Microsoft’s Zune selling like snotcakes

“Microsoft’s attack on the Apple iPod began with a whimper Tuesday as Zune players made a lackluster debut in US stores,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports.

AFP reports, “Two boxed Zune players sat ignored on the top shelf of a Plexiglas showcase packed with iPod accessories in a Virgin Megastore near Union Square in San Francisco’s popular shopping district. ‘I didn’t even know they were there until a customer pointed them out,’ said sales clerk Jake Brooks. ‘I’m sure we have more in a closet in the back somewhere.'”

“By mid-afternoon the store had sold one Zune player and one other person had inquired about them,” AFP reports. “The scene was bleaker at a CompUSA store a block away, where the manager said that an oversight by Microsoft sales people had resulted in the store not getting Zunes for display. No apparent harm was done though, said the manager, because no shoppers came asking about Zunes.”

“Apple has sold nearly 70 million iPods since introducing them in 2001 and the devices command about 75 percent of the global MP3 player market,” AFP reports. “Apple’s online iTunes store sells digital music, podcasts, video, and films [with music library of over 3.5 million songs]. Microsoft’s online Zune Marketplace sells only music for the devices [with a library of about 2 million songs].”

Full article here.

Reuters reports, “Donna Murphy is no fan of the ubiquitous iPod music player so on Tuesday she became one of the first to buy Microsoft’s new rival Zune device. ‘I just needed a new MP3 player to play my music and watch videos,’ said Murphy, who bought a Zune at Best Buy’s midtown Manhattan store. ‘I’m not an Apple fan, not an iPod fan. So I wanted to try something different.'”

“But initial shopper interest suggested the Zune media player—heavily promoted in gadget reviews and television talk shows—was in for a slow building process,” Reuters reports. “An employee at the Best Buy store said two shoppers entered the place as it opened and purchased Zune players, and that about 20 were sold within the first three hours.”

“At the Virgin Megastore in New York’s Times Square two circular displays sporting Zune players with earphones attached were unmanned that morning, save for store employees restocking supplies,” Reuters reports.

Full article here.

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Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Apple has no need to worry about Microsoft’s cumbersome, chunkier Zune – November 11, 2006
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  1. The cancer analogy is apt. From another version of the same Reuters article:

    “Microsoft itself has acknowledged that the Zune investment may take years to bear fruit, and analysts upheld the expectation. . . . Microsoft is going to put tons of money in this over time, much like they did with the Xbox” video game console, she said. “It’s not about the first generation (of devices).”

    It’s just going to take a bit of long-term patience, as Apple diligently continues to apply the latest iPod chemotherapy. So long as Apple continues to develop new and effective drugs, I believe they can beat this horrible disease.

  2. If music players were food, iPods would be cakes. Apple would be selling the cakes slightly warmed up. The cakes would fly off the shelves with people snapping them up like they were going out of fashion.

    The zune is a cold broth with lots of cooks trying to make it taste nice. They’d ruin it though. They’d think they were making it better but the surfeit of cooks would have a negative impact.

  3. “I’m not an Apple fan, I love mediocrity and half-assed attempts,” said Donna Murphy. “And besides, I can’t wait to see the error screen that looks to have some girl-on-girl action and an Asian girl having an orgasm.”

  4. Maybe no one knows about Zune yet that much. Maybe there asking the sales Person what is a Zune i never heard of it and the sales person says sir/mem its almost like the twin brother of Ipod but only one is made by Apple and other is Made by Microsoft. Bye

  5. One of the obvious problems with Zune is that it is only able to partially compete with one iPod in Apple’s product line. Microsoft has no answer to the iPod Nano or iPod Shuffle; both of which account for most of the iPod sales. The Nano is the best selling iPod and the new Shuffle is going to be an outstanding seller in it’s own right.

    I doubt for example that many women buy the regular iPod. How is Microsoft going to attract that part of the market? They’re not. Active people on the go? Not them either. So who exactly is their market? College students? Teenagers? Perhaps, but what percentage of the iPod buying market is that? And how many of them will switch?

    Apple has a five year lead and a diverse product line that reaches all apsects of the digital music player buying market. How can Microsft compete with that? Any by the time Microsoft comes out with an answer to the Nano and Shuffle Apple will have innovated again and released an even better device.

    So the only thing Zune can compete with is all the other players. Zune is the best thing to happen to Apple’s iPod. Zune will kill off all the other competition and Apple will be left with one inept competitor that they can innovate circles around.

  6. I was tired of all the BMWs and Mercedes in my town. Everybody drives them. I wanted to drive something different; I just didn’t want to follow the leader, you know? So I just bought a used brown Yugo.

  7. MacMental,

    Thanks for the point. I was going to make it yesterday and forgot. Somehow this has been totally ignored by the fans of sites like this as well as the media.

    Question for all of you: While Apple won’t tell us, what percentage of iPod sales do you think the 30GB Video takes up? I’ll bet it’s less than 10%.

    So Microsoft isn’t competing against the iPod, because iPod means shuffle and three nanos and 30GB and 80GB video.

    At best Microsoft is competing against 10% of the iPod line, and if they were able to take ALL of it (insert wild laugh here), it’s only 7.5% of the total market.

    And they have NO market outside the US.

    Serve me up some of those snotcakes!

  8. Hey I tried to find this Zune Marketplace software, thinking it’s akin to iTunes, but I can’t find it anywhere on M$’s website. What did they do limit software availablity to CD’s included when you buy a Zune??? I don’t get it? It’d be nice to see the competition, I’d like to see how it works. Or doesn’t.

  9. You know what I’m tired of hearing? This pathetic corporate apology that MS is handing out every time they talk about how many of these they expect to sell.

    “Oh, we know it’s going to take years, but hey, eventually, if we throw enough money at this, we might bungle out way into a cool feature or two.”

    Think about the way Apple introduces things. Do you think they’re gonna put out a half-assed dumpy looking phone and tell everyone to just wait a few more generations until they get it right? NO!!! They’re going to introduce a product that is *READY*, and it’s going to be one that blows everyone away.

    MS has exponentially more money, resources, partners, distribution and supply deals… and THIS is the best they can do out of the gate, complete with promises of great things to come.

    psssshh… Whatever.


    MW: ‘cut’ (your losses and get out now. MSFT @ 20 next year)

  10. People who just have to have something different will love the Zune because they can buy one knowing that no one else will have one! What a thrill! But some people did buy Zunes this morning, proving that morons like music, too!

  11. MDN is not doing its job. It is far too early (after one day) to make any judgement calls on Zune sales. And it’s patent nonsense to extrapolate nationwide results by looking at one city.

    Here’s a counterexample to prove the point:


    “Microsoft’s Zune media player, which the tech titan hopes will dethrone Apple’s market-leading iPod, was flying off shelves in New York on its first day in stores yesterday.

    “‘It’s been crazy,’ said Eddie Feliciano, a sales manager at Best Buy at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue. “Our Zune area has been mobbed.”

    (Rest deleted for brevity. See link above for full article.)

    So which is it? Zunes being ignored, or flying off the shelves? The answer is both, neither, or possibly a bit of both. It’s far too early to tell.

    MDN, if you want to be taken seriously as real journalists, then start acting like it.

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