Apple’s iTunes Store simply blows away Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace; What is the point of Zune?

“This week Apple brought out a bevy of shiny new iPods, and what delightful goodies they are. Amidst the itchy-kitchy-cooing over the new Nanos and Touches, Microsoft sort-of announced a sort-of enhancement to their Zune players,” Scott Foglesong reports for The San Francisco Examiner.

“Zune, by the way, is Microsoft’s attempt to compete with the triple-socko iTunes/iPod/iTunes Music Store combo that dominates digital music these days. It incorporates a player (copying the iPod), management software (copying iTunes), and an online music store (copying the iTunes Music Store). Nowhere has Microsoft’s earnestness in the ‘me-too’ department been quite as glaring as in the case of the Zune,” Foglesong reports.

“Since both the iPod and Zune ecosystems include an online music store, I thought I’d compare the two in terms of classical music downloads,” Foglesong reports.

“The iTunes Music Store may not be perfect, but it simply blows Zune out of the water, and for classical music, there is no comparison. Searches are easy and reliable, the selection is excellent, the software graceful and inviting,” Foglesong reports. “One rather wonders why Microsoft even bothers…”

Full article, with Foglesong’s comparison test and results, here.

Picking up where Foglesong left off, Todd Bishop reports for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “Microsoft Corp. says it will forge ahead with its Zune music device despite capturing only a sliver of the market since launching its challenge to Apple Inc.’s dominant iPod two years ago. Apple has 70 percent of the U.S. portable digital player market, compared with Microsoft’s 3 percent, according to data from the NPD group research firm.”

MacDailyNews Note: Using the most recent numbers from NPD, July 2008, Apple iPod has 73.4%, “Other” has 15.4%, SanDisk has 8.6%, and Microsoft Zune has 2.6%.

Bishop continues, “Before launching the Zune initiative, Microsoft focused primarily on providing the underlying software technology for music devices from a variety of hardware makers. The company abandoned that strategy and came out with the player of its own after it became clear that Apple was going unchecked.”

MacDailyNews Take: And, after two years on the market, Microsoft’s Zune has done absolutely nothing to prevent Apple from “going unchecked.” So, the question remains, what’s the point? To reinforce Microsoft’s impotency in the minds of consumers worldwide? Must be, because that’s what Zune does best. Zune, coupled with the Vista debacle and the “Get a Mac” ads, add up to a triple whammy that is rapidly eroding the Microsoft brand. Don’t worry, says Microsoft, Mac user Jerry Seinfeld will save the day with rigid churros. Microsoft shareholders must not be paying any attention at all or they’d be have sharpened their pitchforks and gone on the march long before today.

Bishop continues, “Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division, said Microsoft isn’t planning to get out of the music device business anytime soon. ‘No, I think we’re pretty far down the path of saying, we’re in this marketplace, and we’re going to be in this marketplace.'”

Full article here.

Microsoft’s Gates+Seinfeld ads are more comprehensible than Zune’s existence.


  1. @MikeR,
    I’ve seen two in the wild – both recently. One was a girl I work with who bought it because the salesman told her that you cannot watch movies on an iPod! I wonder how much of a kickback he got.

  2. Provide the operating system to the hardware makers and thrive.

    Yeah, right. That strategy may have worked twenty-five years ago when hardware and “compassionate conservatism” was still a novelty, but now a days consumers have been empowered by their wallets and their votes.

    In fact, I believe that Apple’s consumers climbed triumphantly from the primordial ooze and are now paving the way for J & J Six-pack, who are the one’s now thriving in the iPod ecosystem.

  3. We still have a functioning first-gen iPod (5gb) (FireWire!). After looking at a Zune in the store recently, it’s amazing how little physical improvement the Zune is even over that 2001 iPod. Comparing the size/shape/heft to a current-gen iPod, there’s just simply no comparison.

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