What’s in a name? ‘Zune’ a French-Canadian euphemism for penis or vagina

“Microsoft Corp. market researchers in Quebec found themselves in a potential linguistic pickle when they conducted consumer test-runs of the digital music player Zune, which the company officially announced on Thursday will be competing by Christmas with Apple’s hugely successful iPod,” Randy Boswell reports for CanWest News Service.

Boswell reports, “A Microsoft spokeswoman in Montreal told CanWest News Service that ‘it was pointed out to us’ during focus groups in the province that the proposed brand name sounded much like a French-Canadian term used as a euphemism for penis or vagina.”

Boswell reports, “The French word ‘zoune’ and the variant ‘bizoune’ typically serve as a less jolting way of referring to male or female genitalia when addressing children.”

‘It’s very much slang,’ said Nathalie Bergeron, noting that the words are not common parts of French-Canadian vocabulary. ‘Microsoft did do extensive customer research in Quebec,’ Bergeron added, and concluded that the name Zune was ‘very effective’ and posed no risk of becoming known as an embarrassing double entendre,” Boswell reports.

“But sounds of snickering over the apparent Zune branding predicament have been emanating for months from technology-obsessed corners of the Internet,” Boswell reports. “In July, during an earlier round of publicity about Microsoft’s plans to introduce Zune, the British-based business news site theinquirer.net revealed the potential ‘naming conundrum” in Quebec under the headline: ‘My Zune is bigger than yours.'”

Full article here.

[Attribution: Macworld UK. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “jendensam” for the heads up.]

Similarly, last week, The Inquirer’s Nick Farrell reported, “Microsoft Marketers are having a hell of a job establishing the super soaraway operating system in the pecking order in Latvia. Apparently, whenever they ring up peddling Vista, Latvians burst out laughing because the name means ‘chicken.'”

Full article here.
It almost – almost – goes without saying that the first unlucky soul who buys a Zune then plugs and prays it into his Windows Vista PC causing its inevitable crash will give a whole new meaning to the phrase “choking the chicken.”

Related articles:
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. HUHHAHAHAHAHHAAH “Choking the Chicken” – Plug Zune in your Vista!

    Hilarious as anything around Microsoft these days.

    When the most common reaction you trigger around you is laughters and snickering you should realize you lost it. MS: soon you’ll realize it you too.

  2. Similar thing happened to GM a couple of years ago with the Buick LaCrosse. It seems in the French section of Canada “LaCrosse” is slang for “masturbate”. They changed the Canadian cars name to Allure.

    Where are all the geniuses who should be researching this crap BEFORE a product gets introduced?

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