The Motley Fool’s Rick Aristotle Munarriz today suggests “a mercy killing for the Zune.”
Munarriz asks, “Now that even GameStop is getting out of the Zune-selling business, isn’t it just a matter of time before the player itself becomes a museum piece?”
GameStop may not seem like an apt yardstick for the Zune’s fortunes, but consider this:
• GameStop sells a ton of Xbox 360 systems and games, so it’s a hotbed of Microsoft fans.
• The chain proudly sells used games and gear. If a company would rather stock dusty copies of Madden ’06 than a Zune, what does that tell you?
• The company noted during yesterday’s conference call that gross margins on the hardware side slid this past quarter, based on the move to discontinue Zunes. If Zunes are doing so poorly that GameStop would rather be moving hardware with lower margins, they must have really been collecting dust.
• With stand-alone CD shops disappearing, GameStop is a good retail gauge of the pulse of music-loving youth.
Munarriz writes, “Apple is looking to move five times as many of its pricey iPhones this year than all the Zunes Microsoft has sold to date… I get why Microsoft wants to bury the iPod. The player’s success created a halo effect, winning over Mac converts. They’re using Mac’s operating system over Windows, surfing on Safari instead of Explorer, and not necessarily relying on Microsoft Office, even though it’s popular and available for the Mac.”
“Unfortunately, there comes a point when persistence becomes embarrassment… When you’ve worn out your welcome with small-box GameStop shops and their audience of Xbox fanboys, it’s probably time for a change of Zunery,” Munarriz explains.
More fun in the full article here.
CNBC’s Jim Goldman, interviewed Steve Jobs back in January: “I told Jobs that I had sat down with Microsoft’s Robbie Bach last week at the Consumer Electronics Show. I mentioned that Bach was particularly optimistic about the new Zune, that it was now a worthy alternative to Apple’s iPod. Asked Jobs: ‘Was he inebriated? Do you even know anyone who owns a Zune?'”