Microsoft exec: we’ll sell one million Zunes by end of June

Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division, which includes the Xbox game console, the Zune music player, software that runs on mobile devices and new television projects was interviewed by Dan Fost and Ryan Kim for The San Francisco Chronicle.

“While the division has yet to turn a profit, Bach said in an interview that profitability is just around the corner, and Microsoft is relishing its competition with companies like Apple, Sony, Nintendo and Research In Motion,” Fost and Kim report.

Some excepts from Bach:

We’re still about nine months into having Zune in the marketplace. We’re very pleased with the progress. We’ve sold a little over a million Zunes. In the category we’re in, the hard-disk-based category, we’ve got about 10 percent market share. It’s a good start. It’s not an overwhelming start. I’m not going to pretend it’s some gigantic move.

As we look to the future, you’re certainly going to see us continue to invest in that category. We don’t enter things like that lightly.

There will be new things down the path (in the fall). We just came out with a special edition pink Zune and a watermelon-colored Zune, which are the personal favorites with my kids.

People are sharing. When your installed base is a million, the benefits of sharing, frankly, aren’t as wide as we hope to see in the future. One of the challenges for us is continuing to build on the install base.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “THe_Wzrd” and “JB” for the heads up.]
First of all, to have taken nine 6.5 months (Zune debuted on Nov. 14, 2006) in today’s portable media player market (fully-prepped by Apple) to sell a paltry one million units is laughable. It’s even worse when you consider the very real possibility that Microsoft is counting every single one of the Zunes they’ve stuffed into the channel (shipped to retailers is quite different than sold to customers).

The Zune is sold only in the United States. The U.S. has a population of roughly 300 million. Go ahead, stand on a street corner anywhere in America — except the one directly outside of Microsoft’s front gate (and even there the situation might be similar) — and see if 1 out of every 300 passersby has a Microsoft Zune. You won’t find 1 out of 1000, no matter how long you stand out there. Welcome to the antisocial.

So, how many of those one million Zunes have actually been sold to end customers and how many are sitting inside retailers’ dusty displays or piled in stock rooms? That’s the real story here – a story that executives who head Microsoft divisions that have never turned a dime in profit won’t be touting in interviews.

For reference, last Christmas quarter, Apple sold an average of one million iPods every 4.27 days.

MacDailyNews Note: Philip Elmer-DeWitt points out on the Business 2.0 Apple blog that “Bach didn’t actually say that Microsoft had already sold a million Zunes. If you listen to the interview, which the Chronicle helpfully provides in a podcast, what Bach said was, ‘When we finish our fiscal year in June we’ll have sold a little over a million Zunes, so we feel very good about that.’ …Microsoft still has more than a month to sell its first million Zunes, which would put it on the schedule it set for itself, not ahead.” Full article here.

54 Comments

  1. It’s still a million more than I anticipated. But then again, as a Mac user I’m part of the ‘Above average’ half of the population. There’s plenty of room down below.

  2. Billy gates can easily afford a million of them…thats probably where the sales went

    I was really hoping to buy a zune, but after reading the reports .. I stopped waiting and bought a nano.

    And plus there wasn’t any mac support, I only have an ibook…

  3. I’m by no means a fan of Microsnot or the Zune but if you’re going to compare sales, do it with comparable units. Don’t compare all Zune sales to the “one million iPods every 4.27 days.” How many of these 1 million iPods were te much cheaper costng shuffles? A better comparison would be 30 GB Zunes to 30 GB iPods.

  4. They have shipped 1 million units. They haven’t sold them yet.

    There are probably thousands and thousands sitting on the shelves of Liquidation World, at discount prices, waiting for some Microsoft Fanboy stupid enough to come along and buy one.

    Microsoft is pulling the same shipping numbers game they pull with XBox and Vista.

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