Microsoft CEO Ballmer continues to overstate Zune market share

“Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer Thursday said the company aims to grow its Zune digital music service and devices, hoping to take market share from Apple Inc’s iPod,” Hans Schoemaker reports for Dow Jones.

“‘We’re going to push our music service and move forward with the devices,’ Ballmer said at an event in Zurich,” Schoemaker reports. “‘We’re going up against a company that does very good work – I gotta give Apple its due,’ he said. ‘But we went into that market and got a market share of some 10%,'”

“Microsoft said it sold over 1.2 million Zunes since last year, compared with sales of 41.4 million iPods from Oct. 2006 to June 2007, according to Apple figures,” Schoemaker reports.

Full article here.

Ballmer must be using Excel to calculate Zune’s market share. Or he’s lying, stupid, or both. 1.2M is 2.9% of 41.4M. 2.9%. And that’s assigning Apple’s share 100% of the market. Give Apple the 70% of the market it actually owns and the entire market (comprised of SanDisk, Sony, Creative, Samsung, and all of the other iPod also rans, er… killers) totals around 59M. 1.2M is 2.03%. That’s Microsoft’s market share.

Ballmer, of course, is repeating his “lie of omission.” He’s talking about hard drive-based portable media player market share – without mentioning that distinction, of course. The only problem with that – besides not implicitly stating that you’re talking about a subset of the market – is that it’s a fictitious, made-up, fantasy number since Apple, the dominant market force, does not break out hard drive sales from flash-based iPods for competitive reasons. In other words, nobody besides Apple CEO Steve Jobs really knows the number of hard drive-based players sold, so Microsoft is just using “10%” as a guesstimate; probably one that conveniently misses on the extreme high-side, of course. Unless you think that only 12M hard-drive based portable media players were sold in total since October 2, 2007, when the Zune began its quest to gather dust on Costco shelves. (Zune has 10% of the narrowly-defined “U.S. 30GB hard drive-based player market,” perhaps?)

Does having 2% market share of the iPod market give Microsoft license to lie about and inflate their market share? Does having 2% market share somehow turn what are supposed to be journalists into complacent repeaters of a lie that’s easily disproved using basic math?


  1. No, a lie is a lie. And there goal is 10%, not there market share.
    They have a long way to go before they reach that, if they can even. The latest of the Zune isn’t much better than the previous one and therefore I don’t think much will change.

  2. Tom,

    Meaningless and likely intended to obfuscate. iPod could sell 98 players to every two Zunes and Zune could still be described “the 2nd most popular 30-gig hard-drive based device.”

    Please excuse me for the vast disparity between my IQ and the others’ on display above. God obviously has no problem with gift inequity.

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