expect to spend several hundred million dollars to develop and market the Zune Media Player.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - December 7, 2006 at 8:21 pm

Categories: Gadgets, Microsoft News   Tags: , , , ,

Another Bad Review for Zune

Just read this post at iTWire called Why consumers are angry with Microsoft over Zune where he describes his experience with the Zune MP3 player from Microsoft, the Zune marketplace software installation he had trouble with because he was using Firefox and goes on to describe why he thinks consumers are angry with Microsoft over the Zune. I say he thinks because he just references himself, so I don’t think he is talking for a group of people.

The first time I tried to download the Zune software, it wouldn’t let me even though my system met the Zune software standards – Win XP SP2, a processor that runs at least at 1.5GHz, memory of at least….hang on what is this nonsense anyway!? I got none of this minimum hardware requirements rubbish when I installed iTunes 7, which installed without hitch in exactly five minutes.

Of course he is comparing 1st generation to 7th generation software, if you go by the version alone, I didn’t do any searching to confirm it, but I remember problem reports with iTunes when it first came out. But you would think Microsoft would try to convert everything they find using the PlaysForSure DRM that windows media player uses, its common courtesy. So, this is not a good comparison, even though Microsoft should’ve had it more polished to start with, being that this has already been done well somewhere else.

The point of all this is that Microsoft seems to have taken the one major thing that consumers don’t like about iPod and iTunes – the DRM restricted closed system – and ignored all the good things. Instead of presenting Joe and Jane consumer with a viable alternative to iPod, Microsoft Zune has given consumers a poorer imitation of the same. That’s why consumers are angry and Zune players, despite massive publicity are still sitting on store shelves.

This is definitely closer to the truth. But I wouldn’t pay for a first generation anything, if I wasn’t getting a Zune from somewhere for free, I would not end up with one for probably a couple years anyway. Heck, I think I bought my first iPod a little over a year ago, so, I really haven’t been any early adopter of much, although that is changing.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - November 27, 2006 at 4:11 am

Categories: Gadgets, Microsoft News, Reviews   Tags: , , ,