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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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  • 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 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:Zune (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Buzz_Litebeer ( 539463 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:34PM (#17287386) Journal
    Actually I said I am thinking of buying a Zune, I actually have used an IPOD and have borrowed the 30gig version for its ability to play back a video clip on its screen when showing some product features.

    One of the things I like about the Zune is that it seems to have a bigger screen, can get FM broadcasts, and its interface looks nice though I have not really had much opportunity to use one except at the store.

  • by snarlydwarf ( 532865 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:34PM (#17287416) Homepage
    <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).

  • Re:Zune (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:35PM (#17287420)
    advertising? i can't get 50 feet without seeing an iPod ad and I almost never would have heard of the Zune if it wasn't for Slashdot complaining about it. Apart from that I haven't compared specs, but then again, most end users wouldn't understand the specs anyways.
  • 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.

  • Nitpick (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:48PM (#17287642)
    The issue with DRM restrictions is on file formats, software that creates files in that format, and music stores. Not the player. If your Creative Zen plays encumbered WMA or AAC files, it is no more or less DRM-encumbered than any other device that plays encumbered WMA or AAC files.

    A player that is untouched by DRM is a player that will not play any DRM-encumbered formats. To the best of my knowledge, there is not a single hard drive based player on the market that fits this category.
  • Sin DRM Por Favor! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:49PM (#17287654) Journal
    I agree, I just bought a SAMSUNG YP-Z5 4 GB digital player and I think this is THE ONE I would recommend to everyone. It has the ability to be used with Windoze Media Player but the music is copied in comprehensable folders in the flash memory.

    I can also copy the music folders directly using any Linux file manager (or plain old cp). It can handle some kind of DRM thing (which I dont use as I dont like leasing crippled products) and the best thing is that it plays MP3, WMV and OGG. It is the size of an Ipod nano and has a color screen, the battery lasts more han 30 hours (continuous playing, I usually just use the shuffle all function and never stop the thing, just put down the headphones).

  • Re:Not true (Score:1, Interesting)

    by xra ( 1021817 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:57PM (#17287832)
    Wasn't Zune supposed to be the Ipod killer ?
  • Re:Zune (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:05PM (#17287996)
    Then try to get a zune to display that video clip on anything other than that 'bigger screen'. The video ipod you borrowed can display your video on an external monitor or TV. Sorry for AC post.
  • Re:DRM is not in (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Amazing Quantum Man ( 458715 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:36PM (#17288526) Homepage
    Joe Sixpack : Limewire it is then.

    Just bought my daughter a Nano, and her first question was "can I put limewire on my PC?".

    Told her no.
  • Re:Zune (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:01PM (#17288960) Homepage Journal
    One thing the Zune does have is underdog status. People who are anti-apple/anti-ipod who will do whatever it takes to get people into the zune culture.

    So, I was in a GameStop this weekend (my friend was trading in his gamecube) and this woman behind the register was talking to a customer about the zune and she was talking it up like I've never heard anyone talk up any product in my life. I mean, she wasn't just saying how great it was, she was making up lies on the spot to this guy and she even managed to sell one to the guy.

    When I heard the conversation start, it began with "so, is that zune actually any good?" and the woman behind the counter says "yeah, I have one and it's awesome. I threw my ipod out after I got it because that thing was such a waste of money. It only plays music that you buy from apple in the iPod store and I have an extensive MP3 collection, so that was all useless, and the Zune is compatable with your xbox360 points, so you can use that money for that. try that with APPLE!"

    she went on to say how the ipod is $400, but the zune is only $200 and the zune can share the music which the ipod can't do. She also claims to have contacted microsoft and quized the about it and she was saying how music purchased at any online music store can be played on the zune, plus it has an FM radio, which is a huge plus.

    now, I don't know what her deal was and I'm not even sure if she realized if she was lying, but I was ready to throw something at her. seriously.

    Also, my dislike for the zune isn't fueled by any hate for microsoft that I have. it's directly related to the quality of the product and its featureset. it's a poorly designed music player (and I'm not talking aesthetically) and doesn't do what it should (namely, the #1 thing it should do that it doesn't is play Plays For Sure(TM) files).

    btw, this is my 666th comment. yay!
  • Re:That's why... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BoberFett ( 127537 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:48PM (#17289702)
    I disagree. I think the iPod was initially a superior product. The functionality and style were better than the other options. Whether or not it is now is debatable.

    You're right though, that if all the other manufacturers could decide on an industry standard interface they'd have a shot at breaking the iPods dominance.
  • Astroturf alert (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:52PM (#17292514)
    How interesting - both this APOLAUF fellow and one other responder to him that say how much he liked his Zune both seem to have created ID's recently, and also have ONLY posted to this Zune story. Would someone really create a userID just to defend the Zune?

    What about the interface makes it "fun" to use compared to an iPod? Personally a prefer a device I can listen to music to, where the interface is not "fun" but quick and non-intrusive.
  • No surprise here... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AngryDill ( 740460 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @01:26AM (#17296980)
    It's just Microsoft's typical pattern...

    Version 1.0 = laughable joke
    Version 2.0 = OK, but still not as good as the competitor
    Version 3.0 = Close enough to the competitor to win market share.
    Version 4.0 = Total domination of market ("What's an I-Pod, is it anything like a Zune?")

    It is only because of Microsoft's inconceivable financial reserves that they can survive so many inferior generations, where other companies would have had to throw in the towel.

  • Define success. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FallLine ( 12211 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @02:42PM (#17302682)
    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.
    I fail to see how you can argue that their "success" with xbox is a reason to believe they can succeed with the Zune. Virtually any large company can buy their way into a market if they're determined and have enough cash. The real question is whether or not the company can actually profit from it and earn a decent rate of return. Xbox by all accounts has been a money loser and that is unlikely to change. You might argue that the xbox (ver 1) put them in a position to better sell the 360, but that jury is still out on that one. Though it seems like it has been well recieved, they enjoyed a huge edge by being first to market. This, however, will also work against them now that Sony has arguably better and faster hardware out and Nintendo is likely to dominate the lower end.

    I suspect that if Microsoft Xbox division were its own company (i.e., if you removed the other concerns in their entertainment division) investors would be extremely sour on it. The competition today in the high-end console market is apt to be financially ruinuous to both Sony's and Microsoft's console business, i.e., they will be one-upping each other enough that neither can sell enough games (and collect other fees) per platform that they'll never make a real business of it (until one decides to drop out at least...). Anyone want to wager? :-)

    As for the Zune business, you should also realize that it is a very different business. Many, if not most, of the Zune's potential customers already have purchased a significant number of tracks on iTunes' Music Store. The forseeable inability of the Zune to readily play this music for the end-user is going to be a major strike against it. This is different than, say, consumers that own console-games because the next generation player (console) don't really make the older material seem less worthwhile. What's more, Microsoft must convince the major labels to licensing their music under terms at least as good as Apples. Apple may be a quasi-monopoly here, but I could see the labels having serious doubts about Microsoft's intentions...

    Microsoft is obviously a huge company. However, almost all of their profits have come from their traditional businesses (e.g., Windows and Office.... the biggest exception to this being SQL). The competition that they've successfully beat have have largely been much smaller and have competed in areas where they were able to leverage their monopoly powers to tremendous advantage (e.g., Netscape). I simply don't see their "success" as being an all encompasing reason to believe that they'll succeed financially at any business they want simply because they're cash flush and presumably "smart".

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