Mossberg: Microsoft’s new Zunes can’t compete with Apple’s latest iPods+iTunes

“Last year, when Microsoft Corp. introduced its Zune music player to take on Apple’s iPod juggernaut, the software giant struck out,” Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boehret report for The Wall Street Journal.

“But Microsoft is nothing if not persistent, and this week, the company is back with a second, improved round of Zunes,” Mossberg and Boehret report.

“Unfortunately for Microsoft, Apple hasn’t been standing still, either. It now has its own large-screen, wireless model, the iPod Touch, with a radical ‘multi-touch’ interface like the iPhone’s. The screen on the Touch is larger than the one on the bigger Zunes and is much sharper. Its Wi-Fi allows you to browse the Web, watch YouTube videos and even buy music without a PC — none of which is possible on a Zune — though the Touch is $50 more and holds much less content than the new full-size Zune,” Mossberg and Boehret report.

“Microsoft’s new Zunes are directly aimed at the iPod Classic, Apple’s full-size, high-capacity model, and the iPod nano, its compact version. But, here again, Apple has been on the move. The 80-gigabyte Classic, which costs the same as the 80-gigabyte Zune, is slimmer than the Zune and has a flashy new interface, if a smaller screen. And the eight-gigabyte nano, which costs the same as the eight-gigabyte Zune, now plays videos and is much smaller — yet has a larger screen,” Mossberg and Boehret report.

“In addition, Apple has spiffed up its iTunes software, adding various features, including the addictive Cover Flow, which allows you to flip through all your albums with just a flick of the mouse. Cover Flow also shows up on the nano, the Classic and the Touch. Even the new Zune PC software has no interface as compelling,” Mossberg and Boehret report. “And Apple still trounces Microsoft in the selection of media it sells. The iTunes store offers more than six million songs, about double what the Zune Marketplace offers, and dwarfs Microsoft’s selection of Podcasts and music videos, as well. Plus, Zune Marketplace still doesn’t sell any TV shows, movies or audiobooks, while iTunes does.”

“Microsoft has greatly improved the Zune hardware and software this time. But it seems to be competing with Apple’s last efforts, not its newest ones,” Mossberg and Boehret report.

Full article here.

54 Comments

  1. The main problem seems to be that apart from not actually matching Apple’s products, they’re not even offering an overal solution that works. It’s still a hodge podge of ideas, it’s not coherent in the way iPod + iTunes have been since pretty much day 1. Apple have constantly improved on an already fully functioning set of systems. Microsoft (and others) haven’t pulled everything together in the same way.

  2. So when Apple comes out with a full PDA will that be strike three for MS – and then will MS please go away – Please! Just go away… If you love MS products that’s okay by me, but could you please go away and use your product choices somewhere where I don’t have to be affected by your product choices any more – Please!

    Why won’t MS just go away?

  3. Good article, unlike the crap that has been posted on Wired site. Really, I use to like reading Wired mag but what a joke it has turned into. See for yourself, they said:

    “In contrast, Apple, its fleeting dalliance with Motorola aside, is mostly sticking to its old, sandboxed ways. The company makes all the hardware and software that works with iTunes and its Mac operating system, and hasn’t bothered to create iTunes widgets for increasingly popular social networks. Microsoft, perhaps correctly, sees these openings as ways to increase Zune’s market share.”
    http://www.wired.com/gadgets/portablemusic/news/2007/11/zune_strategy

    OMG! Who would write this? Even worse, who would print it? Wired, that’s who.

  4. What was Steve Job’s quote from the end of the last SF Macworld?

    ‘See where the puck is going, not where it’s been or already is?’
    – Wayne Gretzky

    Some companies actually innovate, some follow………….
    and some follow year later with inferior products, Microsoft
    (why the heck did Bill Gates name is company after his penis???)

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