Compete: Microsoft’s Zune HD’s tepid launch completely overshadowed by Apple’s new iPods

“In late September of this year, Microsoft launched the latest version of its Zune HD media player. Rather than simply upgrade and refine the original Zune concept, Microsoft seemingly followed the lead of the iPod Touch, building the device around a 3.3-inch touchscreen and adding Internet browsing capability and games/application downloads via the Zune Marketplace. Apple made a series of announcements in the week prior to the Zune’s launch, including improvements to iTunes, the iPod touch and iPod nano, providing an opportunity to compare consumer interest in the two media player brands,” Conrad Beickler reports for Compete.

“Had the Zune gained any traction against the iPod or had Apple’s announcements of the prior week tempered enthusiasm for the Zune HD launch? To further explore this I looked at Compete’s data to see how interest shown by online consumers during the Zune HD’s launch week compared to that of the iPod nano and iPod touch in the weeks surrounding their recent upgrades,” Beickler reports.

• The addition of a video camera to the iPod nano resulted in a 700% week over week lift in traffic to Nano-specific pages at during launch week.
• Traffic to, on the other hand, only saw a comparatively modest 90% week to week increase when the Zune HD launched.
• What’s far more damaging to the Zune HD’s prospects is that the iPod touch, which hasn’t changed drastically since its redesign in September 2008, drew virtually identical levels of interest from online consumers as the entire site during the first two weeks immediately following the Zune HD launch.

Full article, with a chart of weekly interest in portable media players (Aug. 23 – Sep.20, 2009) that bodes very poorly for Microsoft, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “GetMeOnTop” for the heads up.]


  1. There’s a die hard Zune guy at work. He talked his brother into getting a Zune HD. I haven’t heard anything from him about is since (no bragging, no good words about it). I think that is even worse for the Zune brand. No word of mouth.

  2. While I do think the Zune HD’s interface is very nice, it isn’t optimized for many applications (not that it will get them!). The simple white text with no capital letters on a black background would make finding 1 application out of 144 impossible.

    On top of everything, it’s made my Microsoft.

  3. I can just see the design review mtg for the zune HD in my head…

    Ballmer sits in and pipes up…

    Hey guys I hear this Internet thing uses a lot of tiny (ie lowercase) text and avoids those big letters you tend to see at the start of a sentence. I think all the text on the zune should be those tiny letters. That would be so hip!!!

  4. @ LeftCoastDude

    That Zune is beat by iPod is really bad in that Amazon treats each different SKU (model, capacity, color, etc.) as a completely different item.

    It sucks to be Microsoft.

  5. Zune what?

    isn’t that the failed music device Microsoft made in brown like 3 years ago?

    thats all I know about it

    maybe if they spent some of the money they DONT HAVE on advertising it would help the economy.. it definatly wont sell any more zunes, but they should still do their part to stimulate these hard times.

  6. Silly, gullible MAC sheep. You can do anything with statistics.

    The Zune HD phenomenon that is revolutionizing portable media players is only beginning. This holiday season’s hottest gadget? Zune HD. Why? Discerning tech enthusiasts don’t want to wade through MAC’s confusing lineup of I-Pod also-rans. They’ll go straight for Zune. Don’t be left out of the social, MAC fangirls. I invite the one or two reasonable MAC cultists to trade in their hard to configure, impossible to synchronize only-useful-as-a-paperweight I-Pod and stupid white earbuds for a Zunetacular experience. In HD.

    Your potential. Our passion.™

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