If Microsoft can’t sell Zunes, maybe they can give them away

Apple Store“Microsoft Corp. is considering new distribution models for its Zune media device, including offering it at next-to-no cost alongside subscription plans,” John Letzing reports for MarketWatch.

MacDailyNews Take: Please see our headline. Oh, by the way, “free with subscription” does not equal “free.” You usually end up paying more over time and the day you decide to stop paying for the subscription, you own nothing.

Letzing continues, “Microsoft’s Zune marketing director, Jason Reindorp, first publicly aired the idea of offering the Zune like a subsidized cellphone in an interview with PC World magazine. A Microsoft spokesman confirmed that ‘Microsoft is exploring lots of ideas, and this is just one of them.’ The Zune was first released to consumers late last year. As a potential competitor to Apple Inc.’s popular iPod, the Zune is a high profile endeavor for Microsoft.”

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft’s Zune is a joke. It’s amazing Microsoft continues to get coverage for this failure and that certain media outlets continue treat it as “news” that Microsoft is “considering” this and/or that for Zune. Perhaps they’re covering it for their own amusement. If so, we’re all for it; we like a running joke as much as anyone and this one certainly has potential, since nobody outside of governments can finance a fiasco for longer than Microsoft. SanDisk, the distant number two to Apple’s iPod juggernaut, must get sick every time they see another Zune article.

Letzing continues, “The spokesman said that Microsoft first considered the cellphone-like distribution plan after seeing interest in its Zune Pass subscription service, which offers monthly paid access to songs on the Zune Marketplace, a competitor to Apple’s iTunes store. Though he declined to say how many subscribers currently use Zune Pass, the spokesman said subscriptions rose 65% during January.”

MacDailyNews Take: As we often point out, statistics can be used to infer reality or fantasy. Add 7 Zune subscribers in January to 11 in December and, presto, 65%! (Rounded up to the nearest 5%, of course.)

Letzing continues, “The spokesman said a subsidized Zune is only one of a series of ‘wild ideas’ being considered by the company’s entertainment and devices division to help the Zune better compete directly with Apple’s iPhone, a combination cellphone and iPod that is expected to be released in June.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Joe Architect” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: To describe Apple’s iPhone as merely “a combination cellphone and iPod” is only slightly less ridiculous than pretending that some future Zune can compete directly with it. Microsoft can’t even get Windows Vista to run well on a modern laptop, so how are they going to pack their bloated, derivative morass of spaghetti code into a Zune to “directly compete” with Apple’s iPhone (which is actually a handheld Mac OS X-based computer with a multi-touch UI)?

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Buh-bye: Senior Zune exec exits Microsoft – January 31, 2007
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NPD: Apple iPod held 72% share of PMP market in December; Microsoft Zune had 2.8% share – January 21, 2007
RealMoney’s Comeau predicts: ‘Microsoft will kill the first Zune media player by midyear’ – December 16, 2006
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Ihnatko: Microsoft Zune experience about as pleasant as having an airbag deploy in your face – November 24, 2006
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Forbes: Microsoft’s Zune stinks; like ‘Microsoft Bob,’ only more embarrassing – November 09, 2006
Thurrott on Microsoft’s Zune: ‘The makings of a disaster, what the heck are these people thinking?’ – September 29, 2006

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  1. Thank Goodness I can’t read…

    I think the Zune battle will get interesting, but with the M$ “partners.” Now that free-AAC is available to everyone, at least for EMI, M$ holds even less cards with them.

    Dirty AND nerdy! Gotta’ love it.

  2. I got a Zune for my birthday and it’s honestly an okay player. It’s not an iPod — what I really wanted — but it was free. I just wish that it would connect with my Mac. I have to use a buddy’s PC (which sucks). I also wish I could find someone to squirt a song to. Thank goodness there are DRM-less songs on the way…!

  3. Brian:
    Why don’t you install Parallels or Bootcamp so you can sync it yourself?

    Glad it’s an ok player, and it’s too bad you didn’t get an iPod, but something is better than nothing.

    Hope you find a Zune you can squirt to soon….

  4. 1. Zune subscriptions grew in January 65% because all 16 Zunes sold in December for Christmas and given away at Microsoft office parties, those people subscribed in January. This is exactly like iTunes gift card use. It means nothing to how Zunes are selling, which is trending even blow poor.

    2. Going the cell phone game is a huge mistake – thus I hope Redmond holeheartedly embraces it. What it does to the product is completely devalues the device. The device is what is largely cool about MP3 devices. It devalues the product, people will get the tricky hook

    3. EMI and Apple’s partnership just pushed Redmond’s plans into fast forward. Redmond hates non-DRM anything, and Bill is not in favor of it, and Jason’s latest lip service is meere pandering to the media to get the word out that Zune is great and will be everything iTunes and iPod are. Can you say scrambling.

    Overall, Zune marketing believes if they hit “good enough” on many of iTunes features and iPods abilities, plus throw in a few other wrinkles, market like crazy and Zune will win.

    What is this 1950?!

    Redmond does not get the Purple Cow, nor do they understand the post-TV generation we are in. They are clueless on just so many levels.

    It’s really fun to watch isn’t it.

  5. Subsciption online music service is the very lowest of the market for Microsoft to go here with free Zune’s after what they did for Plays4Sure and the industry goes to show they completely and uttlerly fumbled the ball, tripped over their own shoelaces and smacked their head on the goal post.

  6. I think its funny how all these zune lovers think zune is going to somehow outsell the ipod. I know when the zune first came out it had an end cap dedicated to it at all the target stores and a part of a case dedicated to it at walmart while ipod still was the end cap holder.
    Now our closest target has moved the zune display to the isle and the only thing that says zune on it is a little cardboard thing about a foot long and maybe a couple inches high and there are 2 zunes sitting on a black raised plastic platform one showing some video demo thing the other one nothing just a fake display of the main menu. Above the zunes is a big sign saying ipod and tons of ipod stuff and then 2 racks have some zune cases on them.
    At some of the other targets here in town they dont even have zunes on display anymore just in the glass case and there are 2 rows of zunes and 1 rack of zune cases and thats it. Nothing advertising them infact i had to look twice before i saw them. If you were not trying to find them and didnt know they were there youd never see them.

    Wal mart has even stopped selling allot of the zune extras compared to what they did have up for sale. Its so funny that ms kept saying the ipod killer when they released this but now look at it zune has shrunk to non existence and the ipods are all over the place. Some of the Targets here only sell ipods, and a couple creative zen players and then they have the zunes but even the creative players are at eye level and have more visability then the zunes.
    SOME IPOD KILLER the zune turned out to be !! Apple is laughing al the way to the bank

  7. Give away something for free and take over the market…Give away something for free and take over the market…Give away something for free and take over the market…

    Now where have we heard that before…Oh yeah, now I remember!

    That’s how MS beat Netscape.

    Can’t MS think of anything new?

    Rhetorical question.

    We all know the answer.

  8. > “The spokesman said a subsidized Zune is only one of a series of ‘wild ideas’ being considered by the company’s entertainment and devices division to help the Zune better compete directly with Apple’s iPhone>

    Send zunes to the terrorists, they won’t stop a bullet, but hey could use it in their left hand to wipe. I believe they still do that in the Middle East. It is brown, so it would match perfectly.

    MW-just, as in, just a ‘wild idea’.

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