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Microsoft Media Music Hardware

Zune Sales Continue to Weaken 566

Posted by Hemos
from the slip-sliding-away dept.
Dak RIT writes "Market share data for the first month of Microsoft's Zune sales is now available, and appears to confirm that after the initial hype, sales have fallen off dramatically. Microsoft came in fourth for sales during the month of November with only 1.9% of the market. Apple remained unchanged at 62.2%, and SanDisk even managed to increase to 18.4% (looks like the Zune might not even be able to compete with the rest of the market, let alone the iPod). The one surprise though is that the brown Zune is apparently not only being bought, but more popular than the white model."
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Zune Sales Continue to Weaken

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  • DRM is not in (Score:4, Insightful)

    by visionsofmcskill (556169) <vision@NOSpam.getmp.com> on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:19PM (#17287112) Homepage Journal
    i hope this is a sign that consumers are not willing to play with the type of DRM that is unclear and difficult to deal with. DRM is never going to leave entirely, but most of the implementations nowadays are much more difficult to use and move about than physical media.

    The zune is a particularly clear exmaple of this.

    However i suspect the ipod has simply hit that monopoly status like Windows in which even if the competitors were good (or better) their chances of making inroads against the market leader are severly limited.

    i personaly think the ipod is best of breed, but even still one has to wonder.

  • Why bother. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by abscissa (136568) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:19PM (#17287120)
    Why is it that companies feel they need to conquer every aspect of every market? MS should have left portable music alone.

    (Cue the naive laissez-faire capitalists who think that this competition will create magic in the music industry)
  • Market Share (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Rendo (918276) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:19PM (#17287132)
    Of the iPod seems to be that of the PS2 in the last gen of games. Zune needs to be able to play Halo on it for it to be a huge success.
  • Data? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EaglemanBSA (950534) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:21PM (#17287192)
    I'll be more interested to see how the Zune does after a period of say, six months to a fiscal year. I can't say I'd be surprised one way or the other, but IMHO a month or two of sales data isn't enough for me to see whether a product is effective or not. How does this compare to Ipod's sales its first month?
  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by punkr0x (945364) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:22PM (#17287202)
    You have to wonder what these numbers are really showing. It reads like it's compared to all sizes of mp3 players, from little 256mb flash drives to the 80GB iPod video. I would like to see how it compares to comparable players, instead of overall. Still these numbers are surprising, it's a medium sized player at a good price with a lot of marketing behind it.
  • Re:Zune (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:23PM (#17287228)
    What does the iPod have over the Zune?

            Style.

  • by Rastignac (1014569) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:25PM (#17287276)
    MS always had a long term strategy. Just wait until it gets better.
    See Internet Explorer. Now v7. First versions were bad.
    See DirectX. From v0 (WinG) to v10. First versions were bad.
    Wait for Zune 2, 3, 4... Today, it sucks, but in a few years, it will be OK.
  • by NineNine (235196) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:25PM (#17287278)
    The title of the article is "Zune doesn't shake iPod's market lead - MICROSOFT MP3 PLAYER HAS DECENT 1ST MONTH". That's a far cry from "Zune Sales Continue to Weaken".

    Hell, the article summary isn't even correct. Slashdot spin version: "Apple remained unchanged at 62.2%". Actual article text: "Apple's share of the hard drive market fell to 82.7 percent from 86.8 percent a year ago, its share of the overall market came in at 62.2 percent, essentially even with the 63 percent it posted a year ago."

    Instead of trying to spin existing articles, I personally think that it's time for Slashdot editors to just start making shit up. This attempt at spin is pretty sad. Why not just make up an article that says, "Bill Gates went on a shooting spree today, killing 100 orphan children, before turning the weapon on himself".
  • Re:Zune (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ucklak (755284) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:27PM (#17287300)
    what does an IPOD have (other than after market accessories) that the Zune does not?

    -The ability to act as an external hard drive in a pinch.
    -A software client that runs on Windows and Macintosh.
    -Seasons in the market.

    Is Microsoft really going to go the distance with this or will the Zune become another MSNtv(WebTv) type of product where all the R&D is done and it just festers?
  • Re:Zune (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:36PM (#17287446)
    Ability to hook it into most cars and display track info on the dashboard.
    i think you misspelled "more".
  • shock! Horror! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:39PM (#17287474)
    Sales of a product go down the month after a hyped up high profile launch?!?!?

    Just like happens with 99% of consumer products that have glitzy launches?

    Seriously this is a piece of non-news turned into Microsoft bashing.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:40PM (#17287504)
    However i suspect the iPod has simply hit that monopoly status like Windows

    Really - what is the limitation to switching from an iPod?

    Sure some people have songs from iTunes, but for most music people are still buying CD's. The amount of ITMS songs people own is not enough to explain why people continue to buy iPods instead of other players.

    With Windows if I want to buy almost any PC but a Mac, by default I get Windows. If I want to use programs needed for work I have to use Windows, if I want to access my freaking intranet website I need Windows (or at least IE)!

    THAT is monopoly.

    If I wanted to, I could easily buy a different MP3 player and things would work just fine - if it played AAC, all the better (wince that's what I rip CD's to). But I stick with the iPod because it does what it does better than other players I have tried - including the Zune. The iPod has a most not of monopoly, but of ease of use - in order to start making inroads on the iPod it must be easier, or at least AS EASY to use as an iPod - and if you read Zune reviews that software does not make it the case. The Sansa on the other hand is rather simple to use and doesn't try to make the users life more complicated, which is why people are buying them.
  • by Sciros (986030) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:40PM (#17287512) Journal
    I was all anti-Xbox when that thing first came out. In my eyes it was so much worse than the GCN that I couldn't understand purchasing one. PS2 sale numbers owned it hard, and were I a Sony guy I would have been talking the same talk as Apple folks are today. And now the Xbox family is doing just fine, all things considered. Maybe MS will actually turn a profit on those things within the next couple of years. After all, they do know something about running a competitive business, and with consoles they have the experience of trying to break into a market with an already-dominant product out there. Maybe soon enough the Zune will be where the 360 is. And as MS releases new "versions" like the Zune Micro or whatever they feel like calling it, they'll get more competitive. I'm a Creative guy right now anyway. My next player will likely be an Archos. But the Zune/iPod war has only begun if you ask me.
  • Re:Zune (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:42PM (#17287554)
    With every Zune sold, some of it goes toward the RIAA. Apple (nor any other mp3 player else I know of) doesn't share it's hardware sales with the music industry (rightly so).

    This may not be a feature, but it is important to some people. Also, there are a good number of other mp3 players out there, notably iRiver. Apple and MS aren't the only ones to consider.
  • Re:How fitting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ThePhilips (752041) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:43PM (#17287556) Homepage Journal
    The brown one looks like a turd.

    Hm. I think many fashion people would brown Zune just for sake of its color - brown. Many leather and fur goods are of that color. And nobody did the color before - Apple likes traditional colors, Creative likes colors of Apple, etc.

    Now that I think of it, probably it's Mrs Gates has ordered for xmas brown player for her sable [wikipedia.org] fur coat [furcenter.com]. And husband complied.

  • Re:Zune (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smbarbour (893880) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:45PM (#17287586)
    ...what does an iPod have (other than after market accessories) that the Zune does not?

    An Apple logo?

    Other than that, they are both overpriced MP3 players.

    Perhaps there is some difference in sound quality, but cost is the chief deciding factor (and is probably why I own neither, with no plans to own either).
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:47PM (#17287620)
    I bought the 1st gen - yes it was expensive but I had enough of players with USB connections, firewire was way faster - so I bought it as a music player but also a portable hard drive. There was nothing like it on the market, as far as ease of use and features went.

    It's funny that five years later, Microsoft introduces a player that can't even be used as a hard drive...

    Sales really took off for the iPod when they introduced the Windows compatible model. The funny thing is, today Microsoft started with Windows compatibility - perhaps sales will really take off when they introduce software that lets the Zune work with Macs!
  • Re:Zune (Score:5, Insightful)

    by diegocgteleline.es (653730) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:47PM (#17287634)
    Well, it used to be the case that Ipod had some *real* technical and usability advantages over their competitors, not just "style" (which is a stupid reason to buy something, IMO). Competition is clearly catching up, and if Apple doesn't makes big innovative updates to the ipod, others will have the chance to do and steal market share from Apple.
  • Re:Zune (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BoberFett (127537) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:07PM (#17288040)
    The popularity of the iPod is beyond Apple now. Their situation is much like that of Windows. There's nothing particularly great about Windows itself that keeps people using it. What keeps people there is familiarity and the near endless amount software that only runs on Windows. How much money has been spent on accessories that only work with the iPod? Those people are locked in and like Windows, just the fact that something better exists (OSX, Linux) isn't enough to switch.
  • Re:Brown (Score:4, Insightful)

    by trybywrench (584843) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:10PM (#17288100)
    go to a trendy store like Target, Crate and Barrel...

    that pretty much destroys your credibility of knowing what is in
  • by Darth (29071) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:15PM (#17288176) Homepage
    Not necessarily. Stores are also a business, and if the minority product's vendor can subsidize its losses in one division with excessive profits in another, the store might be persueded to add extra emphesis to a non-leading product that its vendor hopes will one day become one.

    So basically what you are saying is that microsoft could leverage their existing os and office monopolies to create favourable deals for promoting the zune and gaining marketshare in the portable player market. I wonder if the U.S. legal system will work this time around, or if we'll have to rely on the EU courts again.
  • Re:DRM is not in (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oliverthered (187439) <oliverthered.hotmail@com> on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:18PM (#17288220) Journal
    Not until you tell them what DRM is, and then there all to happy to not want it.

    Joe Sixpack : I've got a new Ipod and I'm going to buy music from ITunes.
    Me: You do realise that you can only copy the songs a limited number of times, they will only work on your ipod so if you get another playeyer they'll stop working etc.....
    Joe Sixpack : What about allofmp3.
    Me : They've been shutdown.
    Joe Sixpack : Limewire it is then.
  • by Cybrex (156654) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:23PM (#17288298)
    Let's see. It's larger, heavier, has shorter battery life, is less attractive, has a clumsier interface (no scroll wheel and a less user-friendly menu system), doesn't support podcasts, has a lower storage capacity than the top of the line iPod, almost nonexistant 3rd party peripheral support, doesn't support Audible.com audiobooks, has poorer audio fidelity, only supports the laughable Zune Marketplace for purchasing music online (no podcasts, TV shows, movies, or games), can't be used on a Mac, and doesn't even support Microsoft's own previous DRM schemes.

    Additionally the display, while larger, is the same resolution. The software it comes with has quickly developed a reputation for bugginess. Its one potentially cool feature (wireless) is utterly crippled by its implementation, with ridiculous DRM, no way to purchase music wirelessly, and not even the ability to sync with your computer wirelessly.

    Finally, while I realize that this is probably a non-issue for most of the Slashdot crowd, the fact remains that the iPod is simply considered cooler within the cultural zeitgeist.

    Other than that you're right- the Zune is a fine .mp3 player. Well, for some definition of "fine", anyway.

    Out of curiosity, does anyone out there know if music purchased in the Zune Marketplace can be shared with multiple computers? Purchases from iTMS can be authorized for up to 5 computers. I haven't heard one way or the other how this works for the Zune.
  • Re:Zune (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Silverstrike (170889) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:37PM (#17288544)
    You PDA has an 80 GB HDD in it?

    What model is that?
  • ^^ Microsoft shill (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Black-Man (198831) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:41PM (#17288626)
    How much is Microsoft paying you to post?

  • Re:Brown (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:55PM (#17288830) Homepage
    While you may think the color brown is unhip, you must understand that from a designer's and marketer's POV brown has been a 'HOT' color for at least the last year.

    We know. But this is precisely why a piece of electronic hardware should not be that color -- it is going to look dated fast. When you follow a hot trend, you get burned very quickly as the market turns elsewhere by next year.

  • That's why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:07PM (#17289060)
    That's why I firmly believe that the other manufacturers need to band together to create a standard external connector. The iPod was an attractive product, but it was never ground breaking. The problem is that at this point, accessory manufacturers make accessories for iPod because they have the biggest market share, and at least partially because all the accessories are for iPods, iPod will keep the biggest market share.

    If the other manufacturers standardized an external connector, they could have enough of an accessory market share that they could compete.
  • Re:Zune (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:18PM (#17289230)
    Any other Hebrew speakers offended by the name?
  • Re:Zune (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mehgul (654410) on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:29PM (#17289424)
    I'm sorry, but no. Nobody's catching up. Any other player than the iPod has the scroll wheel? No? Of course not, they'd have Apple lawyers on their asses in no time. So, unless another music player comes with a scroll wheel, it'll have a very hard time being as usable as an iPod. We'll have to wait until the next paradigm shift until that happens (the same way a scroll wheel was a paradigm shift when introduced on a portable music player). The iPod is the ONLY music player with which you can go through your whole music library without lifting your thumb up (or any other finger for that matter).

    I believe it's exactly the same thing as with mice. Does anybody still buy/use mice without a scroll wheel? Would you use one? I haven't seen a mouse without one lately, it's more like they're getting two (eg Logitech MX Revolution). Even trackballs have scroll wheels now.
  • Re:Zune (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nchip (28683) on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:55PM (#17289790) Homepage
    Anyone who gives a microsoft product "underdog" status should be castrated. There are zillion smaller and more sympatihc mp3 player manufacturers to give your sympathy over (iRiver, Archos, iAudio, ...).
  • Re:That's why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pollardito (781263) on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:58PM (#17289838)
    That's why I firmly believe that the other manufacturers need to band together to create a standard external connector.
    they could call it ConnectsForSure and their customers would be assured of a universal interface until one of the member companies decides that it might have a chance to be dominant on its own
  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Monday December 18, 2006 @03:08PM (#17289964)
    The IP cartels have forgotten how business works: sell people products that they want at a reasonable price, and people will purchase your product. Yes it is "unfair" that you are competing with "free" pirated competition, but sometimes, you draw a string of bad luck. Those of us in software development are competing against Indian and former Soviet states that might as well be free... Open Source development has expanded from infrastructure to more and more of the software market, and client don't understand the need to do custom work when the free stuff now "almost works as they want."

    It's the nature of the market, it destroys people that are standing still. The problem for the IP cartels is that technology used to take decades to eat the market (VHS ate the re-released movie market, but created the home Video market, DVD ate VHS rental commissions, but created the home movie collection), now it takes years. However, if you move fast, you can make money.

    Napster made it possible for large swaths of the public to become exposed to non Top 40 music, people traded MP3s around, and it was easy to get a file, but a pain to get a CD, so if you liked it, you bought the CD. Killing Napster opened the market to better P2P solutions. Apple created a pleasant way to buy digital music. The only constant is change.

    If I were in charge of the music studios, I'd keep my legal teams on a short leash, harassing P2P enough to push people toward Apple and Microsoft solutions, but not enough to make my customers hate me. I'd use sites like Myspace.com to get my bands out there, and I would crank out new artists. I'd focus less on monetizing my archive with DRM, and sell whatever I can sell. I'd increasing touring, push SA-CD / DVD-A as a higher quality solution. Hit the market everywhere, some stuff will sell, some won't.

    However, my biggest change would be my contracting of artists. The current solution, lose money on 9 bands but make a killing on 1, giving everyone giant advances to live like rock stars, playing the celebrity gossip game, etc., isn't working. The one-hit wonder who gets famous flashing the papparazzi is a dead strategy because P2P eats you, but bands with a following make you money. I'd lower advances, increase the artist cut, and get the artists to think like music creators, creating more CDs, and less time playing celebrity. When a band gets discovered, give them money to produce albums, not party it up. There are more music channels (XM, Sirius, HD Radio, etc.), most outlets for videos (Myspace.com, Youtube.com, Google Video, etc.), and more ways to introduce people to music.

    Sure, piracy will eat some sales, but it will expose people to more music. Some people may never buy music, but others will if you make it easy. Get product out there, sell what you can, and keep the legal team on enough of an offensive to keep the pirates at bay... however, forget the idea that you can STOP piracy.

    Also, STOP making the technology suck. HDMI has proved to be a colossal disaster, it doesn't work right. Havi over Firewire was the easier solution, multiple cables suck (component + firewire or optical audio), but the HDMI situation causes SOOOOO many problems. The technical hurdles affecting your high end customers are killing you. If you want to move discs, get people to WANT higher quality. SA-CD and DVD-A presented a way to make downloaded MP3s of questionable quality less valuable, but you never supported them, and required people to run 6 audio cables because you didn't want digital solutions to take off, WTF!

    Stop screwing around, you're missing the fact that pirates attack your low-end, move up market, and just rattle the pirates a bit. You've lost site of your business, and became engrossed with piracy. Put out music people like, and sales will take off... even if the piracy rate hurts somewhat, you can move product. With a minor harassment game, high school and college kids may not buy CDs, but they will after school when they have money, if you have created bands that they love. The market is changes, adapt with it... but in the end, SELL product EVERYWHERE, stop navel gazing and running in fear.
  • Re:Zune (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vought (160908) on Monday December 18, 2006 @03:09PM (#17289984)
    But you really shouldn't just compare the iPod to the Zune. Right now if I were looking for a new music player I'd be paying some serious attention to what Creative is selling.


    I wouldn't be very surprised if what Creative is selling is iPods before long. Or, in other words, Create may not exist as a company that builds not-iPods.

    Just saying. We could be at the point where licensing FairPlay or buying up hardware vendors starts to make sense for Apple. After all, Microsoft has already pissed in the face of every PlaysForSure licensee.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @03:45PM (#17290502)
    >> doesn't even support Microsoft's own previous DRM schemes
    >Neither does the iPod? The iPod is a nice device, but you are really reaching here
    >for some of your points.

    You are a Windows user and have bought music using Microsoft's "Play For Sure" program. You buy a Zune and find that none of that music is transferable to your new device, but you're content because the iPod wouldn't do the same?
  • Re:That's why... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by joshsisk (161347) on Monday December 18, 2006 @06:09PM (#17292812)
    How is that in anyway like MS bundling apps with Windows? iPod + iTunes + iTMS = a integrated solution to buy music (service), organize music (software), play music (hardware). Seamlessly. Anyone that buys an iPod does so to play music. Windows + Minesweeper doesn't have that same value add, since most people don't buy their PCs just to play Minesweeper. IF Internet Explorer had been the first web browser, I'd agree that was a similar achievement. But it wasn't the first, so it's inclusion wasn't ground-breaking.

    Considering the impact on the portable music market that the iPod + iTunes + iTMS has had, I'm not sure I even need to explain this, but hey, it's slashdot.
  • Here's why: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HairyNevus (992803) <hairynevus@@@gmail...com> on Monday December 18, 2006 @06:23PM (#17293058)
    I own a Zune, thought it was great the first few days. Then, I started to add artwork to the songs...and the glitches started. Sometimes half an album would show up with artwork and the other half not, other times the album would show up twice with artwork for no reason. In the Zune library it appeared fine but in the player it was all screwy no matter how much I synced.

    No real biggie there, but I have a lot of live concerts, most all of which span multiple CDs. In foobar2000, I had already had them all tagged accordingly, but for some reason the Zune just didn't recognize the metadata for it. No substitute field, either. It's really annoying to half to skip 2 tracks every track when listening to WEEN live in Minneapolis.

    Still, I thought those were both kinda minor, but then I got to using the Zune for the real reason I bought it: lossless. Long story short I goofed up on reading the specs and the Zune doesn't support lossless. It will even try to cap your 320kbs .mp3/.m4a at 192 and convert it to .wma. But here's the question: Why would a device trying to compete--nay overthrow, the iPod limit its capabilities to anything inferior?? The iPod has its own lossless codec, which is quite good.

    All those little things have the marks of typical Microsoft goof-ups and they just stare you in the face when you use the Zune and you hate it more and more.

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