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Microsoft Media Music Hardware

Zune Sales Continue to Weaken 566

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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  • 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.
  • Re:Zune (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:24PM (#17287248)
    "what does an IPOD have (other than after market accessories) that the Zune does not?"

    Third party software support.

    Support for Mac, Windows 2000 and Vista.

    Less restrictive DRM.

    Ability to hook it into most cars and display track info on the dashboard.

    Better resale.

    The Zune might make sense at $130. But of course, then it would compete with the Sansa players which appear to be designed by someone not from the Soviet Politboro (Zune's brown color is widely called "Soviet Brown" in the trade and consumer press).

  • Re:Zune (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:27PM (#17287296)
    Zune has squirting, iPod doesn't. Zune has a subscription service on their music store. iPod has a larger music store that also includes video podcasts, TV shows, and movies. iPod has toys like the calendar, notepad, and some games. Zune has a built-in FM radio receiver. iPod has the click wheel (which probably looks like a small thing to most people, but having used both an iPod and a music player without one with my rather large music library, to me it is absolutely the most important distinction).

    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.
  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:28PM (#17287314)
    The newegg.com reviews seem to speak for themselves: while not perfect, this product is superior to the iPod, both aesthetically and functionally.

    But unless it's very superior, Apple has a huge entrenched market share and a "name" in the business. This is kind of the reverse of the Vista vs OS X situation.


  • Re:Zune (Score:5, Informative)

    by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:35PM (#17287426)
    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.

    A couple additions:

    * A huge (and still growing) accessory market
    * Can interface directly with a large number of cars (not just through an aux-in)
    * Better software - not just cross-platform, but more polished and less buggy (even as buggy as iTunes 7 was initially, it was nothing compared to some of the horror stories I've seen about the Zune software)
    * More software options - you don't need to use iTunes if you don't want to
    * Clickwheel interface
    * Better size/form factor

    And yes, style. The Zune is big and ugly. The iPod is svelte and classy. Sure, that's subjective and you might not agree. Unfortunately for MS, 62+% of the market does agree and only 1.8% of the market feels otherwise.

    Also, let's not forget that Apple has several different iPods on the market, and they don't break down sales by model. I think it's entirely possible that MS could do better if they released a nano and/or shuffle type Zune. They still won't catch the iPod, but they could easily triple their 1.8% market share (not that that means much). Apple has a model for every taste, where MS seems to specialize in big ugly brown boxes.
  • Re:Zune (Score:2, Informative)

    by doctor_nation ( 924358 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:41PM (#17287516)
    Definitely. I just recently bought a Creative Zen Vision:M 30MB and it's pretty nice. It plays tons of video formats, no DRM restrictions, FM receiver, voice recorder, etc. I'm not totally happy with the music organization, but it works well enough.
  • 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.
  • Re:Zune (Score:3, Informative)

    by ameline ( 771895 ) <ian.ameline@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:46PM (#17287606) Homepage Journal
    Lets see -- I can think of a few just from the top of my head,

    iTMS FairPlay allows you to;

    Copy a tune to (and play it back on) any number of iPods.
    Copy the tune to (and play it back on) five different computers.
    Burn the tune to a standard Audio CD any number of times.
        - The resulting CD has no DRM and may be ripped, encoded and played back like any other CD.

    Does the Zune system let you do any of those things?
  • Re:Zune (Score:3, Informative)

    by stego ( 146071 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:47PM (#17287632) Homepage
    Zune has a built-in FM radio receiver

    I got the Apple FM attachment [apple.com] for my Nano and am very happy with how slickly it integrates.
  • Re:Zune (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chokolad ( 35911 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:51PM (#17287714)
    > Does the Zune system let you do any of those things?

    For tracks you bought - yes for all things you listed. For tracks you rented via subscription - no.
  • Re:Zune (Score:5, Informative)

    by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:00PM (#17287892)
    The 30GB iPod takes up 31% less volume than the Zune and 42% less volume than the 30GB Creative Zen Vision:M.

    The 30GB iPod has 15% less mass than both the Zune and the 30GB Creative Zen Vision:M.

    The 80GB iPod has 167% more storage space than the Zune and takes up 12% less volume than the Zune.

    The 80GB iPod has 33% more storage space, takes up 38% less volume, and has 12% less mass than the 60GB Creative Zen Vision:M.

    The 80GB iPod has 167% more storage space, takes up 26% less volume, and has 4% less mass than even the 30GB Creative Zen Vision:M.

    No one makes an MP3 player comparable to the iPod in the capacity/form factor department. Same goes for the Nano. iPod owns the market because Apple has no real competition.
  • why not a cube? (Score:2, Informative)

    by garlicbready ( 846542 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:03PM (#17287936)
    If you're going to get an MP3 Player, how about something that actually looks cool to begin with http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prod id=MP-002-MB [overclockers.co.uk] tiny small form factor (smaller than the nano, although it is a cube) has FM Radio and can be used as a USB memory stick, OLED display there's even a 2nd generation device coming out that can play videos as well (although why would anyone want to)
  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:04PM (#17287952)
    The newegg.com reviews seem to speak for themselves: while not perfect, this product is superior to the iPod, both aesthetically and functionally.

    To be fair, Betamax was superior to VHS both aesthetically and functionally.
  • by Darth ( 29071 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:07PM (#17288044) Homepage
    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".

    From the article :
    "In contrast, there are already questions about how sustainable Microsoft's Zune sales will be. NPD's own weekly data had Microsoft falling from the No. 2 vendor of MP3 players in its first week to No. 5 in its second week."

    Sounds like their sales are weakening to me.

    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."

    As your own quote says, Apple's overall share was essentially unchanged. That's exactly what the summary said.
    What the article also says is that the Nano (up 37%) and shuffle (doubled) market shares increased. The reduction in Apple hard drive market share could easily be explained by the market shifting more towards flash based players. The article's and the summary's assertion that the zune has had no impact on the ipod seems pretty reasonable to me.

    The slashdot summary was even generous in its comment about the brown zune, which has actually sold as poorly as the white zune.

    Instead of trying to spin existing articles, I personally think that it's time for Slashdot editors to just start making shit up.

    You do know that people submit the stories and the editors just post them, right?

    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".

    If that constitutes "shill spin" on slashdot's part, your response should easily qualify as microsoft shill spin.
  • by denttford ( 579202 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:11PM (#17288114) Homepage
    Cute :-). But they went on to bash the product, particularly the 3 strikes and you're out wireless.
  • by Cybrex ( 156654 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:02PM (#17288978)
    Quick addendum to my last comment. I was checking to see how many computers Zune Marketplace purchases can be used on (just one, it would seem), and came across a deficiency in the Zune that's such an obvious oversight that I'd never even thought to check.

    Apparently it can't be used as an external hard drive. Damn. I use my iPod as extra storage all the time. It's such a simple and useful bit of functionality that I'd assumed the Zune would have this capability. It turns out that it doesn't.

    I've even used my iPod as a boot drive for troubleshooting Macs. I obviously wouldn't expect the Zune to be able to do this, but to not be usable for storing/transfering large files at all is absurd.
  • Re:DRM is not in (Score:4, Informative)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:23PM (#17289316)
    - You can "copy" (or backup, or move, etc.) the songs purchased from iTunes an unlimited number of times.[1]

    - Songs purchased from iTunes can be burned to CD (and thus stripped of all DRM) an unlimited number of times (playlists can be burned a limited number of times (seven), designed to prevent people from making copies of, say, a purchased album en masse; however, you can make a new, identical playlist, or change one thing about the playlist and then change it back, and it can continue to be burned as many times as you wish)

    - Songs purchased from iTunes can be played on an unlimited number of iPods of any model

    [1] Not only can you copy the music as you see fit, a new feature in iTunes 7 actually allows your authorized machines (up to 5) two-way sync all purchased music from any iPod. So even though people say, "Yeah, iTunes DRM may be okay now, but they can always tighten it in the future," Apple has actually reduced the restrictions and introduced features that give customers more flexibility.

    In any event, slight compression losses aside, you can ALWAYS burn the music to CD an unlimited number of times, stripping all DRM permanently, and even reencode in any format of your choice. Yes, yes, yes, there will be losses from compression, but they are so negligible, almost ALL people will not be able to discern any difference in quality whatsoever. And if you're an audiophile-type who can, then the original AAC encoding isn't good enough for you either. So, the "but what about compression losses" is a bogus argument.

    Lastly, this isn't about whether DRM is "good" or "bad". It's simply a fact of life, and will absolutely continue to exist as long as the rights owners have anything to say about it under current legal frameworks (i.e., for a LONG time). The key is making it as unobtrusive as possible, which Apple has done for the vast, vast majority of customers in spades.

    Nice job at being wrong at pretty much everything about iTunes purchases in your post, though!
  • 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)

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

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @06:22PM (#17293036)
    IE wasn't the first web browser, iTunes wasn't the first music software, iTMS wasn't the first online music store, and iPod wasn't the first portable music player. No difference whatsoever.

    Considering the impact on the internet market that Windows + IE has had, I'm not sure I even need to esplain this, but hey, it's slashdot.

    iTunes is about as groundbreaking as Windows Media Player.
  • Re:Competition (Score:2, Informative)

    by evil_Tak ( 964978 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @06:35PM (#17293244)
    Also of note is the Nokia 770 [nokia.com]. Uses flash memory instead of onboard HD, but has a huge screen, real wifi, Opera, and a large collection of third-party apps.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan