Analyst: Microsoft Zune won’t spoil Apple’s biggest iPod Christmas ever

“Two days after Apple refreshed and lowered the prices on its iPod line (and thereby wrought havoc on Microsoft’s launch plans), Microsoft today announced its own 30 Gigabyte Zune music player,” Carl Howe, principal analyst, writes for Blackfriars’ marketing. “This first product in the Zune line is, in fact, a rebadged Toshiba Gigabeat. It offers an FM tuner, will be available in black, brown, and white, and will provide wireless connectivity between Zune devices. In its press release, Microsoft commented on the Zune-to-Zune wireless sharing:”

Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends between Zune devices. Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days. If you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device and easily purchase it from the Zune Marketplace.

Howe writes, “That sounds pretty restrictive from where we sit and a far cry from a the unlimited WiFi sharing previously rumored. It will be interesting to see consumer reaction to this feature and whether it actually drives or inhibits Zune sales.”

“Pre-announcing a product without pricing, availability, and actual services is just a waste of a press release… with Microsoft laying out the major features of Zune now, it is letting consumers compare Apple’s new fifth generation iPods with Zunes head-to-head with an important distinction: consumers can buy Apple iPods and can’t buy Zunes,” Howe writes.

Howe writes, “Microsoft may have thought it needed to do this announcement to respond to Steve Jobs’ event this week and staunch the new flood of iPod sales. But if Microsoft thought they were going to spoil Apple’s biggest iPod Christmas ever, it just threw away one of its chances to do so.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Microsoft unveils Zune 30GB player, Zune Marketplace; declines to disclose prices – September 14, 2006
Microsoft sees room in music player market for ‘Zune’ to challenge Apple’s dominant iPod – September 06, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft’s Zune an ‘underwhelming’ repackaged Toshiba Gigabeat; no threat to Apple iPod – August 30, 2006
Microsoft confirms brick-like Zune to be made by Toshiba – August 25, 2006
Microsoft Zune is chunky brick made by Toshiba – August 25, 2006
Microsoft to spend hundreds of millions, several years on Zune trying to catch Apple iPod+iTunes – July 27, 2006
Zune: Apple cannot lose. Microsoft cannot win. – July 26, 2006


  1. haha, i bet they have a lot of signage and advertising to change the priceing on, they prob assumed as we all do apple would keep to the same price structure (we know theyre just making room for the full screen vid pod dont we!?!?!

  2. That WiFi sharing sounds so complicated I can’t see it taking off…hell, i fyou are within WiFi range, why not just pass the headphones over to the other person? It’s just as convenient as listening 3 times in 3 days.

  3. The Wi-Fi feature is interesting, but too weird and complicated to be a selling point for the device. People may use the feature, but they won’t buy the device for the feature. After all, how can you be certain you’ll encounter another individual who owns one of these things? The Zune will have to take off before Wi-Fi sharing becomes at all interesting.

  4. Anytime someone runs into a restriction in some sort of real-world scenario, it’s a slap in the face and leaves an especially bad experience. If I’m pushed to buy a song I’ve suddenly been restricted from hearing, I’d go somewhere else for all my songs so not to ever run into the hassle again.

  5. I agree about the wifi share thingy. Even though wifi range is technically 300ft, how the hell do u initiate a share w/o seeing the person? How do u restrict access? Does the zune have a keyboard for password entry? It’s failed from the start.

  6. This week’s events were as stark a reminder as anything as to Apple’s power in this market:

    The world’s biggest online retailer (Amazon) and the world’s largest software company (Microsoft) both timed their product rollouts to steal Apple’s spotlight.

    Neither succeeded.

    Personally, I think the real sleeper in Tuesday’s announcements is the iPod shuffle. The price is so low that, for some, it will qualify as a “stocking stuffer” for Christmas. For business people, it’s a perfect client gift.

    I think they’ll sell a boatload of these — many to kids and 1st time iPod users — and, thus, further cement customer ties with iTunes. The market for Zune’s “marketplace” will shrink that much further.

  7. “G-AAAAAAAAY!” ??!!!!

    No Gay man in his right mind would do anything that stupid!!

    If you put a roomful of Gay men at the task of designing a computer and MP3 player, you KNOW it’d look a lot like a Mac and iPod. C’mon, admit it – you LOVE the effeminate look and feel of Macs.

    [Besides, I thought homophobic bigoted slurs were of your father’s generation… but, I suppose the nut still doesn’t fall far from the tree.]

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