Ballmer: Zune’s Wi-Fi will help Microsoft challenge Apple’s iPod+iTunes

“Microsoft Corp. expects wireless song and photo sharing to be the feature that helps it challenge the dominant iPod in the market for portable music players, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said on Monday,” Reuters reports.

Reuters reports, “In a phone interview with Reuters on Monday, Ballmer said he sees wireless technology, allowing users to beam photos and songs to one another, compensating for Apple’s early-mover advantage, because the iPod does not offer that feature yet. ‘You could say, ‘yeah we’re starting out umpty-ump millions players behind’ or you could say ‘hey look, there is a whole new paradigm that is going to happen in this business and we’re jumping in at the beginning,” Ballmer said. ‘Who knows when Apple will jump in? It’s a good company. I’m sure it won’t take (Apple) forever,’ he added.”

“The Zune represents a major strategic shift in Microsoft’s challenge to Apple in the digital music player market,” Reuters reports. “The company failed to find a hit when it tried to replicate its Windows PC model by focusing on music software with the Windows Media player and digital rights management, while leaving the device development to hardware manufacturers. ‘In a sense, we have certainly embraced, with the Zune, the business model of the market leader,’ Ballmer said.”

Full article here.
For some reason, we’ve never noticed a groundswell of users demanding that they be able to share a DRM-laden song that self-destructs after 3 plays over a 30-foot Wi-Fi connection that you have to initiate by walking over the the would-be sharer and asking them to beam you a song. Good luck finding another Zune user, by the way. We used to have a Palm. It could “share” data wirelessly with others. We used it once to see if it worked. It did. We never bothered with it again. We wouldn’t have even done it once if the data we beamed was set to evaporate after three measly views. Just because Microsoft has to conjured up some feature that would allow them to differentiate their brown squirter from the iPod, doesn’t mean the feature is useful or desirable. Zune’s Wi-Fi “sharing” certainly isn’t “a whole new paradigm,” it’s more a tool for marketing distraction than anything else.

The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin visited CNN’s “Amercian Morning” show earlier today to visit with Miles O’Brien and Soledad O’Brien to discuss to Microsoft’s Zune:

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67 Comments

  1. The Zune will continue for the next 3 or 4 years and will gain some traction…probably in the 3rd iteration through sheer brute force marketing…That will probably erode Apple’s market share to 68%…then as MDN points out..Apple licenses FairPlay and it’s truly GameOver

  2. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” /> Zunes crippled wireless isn’t going to do anything for them to compete with the iPod. If that feature wasn’t so crippled and limited then they might of had a slight chance for some business. But unfortunately there’s a lot more wrong with the turd, I mean Zune then is worth buying it. Especially at the same price as a 30 gig iPod video.

  3. The social aspect of the Zune is a good idea. Their implementation is horrid and poorly thought out.

    Think of how much fun the Library Sharing feature in iTunes was when they first introduced it. If Apple could implement something like that (the ability to browse and stream songs) in future iPods that would be a good next step.

    Forget about the squirting feature. Streaming from one iPod to the next while in range should suffice. They could implement some sort of tracking system so that when you dock your iPod later you have the option of going to the store to buy the songs you streamed earlier.

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