Enderle on Apple iPod vs. Microsoft Zune

Apple’s iPod “while very good, are becoming very common and part of what drove the iPod into the top spot in a rapidly growing market was its exclusivity. If everyone you know has one, how exclusive is it really? Also, Apple had three known competitive disadvantages: The products wouldn’t play radio, the platform didn’t allow for sharing music nor did it support flat rate pricing, and it lacked support from both the Music industry and retailers both of which wanted someone else to work with. Microsoft had a good shot with Zune but it seems someone missed a critical meeting,” Rob Enderle writes for TG Daily.

“For two days, Zune was in the top-10 products sold through Amazon and made it as high as number 2. On day three, it dropped like a rock. The first two days showed the potential the right product could have. The third showed this was a swing and a miss,” Enderle writes. “The potential for the right product was in excess of 10 million units – and possibly substantially more. This was a similar effort to the Xbox, but unlike the team that put the Xbox together, the team running Zune didn’t understand the hardware.”

“Microsoft gets software and they are learning about services but Apple is the leading expert is hardware and the MP3 player market is clearly a hardware market now. Much like Apple didn’t understand the power of software in the 80s Microsoft doesn’t seem to grasp the importance of hardware design in the 2000s and that is very telling in this most recent battle,” Enderle writes.

Full article here.
First, Apple’s iPod “plays radio” via the $49 Apple iPod Radio Remote which allows users to listen to FM radio on their iPods and control everything with a convenient wired remote. Second, Apple iTunes’ “iMix” feature allows for sharing music, and with total iMixes now approaching 1 million in the US iTunes Store alone, it seems to be a very popular social feature; certainly more popular than “squirting” tracks that allow users 3-plays-then-self-destruct-leaving-only-an-ad-behind like Zune. Third, music subscriptions haven’t proven to be popular with consumers. People like to own their music. Fourth, all major music labels support iTunes and major retailers overwhelmingly support and recommend iPod over all the also-rans. Enderle’s conceit that “iPod lacked support from both the Music industry and retailers both of which wanted someone else to work with” is pure, unsubstantiated poppycock that’s completely refuted by the facts.

The Zune software has been panned by reviewers – perhaps even more than the Zune device itself (if that’s possible) – so, Enderle’s contention that Microsoft has only failed with respect to the Zune hardware also doesn’t pass the reality test.

There’s a lot more wrong with Enderle’s article, of course. As is usually the case, Enderle just makes up some wild ideas and writes and writes in a vain attempt to justify his goofy baseless concepts. At least he seems to have figured out that Microsoft’s Zune screams failure, even if he doesn’t fully grasp why.

Zune is a failure simply because the market does not want and has no compelling need for grotesque versions of iPod+iTunes from Microsoft.

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  1. What’s the big deal with music sharing on a DAP anyway? Apple’s allowed library sharing for years in iTunes. Bonjour allows me to share my music library with my wife’s laptop (or anyone with this feature enabled in iTunes with a WiFi connection) with little to no effort.

  2. Before the zune launched whenever people had mentioned the idea of a wireless iPod (or other player) they all talked about streaming stuff from your iTunes library or a central store of sort, so you could have new music without having to plug in or could share others libraries. I don’t think I had ever read anything about people wanting to squirt tracks to each other using a severely crippled mechanism.
    Since no-one else previously offered this function either, how was Apple not doing it as well a competitive disadvantage? You’re only at a disadvantage feature wise if someone else has something you don’t that people want. If no-one offers it you’re not disadvantaged, although admittedly you don’t have an advantage either.

  3. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”shut eye” style=”border:0;” /> More FUD from Enderle. Just goes to show you if you are a reporter you can say anything even if it is all poppycock, horse poopy, FUD, fantasy, factless crap. I think you get what I mean.

    Zune is nothing more than another failed attempt to gain on the iPod and it has failed miserably with it’s worthless wireless and standard FM radio features which no one gives a hoot about.
    Renting music has proven over and over again to be a worthless endeavor and a failure. People want to own there music and be able to play it anytime they feel like it without having to ask permission from some website.

    iPod and iTunes is still the best in the world.

  4. I’m so so so tired of the “it doesn’t have a radio” line for one of the iPod’s disadvantages. If you want a radio, by a $20 radio…
    I have an iPod so I don’t have to listen to the radio. I have a full 4th Gen 40Gig iPod and I don’t miss the radio… at all!

  5. Boy, is this guy delusional. Stuck in the mid nineties, too. To think that Microsoft was or is a company that produced the best software with the “Microsoft gets software” line is utterly assanine. Do people really go to this guy for tech advice?

  6. Just yesterday I finally got to see some Zunes in our local Wal-Mart. I’m not being biased just because I’m an Apple user, but I can’t see how anyone would go for a Zune rather than an iPod at this point. The Zune is so bulky it looks like a several year old iRiver or Archos HD player. Also, the iPod’s glossy finish is infinitely more attractive than that “grippable” matte. Yuk.

  7. “nor did it support flat rate pricing, and it lacked support from both the Music industry and retailers both of which wanted someone else to work with.”

    I guess I don’t know the meaning of flat rate pricing. Does that mean subscriptions?

    lack of support, music industry: ie, they won’t give in the the music industry’s platform killing demands

    lack of support, retailers: like, they won’t give them money to put the stuff front and center?

    “exclusivity”: while there is a certain “if everyone has one, it can’t be cool” factor, I do not think iPod being “cool” had anything to do with being “exclusive”. I also do not think the coolness was anything more than a small part of it. Once people used one, the actual ease of use and overall experience was the driving force.

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