Motley Fool’s Jayson: Microsoft’s ‘just plain ugly’ Zune a meager offering, not an iPod killer

“Microsoft has been working on an iPod competitor? Nooo! How would any of us have known, what with the months of official/nonofficial leaks, images, developer blogs, and other stuff, like this funky site that promised to zip me email to keep me informed of Zune news, but was silent Thursday. Even as a valued early-adopter insider, I had to get my news from the cheesy press release,” Seth Jayson writes for The Motley Fool.

“Yes, Microsoft is so pathetic, it can’t even manage to spam me about its next big thing. And if that gives you a giggle, then you have not yet begun to laugh… I just have to get a few things off my chest,” Jayson writes. “I think this thing is just plain ugly, folks. That tiny little wheel coming off the large screen: It looks unbalanced. And the finish, at least in the large images available for download from Microsoft, looks decidedly low-rent. And look at those colors. There are only three, and none of them is really a color. Black and white … bland, but OK.”

“But brown? Brown? Insert your own scatologically-themed ‘truth in advertising’ joke here. My Macophile colleagues have already begun,” Jayson writes. “Surely you can do better than 30 gigs of storage, Mr. Softy… But can we talk about the wireless? The idea is that Zune users can beam songs to each other and they’ll run a limited number of times, for a limited time. Thereafter, if you want to buy it, you can flag it for purchase when you synch the device with your PC.”

“Anyone remember Bill Cosby’s ‘Playground’ monologue? It’s a classic and hilarious tale about how parents ruined a perfectly good abandoned lot by installing all sorts of stuff kids didn’t want or need, like monkey bars,” Jayson writes. “That’s what I think we’ve got here: a feature no one asked for, and something of doubtful need. (Ever hear of passing the headphones?) Honestly, what Microsoft egghead thinks kids want to beam self-destructing songs to each other’s media players? And even if they wanted to trade tunes, the wireless range had better be 100 miles. If this thing sells as slowly as I fear it will, that may be as close as the nearest Zune to share with.”

MacDailyNews Take: Think about it, would you even want to share music with someone whose taste would allow them to chose a Microsoft Zune? Or snapshots taken by someone with such an eye for design? We’ll pass on The Perry Como Christmas Album and those pix of your dad on the beach wearing Bermuda shorts and sandals with black socks, thanks.

Jayson continues, “The fact is, this meager offering here is not an iPod killer. Nothing Redmond can produce in this product line will make much of a dent in Apple’s lead. This shareholder only hopes Microsoft can avoid embarrassing itself too much. Zune seems to have done that, but I can’t help but feel Microsoft’s time and money would be better spent getting Xbox 360 into more living rooms, and getting Windows Vista out the door on time.”

Full article here.
Well, there’s another nice review, huh? Did you know that “Zune” means “self-immolation” in Redmond?

Related articles:
What’s in a name? ‘Zune’ a French-Canadian euphemism for penis or vagina – September 15, 2006
Crave at CNET: ‘Microsoft Zune, all the excitement that brown can bring’ – September 15, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune underwhelms – September 15, 2006
Enderle: Microsoft Zune ‘a design mistake’ – September 15, 2006
Microsoft hypocrisy exposed with Zune: What ever happened to ‘choice?’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune with fake scroll wheel ‘hardly an Apple iPod killer’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune won’t spoil Apple’s biggest iPod Christmas ever – September 14, 2006
Microsoft unveils Zune 30GB player, Zune Marketplace; declines to disclose prices – September 14, 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. Will you be able to maliciously “Zune” crappy songs to people you don’t like? It might be worth the money if you could surreptitiously beam hundreds of Yanni songs onto some dork’s turd-brown also-ran.

  2. I really want to know what all the media relations folks at Redmond are doing right now. Really, where to they find these people and how much money does it take to be that stupid. Are they sitting at their desk thinking they hit a homerun? How embarrassing can it get?

  3. I think Zoune is DOA. They need to pull a rabbit out of the hat, cause the rebranded Gigabeat is not cutting it. They’re better off not releasing the rebranded Gigabeat, but waiting until the new year, when they can release something built from the ground up.

    I think the real story is Apple’s Quicktime. With iTunes comes Quicktime, and where MS’s WMA/V dominated, Quicktime has made up ground fast, amongst PC users. This gives Apple one foot in the door to upsell PC users an iTV, and then who wins the media center living room battle? It’s gonna be a closerun thing, where before it was all MS. This is why MS is floating a Zune, to put a thumb in the dyke and to hold back Quicktime.

  4. LOL, Fresh from Digg:

    Microsoft’s Zune WILL NOT Play Protected Windows Media

    “Microsoft’s Zune will not play protected Windows Media Audio and Video purchased or “rented” from Napster 2.0, Rhapsody, Yahoo! Unlimited, Movielink, Cinemanow, or any other online media service. That’s right — the media that Microsoft promised would Play For Sure doesn’t even play on Microsoft’s own device.”

  5. Can’t Touch This,

    Uh, yeah, let’s show how cool Zune is by setting it to music by M.C. Hammer! You do realize the only time people play “Can’t Touch This” these days is as a joke, right?

    BTW, that’s a hella lot of button pushes and screens just to send a file to someone. Microsoft couldn’t even get that right. If wireless sharing is so central to Zune, maybe they should’ve added a dedicated “send” button instead of having the user dig through menus like a poorly designed cell phone that makes you go through 5 or 6 screens just to set up an alarm?

    If anything, Zune will provide a lot of laughs for the next few months.

  6. “If you’re close enough to beam a picture to someone else’s Zune, wouldn’t you be able to just say, “Hey, look at this picture”, and show them your Zune?”

    Yes, you can. And if you liked the picture you saw, you would have your own copy on your Zune. If you had an iPod, you would have to memorize the picture you saw.

  7. Because I don’t fear repeating myself: any time one does something that seems fun, but gets interrupted, the fun stops, and one will seek thrills elsewhere. Sharing will grow tiresome.

    One is going to bed now.

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