“Reportedly surprised by Apple’s recent iPod price cuts, Microsoft this week announced that its upcoming Zune MP3 player will be priced at $249.99, the same price as the iPod model it most closely resembles. Microsoft also said it now plans to ship Zune in the US on November 14,” Paul Thurrott writes for WinInfo.
Thurrott writes, “Microsoft will be bolstering the device with a new online service called Zune Marketplace, where Zune users can browse and purchase songs for about 99 cents each. Unlike Apple’s iTunes service, however, Zune Marketplace will also offer a $14.99 monthly subscription called Zune Pass that gives subscribers access to all Zune Marketplace content.”
Over on Internet-Nexus, Thurrrott remarks on his own WinInfo piece. Incestuous narcissism notwithstanding, Thurrot’s comment is short and to-the-point, “This has the makings of a disaster. $14.99 a month is too much for a subscription service. The Zune is incompatible with both iTunes and every single WMA-based service on the planet. What the heck are these people thinking?”
Full article here.
Even if Zune was beautiful to look at, offered double the capacity of iPod at half the price, and actually offered some compelling feature that the iPod doesn’t have (and no, ridiculously-limited viral DRM Wi-Fi “sharing” with a Zuneless world and a crappy built-in FM radio don’t cut it), the Zune cannot win.
Steve Jobs holds all of the cards. He can welcome other companies of his own choosing into the iPod+iTunes ecosystem if they’re ever needed. Also-ran device makers would jump at the chance to play iTunes Store content and also-ran online media services would likewise line up for the chance to sell content for iPods – they would have jumped at the chance even before they were hung out to dry by Microsoft (Zune doesn’t support PlaysForSure, only Zune Marketplace).
Even though he almost certainly will not need to go so far, the option is there if he needs it. At any time he wishes, Steve Jobs can relegate Zune to nothingness, regardless of Microsoft’s efforts. This isn’t like the Mac, where we loyal Mac users simply would not let the platform die: there are no Zune users and there is no established Zune ecosystem to keep it alive if Apple decides to snuff it out. The Mac came well before Windows and built an ecosystem and a following that kept it alive despite small market share and through tough times. The Zune is coming late, far after the iPod. Imagine if Apple tried to launch the Mac today, with Windows firmly established: it just wouldn’t work at all, no matter how superior the product. And Zune isn’t superior: it’s bulkier and uglier with a fake click wheel, it costs slightly more than the same capacity 30GB iPod, and Zune’s features just aren’t compelling enough.
The fact that Microsoft is even trying this Zune thing in such a manner only highlights how desperately the company needs new management, focus, and direction. Why not just make a giant pile of money up there in Redmond and have a bonfire instead? You dopes would accomplish the same thing in the end.
Note to Microsoft: you should not launch faux “Zune fan” websites until after the product is actually released if you want anyone to think they’re really inspired by your product/service.
Analyst: Microsoft Zune’s as good as dead on arrival – September 28, 2006
Microsoft sets 30GB Zune price at $249.99 – September 28, 2006
How Microsoft’s Zune can kill Apple’s iPod – September 21, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune insanity – September 21, 2006
The Microsoft Zune 1.0 dud – September 20, 2006
Microsoft’s underwhelming Zune a ‘viral DRM’ device – September 18, 2006
SanDisk teams with RealNetworks against new common foe: Microsoft Zune – September 18, 2006
Creative does Apple’s dirty work by immediately attacking Microsoft’s Zune – September 17, 2006
Motley Fool’s Jayson: Microsoft’s ‘just plain ugly’ Zune a meager offering, not an iPod killer – September 15, 2006
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
Computerworld review: ‘Apple’s new iPods are better than ever’ – September 27, 2006
PC Magazine’s 19th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards for MP3 players: Apple iPod line – September 25, 2006
USA Today reviews new Apple iPod nanos, updated iPods, iTunes 7 (each earns 4 stars out of 4) – September 21, 2006
Time Magazine’s Gadget of the Week: Apple iPod 80GB – September 21, 2006
CNET Editor’s Choice: Apple fifth-gen updated iPod – ‘best, most attractive iPod to date’ – September 20, 2006
Disney’s remarkable 1st week iTunes movies sales should have studios clambering aboard Apple train – September 20, 2006
Disney sells 125,000 movie downloads via Apple’s iTunes Store in first week – September 19, 2006
PC Magazine review: iTunes 7 ‘Apple’s best effort yet’ (4 stars out of 5) – September 15, 2006
CNET Editor’s Pick: Apple’s new 2G iPod nano – ‘sure to be top choice among wide range of users’ – September 14, 2006
Apple debuts new iPod in 30GB and 80GB with Hollywood movies, games and new lower price – September 12, 2006
Apple intros new iPod nano with new aluminum design in five colors and 24-hour battery life – September 12, 2006
Apple unveils new iPod shuffle: world’s smallest digital music player – September 12, 2006
Apple debuts iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006