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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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  • waiting (Score:5, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:16PM (#17287066)
    I'm just holding out for the yellow model...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That reminds me of a friend at the data center: a very peculiar guy, technically very competent yet focused on learning speech techniques, philosophy, all the humanistic things.

      Well, to create a proper climate, he even got himself one of those decorative mini Zen gardens, with sand and little stones. He even made those circles in the sand, meaning the sea/universe, I don't know.

      Well, some of his "friends" put a fake crap in his Zen garden... I almost had a seizure when I saw it... Unix guys can kill someti
  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by GrayCalx (597428)
      How dare you assign any company, other than Microsoft, monopoly status on a slashdot thread. Shame on you. Shaaaaame.
    • 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.
  • 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)
    • Because the IPod has strengthened Apple's market position a LOT. More people are not buying Macs and Powerbooks because the IPod helped prove that the company made great products and put them back on the map. MS is probably trying to kill the IPod so that they can force Apple back into the little corner it was in before with Zune and Vista.
      • by abscissa (136568)
        Well it's having the opposite of the "Apple Halo" effect... people have brown and pink DRM laden bricks of shit that they can squirt all over each other. I'm switching to Windows Vista!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by qbwiz (87077) *
      What else is Microsoft going to do with their mountains of money? I suppose they could hand out more dividends, but their options are actually somewhat limited.
  • Competition (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:19PM (#17287146)
    I (and others) looking for proper use of wifi, have already bought an Archos (604Wifi). Opera browser, network share browsing, etc. Squirting? Please. It's more expensive, but a far superior product at this point.
  • by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:20PM (#17287158) Homepage
    The Zune is out on display in best buy stores. It has one stand. The video it is showing is grainy and because of the strip lights its hard to see.

    Compare and contrast with the iPod Nano - there is only one nano display, but there are about a million Nano's out for people to play with because they are being used as part of demo sets for speakers, headphones, in car entertainment systems, kids toys. There are just a lot more units for people to get their hands on and try out - at this point. I imagine things will be a little bit different when Best Buy has a whole aisle for nothing but Zune protective cases, like the do for iPods right now.
    • by 2short (466733)
      "I imagine things will be a little bit different when Best Buy has a whole aisle for nothing but Zune protective cases, like the do for iPods right now."

      You say that like it was ever going to happen. The aisle of accessories follows the market share, not the other way around. The wide availability of acessories helps keep the leader in place perhaps; but nobody will make, and best buy wouldn't stock, a ton of accessories for a player that isn't already owned by a ton of customers.

      My prediction: the Zune c
    • Even worse (Score:4, Informative)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:43PM (#17287560)
      I agree the displays are not good - I spent some time with one at a target.

      First of all, the Borwn Zune (there were two, black and white) was either locked up or had a fake screen. I couldn't tell, but the impression a user would have is that it had crashed.

      The black one worked, and I was able to try using it (though the speakers connected didn't work or were not on). A real problem the Zune has with a fixed kiosk is that browsing between pictures and video and songs, the whole interface rotates - that is to say, Zune changes the display such that you need to hold the Zune on it's side for some photos and video. When the device is fixed upright you cannot and it makes it really hard to use - plus the controls are also rotated (up becomes left, right becomes down) which you have to figure out. Personally I really did not like this control rotation and found it made it hard to figure out what you were supposed to do in any given mode.
  • Nah. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Funkcikle (630170) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:20PM (#17287162)
    The one surprise though is that the brown Zune is apparently not only being bought, but more popular than the white model.
    Not really. Brown is a nice colour. And people who buy the Zune are probably trying to kid themselves into believing they are real and proper individuals, resisting all those clones and sheep who have iPods and iPod knock-offs. So why should they not go one further and get a wild and cool colour which nobody already has?

    Proof indeed that people are dim. Bless their little hearts!
  • What else could you give as a gag at all these White Elephant office parties?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by creimer (824291)
      I worked at an office where the company decided that everyone needed a plant on his desk. One of my co-workers went ballastic since he listed the things that the company should be providing the employees besides a plant. The company backed off on the plant idea. My co-worker received a plant as a White Elephant gift, which he didn't take too kindly and promptly trashed it. I rescued the plant and still have it after three years.
  • by dsginter (104154) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:21PM (#17287174)
    I bought a Zune to use as a big screen TV. I had to make my own wall mount, but it was worth it. I measured the screen and it is nearly the same size as 42" monitors going for several thousand dollars.

    In all seriousness, I was a bit perked by the Zune until I saw how big it actually was. I'm certainly no Microsoft fan boy, but what the heck were they thinking?
  • "Bill gates' wallet" green? BSOD blue? "Beige box" beige? That would be great! Of course, queue the brown ~ crap jokes...
  • First generation was rather expensive back in 2001. But sales really took off after iTunes and the music store. On the other hand, there wasn't as much hype about it back then either.
    • by abscissa (136568)
      First generation was rather expensive back in 2001. But sales really took off after iTunes and the music store. On the other hand, there wasn't as much hype about it back then either.

      That was 2001. Welcome to half a decade later.
    • 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!
  • 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.
  • ...well, let's just hope they never drop them into the pool [imdb.com].
  • 20 years and it'll be a collectors item.

     
  • by denttford (579202) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:25PM (#17287272) Homepage
    About the brown thing? It's the only unique thing about the player (that is worthwhile). Incidentally, for what its worth, the sales folks at the local Radio Shack (Upper West Side, Manhattan) have told me that the Zune is flying off their shelves. When I told them that I was shocked... they admitted that they were too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by snarlydwarf (532865)
      <quote>Incidentally, for what its worth, the sales folks at the local Radio Shack (Upper West Side, Manhattan) have told me that the Zune is flying off their shelves. When I told them that I was shocked... they admitted that they were too.</quote>

      Perhaps they should put them in locked then. Shoplifting losses don't count as sales (except to the manufacturer).

    • by creimer (824291)
      Considering what Radio Shack normally sells, a Zune would be a high-end product.
  • 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.
  • Did anyone think the Zune would succeed?
  • Doesn't this prove that "if you make it, someone will buy it?"

    I always thought that was more than a little suspect, but the fact that *anyone* bought a Zune makes me reconsider.
  • All the software and OS hackers are buying the brown Zunes so they can hack Ubuntu Linux onto it. If they succeed they will call them "Ubunes". :)
  • Zune is not going to catch the iPod anytime soon, and Microsoft knows this. Indeed, they probably aren't that concerned right now about the sales as much in how the machine fairs in the wild and what bugs may crop up with the first batch. Once they've got the initial hiccups smoothed out and the initial market reception data is in, if they are serious about grabbing real market share, they should drop the price.

    A Zune next to an iPod for the same price, equals iPod for teh win! Drop the Zune price say 15-20
  • These results were accurately predicted [slashdot.org] on this very site, much to the chagrin of Microsoft fanboys.
  • shock! Horror! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by abigsmurf (919188)
    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.

  • The grocery/department store where we shop has a *huge* sort of cardboard cutout ad for the Zune right at the entrance. Maybe at every entrance.

    It consists of a (probably teenaged) girl's face. In massive closeup. With a sort of "natural", unretouched look. And just like, her face with a little bit of her hair. Like somebody hit the wrong zoom level somewhere. Five or ten times the size of a human face.

    The effect is ... just weird. "Buy Zune; get girls with huge pores who don't use makeup!" I mean, c
  • 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.
    • Define success. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FallLine (12211)

      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 ha

  • Brown (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phorest (877315) * on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:45PM (#17287590) Journal
    Dear Slashdot Readers and Participants,

    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.

    Now my background in color makes me recognize when color-trends take over. All you need to do is get out of your house/apartment/basements and go to a trendy store like Target, Crate and Barrel... etc. Casually look at accessories for your hip and swingin' pad and you will notice that a very dark blueish-brown color paired with either a cream-color, minty green or a greenish-blue (think a pale cyan here) with nickel plated hardware (brass is out) are all the rage.

    Now you may not think brown in any form is hip, but since you are a small speck in the marketplace for items without IDE/SATA/USB/Fibre and/or RJ-45 connectors as standard equipment, you may not realize this trend.

    I know it's fun to make fun of MS anything but I just thought I'd mention all this because no Zune article can be posted without poking fun at the "brown one" either purposely or subconsciously.

    Yes, in my mind even I associate the color brown with shit, and while the Zune might be a POS on many levels, the brown one does not reinforce that fact. What tells me it's a POS is that MS only casually wants you to know the Zune is an MS product, that with the fact the wireless is crippled AND 'Plays4Sure' is unsupported.

    • 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
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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.

  • by Frangible (881728) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:55PM (#17291556)
    I managed to (luckily?) win the Amazon.com promotion for a $90 Zune, and couldn't pass one up at that price.

    The hardware of the unit is ok, but the sound quality is pretty sad. It's worse than my Dell DJ gen 1, which is based off the Creative Zen line. There's no customizable EQ. The interface is decent, but they really dropped the ball with the SQ. How do you mess that up? I'm no audiophile and my best canalphones aren't even that expensive relatively, and I can hear the sound difference vs. the Creative Zen hardware in my Dell DJ. Plus, the unit is a little fat relative to an iPod, and only 30GB of capacity. I dunno about you guys, but I have more than 30GB of music. The lack of an in-line optional remote is also annoying. The RDS feature for FM was interesting, but it seems to take a while to populate the text and it often gets corrupted. I don't know if this is an RDS issue or a problem with the Zune implementation. The Wifi, is of course a DRM'd useless joke that just makes the player weigh more. Bluetooth stereo headphone support would've been far more useful.

    The software on the PC is the real killer. It's not iTunes. In fact, it sucks. It crashes quite often, has poor format support, is slow (seriously, just scrolling through music chugs). I don't like iTunes much, in fact I'm a folder/WinAmp man, but iTunes is pretty good compared to the suck that is the Zune software. The features to get missing song tag info also don't work very well. Seriously, if a file is named "Artist - Song.mp3" it doesn't take Hal 9000 to deduce that might be a good place to start looking for MP3 tag information. Speaking of which, the lack of support for a folder-based navigation system bothers me in general. That aside, the software is a bloated, slow, buggy mess.

    Is it worth $90? Maybe. Is it worth $250? Not even close. The software sucks, the player's a fatty with mediocre sound quality, and even if the iPod did not exist I'd rather have a Creative or Samsung player. Bad design, and bad implementation. It's aggravating and annoying to use, and doesn't play the formats I use. Rio once had a player called "Karma". I think that's a more fitting title than "Zune" for what's happening here. Supposedly the odds of getting one on Amazon.com for $90 were 122:1 or something. In my crystal ball I see those odds decreasing in the future, unless Microsoft learns how to write efficient, stable, interoperable code. (hah)

  • by Tavor (845700) on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:48PM (#17292426)
    Maybe the Brown Zune should have a new slogan... What Can't Brown Do For You?
  • Here's why: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HairyNevus (992803) <hairynevus@gmai l . 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.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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