Zune owners are a notoriously thin-skinned lot. It might have something to do with the Zune’s perpetual status as a third place also ran in the portable media player market. Or maybe it’s the fact that the Zune apparently borrows so much of it’s “innovation” from the world’s worst portable media player.
Whatever the reason for their prickly nature, Zune owners have a whole new reason to grumble. Early this morning every 30 GB Zune on the planet stopped working. You have to give Microsoft credit, this was an act of synchronized ritual suicide that has not been seen before in the consumer electronics business.
How does something like this happen with a mainstream product? Some have speculated that this could be a date problem related to the new year. In fact, many are already referring to this as the Z2K9 bug. But, if that’s the case then there’s a bug in Microsoft’s bug. You would expect a problem of this sort would manifest itself at midnight on New Years Eve, not the night before.
The NBC programming that went missing from iTunes last December has finally turned up in the Zune marketplace. Fans of The Office, Heroes, and 30 Rock can once again pay to download episodes of their favorite programs — provided they own a Zune and a Windows PC.
Given the Zune’s miniscule market share it’s curious to see any network choosing Microsoft’s media platform over iTunes for paid downloads. When NBC pulled its programming from iTunes, network officials sniffed at the relatively small sales the Apple service had generated. By comparison, sales in the Zune marketplace are bound to redefine the term “nano”.
Clearly this move isn’t about selling digital content online. NBC seems to be more interested in punishing Apple for exercising control over iTunes pricing than it is in actually expanding the market for legal downloads.
By now you’ve already heard the big news everyone is talking about. That’s right, Microsoft just lowered the price of the Zune. Pretty exciting, huh?
Apple’s response to this earth shattering news? A revamped lineup of iPods, including the all new iPod Touch. The Touch is essentially an iPhone without the phone (or the two year AT&T contract for that matter). It’s pretty much exactly the device I speculated about in July. The iPod Touch is also everything Microsoft’s Zune should have been when it was launched late last year.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Microsoft partisans were crowing about how the Zune would ultimately beat the iPod, because of it’s larger screen and built-in WiFi. The WiFi, in particular, was going to be a killer app. In retrospect, the Zune’s WiFi was a killer app alright — it was the manner in which Microsoft chose to implement the WiFi that ultimately killed the Zune.
When they write the story of how Microsoft let Apple win the digital media war they’ll devote a whole volume to the failure of the Zune. In theory, the Zune could have done nearly everything the iPod Touch does. Aside from the iPod Touch’s touch screen, the Zune had all of the other major features in place: larger screen, built-in WiFi, slick user interface.
Posted by Jim Connelly in Apple, DRM, Google, HD DVD/Blu-Ray, iTunes, Microsoft, Music, Social Media, Telecom, Television, Unexpected Results, Zune on May 08, 2007
A lot of hay was made yesterday about a wide-reaching survey released yesterday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. For example, one of the things that got serious play was that about half of the people out there still don’t live their lives around high-tech products.
Instead, I guess, they are living their lives around such mundane things as their jobs, their churches, their families and so forth. Then the survey broke down the actual users into sub-groups, and explained various things about the sub-groups. It was all very interesting and informative, and then I got to the very end . . .
Last April we reviewed the Prism DuroSport 6000 digital audio player. At the time we determined it was the worst digital media player ever produced. After spending some time with Microsoft’s Zune, I’m prepared to declare that the Prism DuroSport has retained it’s title — although that may not be the case for much longer since the company is apparently working on something it’s calling the Pütz. Pütz will apparently be a “fully integrated approach to music and entertainment.” Having seen this company’s other products that sort of talk scares us.