Wednesday, September 20, 2006

To Buy Or Not To Buy: Microsoft's ZUNE, Out Of Tune (With Customer Needs)

Microsoft just announced a revolutionary new product... yes, it took them FIVE YEARS of trying to copy Apple's iconic iPod music player to come out with... are you sitting down... a player named ZUNE. It will be available in very original colors --- Black, White and, are you sitting down again... BROWN? I guess they are trying to ensure all skin colors are represented. Though I wonder if that means a Yellow model is still to be announced? What about Red? But, I digress on the path of Survivor, the TV show.

Here's my take on Zune.

Apple knew the Zune announcement was coming... I mean, it's not like five years is not enough time even for Microsoft to copy something. So Apple announced minor tweaks to iPod, e.g. going to 80GB.

Zune's uninspiring announcement means Apple can delay further ipod announcements. Or, here's my feeling, they may make a new announcement in October, in time for Christmas shopping season. Perhaps a bigger screen, more likely a landscape layout so videos can be enjoyed bigger than the 2.5" screen they have at present.

By the way, I find it amusing that the Microsoft player has a THREE inch screen --- bigger than Apple's, but Microsoft will not be offering movies etc. on it. So, in five years, they can't even copy Apple's current level of service/product/offering.

Meantime, here's why I don't expect to be buying a Zune at all.

On the iPod, music listening is a PERSONAL experience. I see dozens of iPod users, including friends, daily, but don't stop to ask what they have on their ipod.

So, why would I buy Zune? To hope it sells millions of units and then have enough people in the market, so there are enough people I run into every day who use it? Then I have to hope I can run into someone and say "Hey can you wirelessly share some tunes with me?"

But how practical is that? How do I find out what of their, persumably, 10000 songs I don't have, need and want to exchange? Doh. So, in the long run, I see Zune being bottom of the heap, and bottom of the list... and not just because of a stupid name start with the letter Z.

What do you think? Would you leave your iPod for a Zune?


Anonymous said...

The only way Sony or Microsoft can beat Apple is to pirate Steve Jobs himself away from his own company. LOL.

IMRAN™ said...

I think Steve's personal future lies not with Apple now but as Disney Chairman. It also depends on whether the options-backdating scandals that are ongoing now somehow taint him from Apple/Pixar.

Brilliant man, and it would be a waste if he is not driving force behind Apple, where he can do a lot more than he can just managing Disney. But, he has done two compny-management well before.