The Motley Fool’s Munarriz: ‘Kill the Zune, Microsoft’

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?'”


  1. No face for Ballmer to save. As they would say it back home, his face is as hard as a sole of his shoe.

    Any guesses when Zune plug would be pulled? Does anyone here believe they would actually pull the plug at all anytime soon? They just might be stubbornly willing to bleed money on this, trying to prove some point somewhere. That, in fact, might be the best; let them keep shifting their focus from (money losing) X-Box, to (money-losing) Zune, to (money-losing) Yahoo acquisition plans… That way, their next effort at OS will be even greater success than Vista!

  2. Oh the humanity!

    MS has ben criticized for the upcoming shut down the PlayedForSure servers. How long would they leave the servers up for those zuckers who got zuned?

  3. From the article:

    Even Research In Motion’s new BlackBerry Bold smartphone syncs up to Apple’s iTunes, further entrenching Apple as the digital-delivery standard.

    True? False? Anyone else know of this?

  4. I disagree!

    MSFT should persist with Zune and not give in to the realities of the market.

    This is based on the same philosophy that says that the omelette-dodging Ballmer should stay on as CEO for as long as possible.

  5. This is a bad forum to post this query since there’s a tendency to mindlessly bash Microsoft no matter what. But honestly, what was Microsoft thinking of?

    When the Zune came out it was almost like they went out of their way to throw up barriers to it’s success like using a point system and reducing the number of songs that could play on it by making it incompatible with PlaysForSure (Irony, thy name be PlaysForSure).

    But more importantly, how could they think that the Zune would be successful when all they were doing was copying the last generation iPod and setting up their own incompatible version of iTunes? Microsoft has a lot of smart people. But the first thing you do in creating a product is to create points of differentiation from your competitors product. They just copied the iPod – an older iPod at that – and thought that people would flock to them because they were Microsoft? Are they that myopic?

  6. Once again, a decade from now, college marketing classes will have the one day “How not to make a ZUNE mistake”, they will explain to all the fresh faces how MS made the biggest marketing/product mistake in many many years.


    Just desserts for all the MS early years when they put so many small companies out of business by stealing their software ideas.

  7. The Motley Fool article says “Even Research In Motion’s new BlackBerry Bold smartphone syncs up to Apple’s iTunes, further entrenching Apple as the digital-delivery standard.”

    Is this true? Could not find any firm evidence of this, and it seems like it would have been HUGE news . . .

  8. @ Falkirk
    You asked about M$, “are they that myopic?”

    YES. Why else would they think that Vista would generate a good version of “Wow”?

    I think we are witnessing thousands of M$ employees in denial. (and a lot of journalists and IT guys, too.)

    Can you breathe with your head in the sand like that?

  9. What would be more relevant is how many actually were sold to end-users. MS shipped 2 million to the distributors, but from all the articles I’ve read, there aren’t many people who actually admit to purchasing one.

  10. “,,,there’s a tendency to mindlessly bash Microsoft…”

    Not true. We indeed think about it when we bash them. I think you are thinking more about the frequency which in itself speaks volumes about MS.

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