Microsoft: DRM-free music in Zune’s future

Apple StoreIna Fried reports for CNET News, “Microsoft plans to follow Apple…”

MacDailyNews Take: What else is new?

Fried continues, “…in selling unprotected songs from EMI, though the company won’t say just when such tracks will appear on the Zune Marketplace store.”

MacDailyNews Take: All sixteen Zune owners rejoice! You get to wait for Microsoft to poorly imitate something Apple’s already done. Again. Hope certainly springs eternal for the delusional.

Fried continues, “When CEO Steve Jobs issued his open letter calling for an end to DRM, Microsoft said the total abolition of such protections would be irresponsible, since they are needed for subscription music and other new business models. However, the software maker said Wednesday that it does plan to offer DRM-free music from EMI and others.”

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft being hypocritical? Say it ain’t so, Joe, er, Ina.

Fried continues, “‘We’ve been saying for a while that we are aware that consumers want to have unprotected content,’ said Zune marketing director Jason Reindorp. Reindorp said he did not have a time frame for when unprotected songs will be added to the store.”

MacDailyNews Take: He doesn’t have a time frame because he’s a B.S. artist who’s stalling for time with a device and a music service that nobody with more than two brain cells to rub together wants and who seems to have no plan for next week, much less next year. Paint it pink, Jason, maybe you can find sixteen girls to go along with the sixteen Zune-owning IT guys that you’ve already racked up.

Fried continues, “‘This does open things up a little bit,’ Reindorp said. ‘It potentially makes the competition more on a device-to-device or service-to-service basis. It will force the various services to really innovate.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Dude, you work for Microsoft. Chance of innovation: 0%.

Fried continues, “Microsoft, meanwhile, is set to kick off a second wave of advertising for the Zune, which has grabbed the No. 2 spot among hard drive-based music players but has seen its share slip slightly in recent weeks. The company had an 8.8 percent retail share of the hard drive-based market in February, according to NPD, down from 9.9 percent a month earlier.”

MacDailyNews Take: Again, pretty numbers that mean nothing. NPD does not report sales from Apple Retail Stores, the Apple Store online, Wal-Mart, or Amazon, among others. Add those massive iPod sales in and, in reality, Microsoft’s share of the hard drive-based digital music player market is much smaller than NPD’s number. In fact, of all digital music players, including flash-based, Zune had only 2.8% using NPD’s December numbers that, again, that do not include sales from Apple Retail Stores, the Apple Store online, Wal-Mart, Amazon, etc. NPD market share numbers are only useful in showing trends; Microsoft Zune is trending down.

Fried continues, “The software maker is also expanding its palette of hues for the Zune. A baby pink Zune shade is set to debut early next month, while a watermelon red version is slated for summer. ‘People are responding so well to the colors,’ Reindorp said. ‘We’re having a lot of fun playing and experimenting with them.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft’s playing with colors, while Apple’s dealing them the death blow.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bob R.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
BusinessWeek: Apple-backed AAC format beating Microsoft’s proprietary WMA in music standards war – April 05, 2007
Apple’s DRM-free iTunes play trumps Microsoft’s huge bet on DRM – April 02, 2007
Apple: Higher quality 256 kbps AAC DRM-free music on iTunes Store coming in May – April 02, 2007
Microsoft paints Zune pink in desperate bid to increase anemic sales – March 22, 2007
Buh-bye: Senior Zune exec exits Microsoft – January 31, 2007
Last quarter: Microsoft lost $289 million on Zune, CE devices – January 26, 2007
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
Zune: Welcome to the social isolation – December 11, 2006
Thurrott reviews Microsoft Zune: ‘a joke, a travesty, I can’t imagine what they were thinking’ – November 28, 2006
Ihnatko: Microsoft Zune experience about as pleasant as having an airbag deploy in your face – November 24, 2006 It’s not looking good for Microsoft’s Zune; bad press may taint brand for years – November 24, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune selling like snotcakes – November 15, 2006
Engadget: Microsoft’s Zune software: ‘It sucks’ – November 13, 2006
BusinessWeek: ‘By this time next year, Microsoft’s Zune will be considered a dismal failure’ – November 10, 2006
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


  1. Microsoft are (even more) screwed with this, wma is effectively dead (more so – if possible) retailers will have the choice of wma, mp3 or aac. wma (quality aside) won’t work on the iPod so why would a retailer use it? mp3 will pretty much work on everything and aac will work on iPods and an increasing number of other devices. Retailers will choose mp3 or aac, mp3 has a higher level of compatibility which will eventually be negligible and aac is smaller so saves on bandwidth and storage for everyone. Once microsoft lose control of those non-Apple retailers selling digital music, what will they have? The Zune… Exactly.

  2. The difference is that MS will make their offerings at about 23 different bitrates and 15 different prices. Of course MS points will be used so that will make it even LESS confusing.

  3. I’ve seen estimates that MS sold as few as 100,000 Zunes during the first calendar quarter of 2007. If that is indeed the case, that would be even more pathetic than any of us could have imagined.

  4. Gee, I sure hope that Zune Tang isn’t dead somewhere. We really have no way of knowing. If he had any friends, then we could just contact them and find out. Or if we were within 12′ of each other, I could buy a Zune (if some place near me carried them) and I could scan for his Zune. It’s sure to be attached to his hip by some kind of large reinforced belt unit. OH MY GOSH….WHAT IF IT’S INSIDE OF HIM!? Like what if somebody got so annoyed listening to him that they actually rammed it down his throat or up his [windows crashes.]

  5. Good point Big Al ..

    Will Ballmer let you “beam” unprotected songs to a fellow Zun-er ? .. (Well.. providing you can even find someone else with the device, of course)…I dont think so !
    Apple marches to the beat of a different drummer.. while MicroCrap … well.. they dont even have a drum !

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