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Opening Zune Sales Flaccid

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the meager-beginnings dept.

451

An anonymous reader writes "As 'Black Friday' approaches and consumers line up for the Playstation 3 it looks like Zune has become an afterthought. Despite months of hype, opening Zune sales are only so-so. While Zune did reach the top 10 on Amazon's Top 25 list for electronic product sales on its first day, it quickly fell below the top 15 and continues to drop. Six separate iPod models now outsell it as well as SanDisk's e250 player. In-store sales are not much better."

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Welcome to the social? (4, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897046)

Hello from Seattle. Hello? Anybody here?

Re:Welcome to the social? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897344)

If it wasnt for slashdot, i wouldnt even know what a zune is.

Re:Welcome to the social? (2, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897352)

Hello from Seattle. Hello? Anybody here?

Seattle is fine with lots of people, traffic jam problems, beautiful countryside, the sound, etc. A short ways East in Redmond might be a diffrent story.

More seriously, Yet another incompatible lower feature format.. Get a clue. Trading very restrictive DRM in another incompatible format for a taste of Wi-Fi is not a selling point.

The only selling point for middle school kids is there is no DRM on photos. They can be transfered wirelessly. This is the hot new way to share porn.

Parents and teachers are not ammused.

Re:Welcome to the social? (1)

davidmcg (796487) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897354)

Me, me. An American friend sent me one as they thought I'd be interested in it (I'd have preferred a PS3 ;)). Of course over in the UK the social networking is even more useless as the chance of finding someone else to peer with is very low. So it's not going to displace my iPod, but in some ways it's good to have a device that's not even launched in your own country yet. I may keep it for the odd time I want to use the video screen or I may just pass it on to someone with no MP3 player already

Re:Welcome to the social? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897492)

Soon they will be changing it to "Goodbye from Seattle".

First pun! (5, Funny)

neuro.slug (628600) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897050)

Let's hope this product is zune to be forgotten!

/me ducks barrage of tomatoes

Re:First pun! (3, Insightful)

maeka (518272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897110)

I don't believe this first generation Zune, adapted as it was from an existing player, is meant to be anything more than a placeholder, a foot in the door. The really interesting battle, IMHO, will be the second generation Zune against whatever iPod exists when it comes out.
Low sales, if anything, give Microsoft a chance to work out Zune Marketplace bugs, while treating the paying public like beta testers, which is their style. Higher sales would just mean the possibility of more angry customers during this trial run.

Re:First pun! (3, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897256)


That may be, and I don't know much about MP3 players, but I do know that first impressions count. If this is their strategy, then bad move Microsoft.

Re:First pun! (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897268)

And now low sales are a strategic advantage?

Believe me, if there are problems, we'll hear about them regardless of how many people buy in.

Re:First pun! (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897342)

The second-generation zune will come in a new color, Golden Shower, which is sure to be much more popular with fans of watersports. New catchphrase: Do I Hear Rain?

Re:First pun! (1)

tb3 (313150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897392)

That's not a bad idea when it comes to software, and you can upgrade existing versions. With hardware, and especially consumer hardware, it doesn't sound so clever. You can't just 'over-write' your Zune with a Zune 2.0. You're just stuck with an expensive paperweight.

And low sales aren't good for Microsoft, either. The whole wifi sharing thing relies on a critical mass of devices out there, otherwise it's useless. Without the wifi sharing the Zune is just a limited, re-badged, Samsung MP3 player.

Re:First pun! (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897472)

Well people are arguing better functionality will come via firmware updates, however, people saying that are generally just Microsoft shills trying to defend the undefendable.

No one knows what (if any) firmware updates will happen, so it's best to judge hardware by what it can d now, rather than it's potential

Re:First pun! (2, Interesting)

davidmcg (796487) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897446)

To say that poor sales are not disappointing is just trying to spin a bad situation. You should get a job working for Tony Blair :) Simply put, a poor launch can do bad things for the Zune name. Look how Netscape's reputation was permanently damaged after the release of Netscape 6.0. The people who were holding out from IE finally made the switch and never looked back until Firefox. Microsoft needs to fix its mistakes quickly and get this thing selling and getting positive reviews that don't sound like they're paid for by MS. A lot of the positive reviews look like paid postings and seem to follow a similar format: - assuming anyone who does not like the zune is a mac zealot - how brown looks really good when you see it for yourself - how cool it is to send music to your friends - how the video screen makes things look better (that I do agree with - although a higher resolution would be better) - It *will* be even better with firmware updates (I'd rather compare it to what's there now rather than what may or may not happen in the future)

Re:First pun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897518)

By tomatoes, you of course mean chairs!

Re:First pun! (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897534)

Let's hope this product is zune to be forgotten!

"Origami". ;-)

-jcr

this product... not so much (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897068)

I think (just my opinion) with all of the up-front hype and the resulting "flaccid" initial sales figures, Microsoft may have offered up a pretty big loser. Why? Because so much about the Zune and (some of) its features depend on the social network aspect to achieve functionality, and that won't happen with this slow of a ramp.

The flip side, also not good, is that with the slow uptake, the disappointing lack of ability to really use the wireless (because of a dearth of "others") will generate a viral, grassroots word of mouth ripple discourageing potential "others" to buy.

Now slap on the silly DRM, the incompatiblity with almost everything else, the silly purchase plan (float MS a loan anyone?), this product is going nowhere fast. In some ways, too bad, it actually looked to have a certain coolness, but Microsoft forgot and left too heavy a signature...

Maybe the good news out of all of this is the added prompting for makers like Apple to be more aggressive rolling out things like wireless, etc., though it looks to me like Apple has titrated their rollout almost perfectly.

Palm, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897174)

You know, PDA's running Windows where initially a sales dog. Now where is Palm?

Re:Palm, anyone? (2, Funny)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897288)

Where are PDAs? Haven't seen one in ages.

Re:Palm, anyone? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897350)

Where's Palm? Exactly where they were, technically, and still with a large chunk of the market. And Windows, meanwhile, has a much more modern product and is still trailing Palm (in the few studies honest enough to include the Treo, that is)... despite years of Palm neglecting to deliver a modern OS. It really tells you how eager people are to have a Microsoft-based device in their pocket, doesn't it?

Re:Palm, anyone? (2)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897378)

uhh, they're making kick ass smart phones, because no one owns just a PDA anymore.

Re:Palm, anyone? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897400)

That's a bad comparison. Microsoft's core business was already Operating Systems. Windows already had a massive installed base. The nature of portable computers and PDAs is that compatibility is a good thing. Even though Microsoft's OS is pretty shitty, at least people could use their Windows stuff on their portable.

This is a totally different market - the music consumer. As far as "compatibility" goes, Microsoft has no advantage, because the iPod and iTunes is what you need to be compatible with. Basically, the PDA market was an easy "embrace, extend, extinguish" a classic Microsoft move. That won't work here.

Re:this product... not so much (1)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897278)

Because so much about the Zune and (some of) its features depend on the social network aspect to achieve functionality, and that won't happen with this slow of a ramp.

I would wager it has less to do with units sold (though it can't help) and more to do with the fact that people don't listen to music to be social. They do it so they can ignore people.

Apple tries this tactic too in some of their ads, and I don't see how they expect it to work. If you want people to socialize, they need to DO something together.

Re:this product... not so much (1)

davidmcg (796487) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897298)

The problem with the Zune was it was rushed. The product feels unfinished, particularly on the software front. This has tarred the Zune with a bad impression. In this market first impressions count. It's important Apple doesn't make the same mistakes and rush the product out

Re:this product... not so much (1)

joel8x (324102) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897608)

I played around with one at a Target the other day and my impressions of the device itself were that it is fantastic. Unfortunately from reading reviews it falls flat on its face when it comes to the software integration. Doing the job half-assed is as good as not donig the job at all.

That's what happens (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897076)

when you think you can enter into a saturated market just because you have huge mounds of cash. What's next, a chain of Microsoft restaurants? I have an idea, why doesn't Microsoft start selling shoes?

Microsoft has gotten so large that it has no direction. They'll just piss money into the wind trying to crowbar into other markets as the fancy strikes them.

Re:That's what happens (4, Insightful)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897264)

-shakes head sadly- They said that when the original XBox was launched. Maybe you're right, mp3 players are a far more saturated market than consoles, and the death of the Dreamcast provided a wonderful stepping-stone with an epitaph engraved on it for them to launch from, but remember: Microsoft HAS and WILL CONTINUE to "crowbar into other markets as the fancy strikes them."
They're just THAT huge.

Re:That's what happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897440)

The xbox and the xbox 360 have both lost money for Microsoft, making them less than examples of shining success. The purpose of Microsoft should not be to enter every market other than office suites and operating systems and lose money, which is more or less what they do. Microsoft may plan on eventually chipping away enough market share to become profitable at these tasks, but if it wasn't for the continued revenues of the Office and Windows teams Microsoft would just be spending their warchest with nothing to show for it. In the long-term unless any of these efforts make them money it's basically just them failing a lot, being propped up by their tax on the personal computer market.

Re:That's what happens (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897458)

Microsoft HAS and WILL CONTINUE to "crowbar into other markets as the fancy strikes them."

This is true. However, I think this will eventually lead to Microsoft being several unique companies using the same name.

I don't think Zune will fail enough to warrant it from being pulled from the shelves and the developers exiled to Ebonia, but its not going to dominate the market.

Consider the demand for the Wii and PS3 over the Xbox360.

The Xbox360 isn't a failure, but isn't a mind blowing success when compared to its competitors (well as far as the hype has lead us anyways).

I suspect the only reason that IE and MS Office succeeded is that they were mostly bundled by OEMs with the computer and those formats caught on and were literally given away for free. (Well not really because the consumers still absorbed the cost somewhere and it would really depend if your OEM installed MS Office or not, but most companies offered packaged deals so it would come with the computer)

With MP3 players and consoles, you aren't really locked into more than just replacing your music and getting new games.

And besides... If you get a new generation console it is expected that you still keep your old one so backwards compatibility is a moot point.

Re:That's what happens (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897600)

They said that when the original XBox was launched.
Yeah, and what they're saying now is that Microsoft is still spending a fortune to sell those machines below cost. Will it ever go profitable? Maybe, maybe not. In the meantime, what could they have done with the same amount of money in the financial markets?

At some point, when MS's stock has been stagnant for a couple more years, the shareholders are going to want some answers.

-jcr

Coming in at #83 (4, Insightful)

Celt (125318) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897086)

Its Zune, on Amazon's top 100 products
Fantastic work their Microsoft, beaten by even iPod cases and cheap ass dvd players :)

Re:Coming in at #83 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897598)

Whose Microsoft?

Soooo.... (3, Funny)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897100)

Just goes to show, Apple knows hard and black is the way to go!

Re:Soooo.... (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897242)

As they say, once you go black, you can't go back.

Re:Soooo.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897562)

I thought it was, once you go black, your baby's on crack....

Well, I'm sure surprised. (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897104)

Frankly, I'm amazed that the thing got into the Amazon top ten list at all. I wonder how many units you have to sell in a day to get on that list, and just how many of those units were Evil Empire minions buying one for the team?
-jcr

Re:Well, I'm sure surprised. (1)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897140)

Frankly, I'm amazed that the thing got into the Amazon top ten list at all. I wonder how many units you have to sell in a day to get on that list, and just how many of those units were Evil Empire minions buying one for the team?
Same problem with this sales list as any other one (such as sold music albums)... it doesn't really say much about popularity unless you have the actual hard numbers and how those numbers compare to the rest of the year (and perhaps same period previous year). Let's see where it lands when christmas shopping really kicks off in a couple of weeks. I don't think it will rank very high.

Re:Well, I'm sure surprised. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897328)

Does a day go by when you don't wake up dreaming about sucking Steve Job's dick?

Seriously. Go do something more meaningful than shilling for a multi-million dollar company.

Christ

Re:Well, I'm sure surprised. (2, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897502)

Go do something more meaningful than shilling for a multi-million dollar company.

What do you think you're doing, sunshine? Does astroturfing for Microsoft pay better than sweeping floors at the mall?

-jcr

Zune's Problem IS......Balmer (1, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897114)

Balmer's idea is find something to do a Lock-IN.

Consumers DO NOT WANT TO BE LOCKED IN.

All else is BS.

Re:Zune's Problem IS......Balmer (3, Interesting)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897184)

Then why is the iTunes store so popular?

Re:Zune's Problem IS......Balmer (2, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897334)


Define popular. You need a point of comparison, i.e. how well it would be doing if it didn't lock people in. It might have ten times the sales figures without the crappy DRM.

iTunes Music Store only looks like a lock in. (2, Insightful)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897336)

At frist glance it might seem like a lock in, but look at it carefully. You can listen to an ITMS song on your computer, up to 4 other computers, burn it to a CD, or listen to it on your iPod. The biggest thing to remember is that once you've burned it to a CD, it's pretty much open season what you can do with it then.

Re:iTunes Music Store only looks like a lock in. (2, Insightful)

Carrot007 (37198) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897488)

Yeah burn lossy, rip and re-encode.

I'll buy from itunes when I can download lossless and burn to cd. Still when that day comes why bother with the DRM?

I'll keep on ripping my cd's in flac and using my IAudio to play them thanks.

Re:iTunes Music Store only looks like a lock in. (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897498)

Zune marketplace songs can be played on your computer, your Zune and burned to CD as well.

Re:Zune's Problem IS......Balmer (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897434)

Because it doesn't lock you in.

Re:Zune's Problem IS......Balmer (1)

timbck2 (233967) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897448)

iTMS is so popular because Apple did it right. It's that simple.

Re:Zune's Problem IS......Balmer (1)

rhakka (224319) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897564)

tried the newest release?

I'm an apple fanboy.. fairly extreme one, in fact.. the newest iTunes update has apparently made it so that if I rip a CD and put it on my iTunes, upload to my iPod, I CAN NOT pull those songs off the iPod onto another computer... EVEN IF THAT COMPUTER IS AUTHORIZED for my iTunes account!

You can pull off iTunes PURCHASES, but not CDs you have ripped on your own on another computer. So if you have a work computer and home computer, you now have to rip the CD individually to both computers to use them in iTunes unless you want to keep the iPod plugged in. Of course, you can't add it to the library on iTunes so you have choose which one to use for your playlists, etc...

Sweet, huh? They did ok for awhile, but this is a slippery slope and the slip has started, IMHO. I am not bailing on this yet, as I can understand the reasoning and you CAN just leave the iPod plugged in while you are there.. fine.. but it's one step closer to my bail out point for sure.

Not true (3, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897370)

That's simply not true. Apple has the worst lock in sceme in the entire consumer electronics industry, yet people line up outside their stores like they're in the former Soviet Union waiting for toilet paper. Slashdot geeks all hyped up on Jolt and Slashdot groupthink don't want lock in. Consumers at large couldn't care less.

Re:Not true (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897404)

That's simply not true. Apple has the worst lock in sceme in the entire consumer electronics industry

No, they don't. As a matter of fact, most people have plain old MP3s on their iPods.

A product no one wanted (4, Interesting)

ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897138)

It was almost as if Microsoft said "Let's throw millions of dollars at a market and see if we can get a piece of it." The fact that it was trying to enter a market that is already flooded with similar products doesn't help. The fact that the Zune is incompatible with Microsoft's music files doesn't help.

This is not to say that Microsoft should stay out of consumer electronics. The Xbox 360 has a good chance of being the dominant console this generation (outside of Japan). The Zune just happens to be a waste of time and money.

Sometimes their hardware is good.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897556)

.. shame about Windows :-).

I've liked most of the early MS hardware like mice, keyboards and even the odd joystick - it was real good quality stuff.

But I don't care one jot for all the hardware that locks me in, xbox included. I have an iPod because it supports MP3, and I'll buy the real CDs of music I like because (unlike anything electronic) it makes it always very easy to prove I actually bought the record and it's a decent backup.

I haven't bothered with buying anything through iTunes, if they sell MP3 files I may but that doesn't seem likely, and there's no way I'm going to buy something I can't play elsewhere when I change my mind about the player.

Ditto for PC - if DRM becomes unavoidable I will still avoid it by switching platform (go for a Mac, or use Ubuntu more than about 75% of the time). There are few reasons left for me to run Windows, and I can always buy a console for games. I can't see the point of paying extra for being forced to pay extra, if you see what I mean: we all pay the cost for the extra 'protection' without it having any benefit for ourselves. A bit like the Mafia of old, just electronic and this time government supported.

Now, back from that digression: a company like MS can afford to throw a couple of millions at a market to see if it works. Call it a sort of R&D.

Re:A product no one wanted (4, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897588)

This is not to say that Microsoft should stay out of consumer electronics. The Xbox 360 has a good chance of being the dominant console this generation (outside of Japan).

Not if the reviews of the Wii are any indication...

Most Microsoft products suck in first release (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897158)

This is normal for Microsoft. The first release of a new product never does well. Windows 1 was terrible. Early versions of Excel weren't competitive with Lotus 1-2-3. The original Internet Explorer was lame. It took three years before ".NET" made any sense. Direct-X was terrible in its early versions. The original Xbox worked but was a huge money drain on Microsoft.

Then Microsoft fixes the problem. Each new release gets better. In time, the competition is crushed.

Re:Most Microsoft products suck in first release (2, Insightful)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897262)

Microsoft Money never crushed Quicken, and after all these years Internet Explorer is playing catchup to an open source browser. Perhaps things aren't exactly the same as they used to be.

Re:Most Microsoft products suck in first release (1)

metalcup (897029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897292)

from the article

"Microsoft itself has acknowledged that the Zune investment may take years to bear fruit, and analysts upheld the expectation. "Apple will not feel any bit of discomfort from Zune, certainly this holiday season and a good part of next year, said IDC analyst Danielle Levitas. Microsoft is going to put tons of money in this over time, much like they did with the Xbox' video game console, she said. It's not about the first generation (of devices)."


I think this might end up being true - though whether, even then, Microsoft will turn out to be the ipod killer is hard to say: I'd bet on apple retaining the top spot with a reduced marketshare (and at 72%, it is a pretty high marketshare) and Zune coming in second - backed by heavy marketing..

Re:Most Microsoft products suck in first release (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897522)

Do you really think that Microsoft can keep getting away with that strategy? Don't you think consumers might be losing their patience with Microsoft?

That might have worked with computer software, which has historically been pretty crappy and full of bugs, with few choices. People expect computers to suck. Or, at least they did when Microsoft made their monopoly. We expect our computers to be a lot easier and less buggy today than we did in 1994.

Will Microsoft's strategy work in a more mature, consumer-based market? Imagine if Microsoft wanted to make cars. Would car buyers tolerate the first couple of generations being shitty and buggy? Or would Microsoft's name in cars become dirt? After all, you can get Toyotas and Hondas and BMWs that work perfectly. Why would car buyers trust a third-generation Microsoft car, after the first ones turned out to be bombs?

Similar with the iPod. It has never been "shitty," or had more than minor bugs. It was perfection compared to most of the other shit on the market. People put up with Windows, because they were basically stuck with it, or forced to use it in the workplace. Nobody is stuck with a Zune or forced to use one.

Who is lining up for the PS3? (0, Offtopic)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897160)

Check ebay. Prices have already crashed to ~$1200 for a 60GB unit, and below $1000 for the 20GB model. Further there are over 25000 units listed and no where near enough buyers. Folks who listed with a buy it now at $3000 - $3500 are going to be sorely disappointed. I suspect that we'll see equilibrium well below twice retail, and possibly less than 1.5 times within a week.

So, how long before I can walk into a Toys 'R Us or Target and pick one off the shelf? Perhaps even before Christmas. This is the most amazing example of an economic boom to bust I've ever seen.

Re:Who is lining up for the PS3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897388)

Hey, at least they had boom. With Zune it was a bust from the start.

Re:Who is lining up for the PS3? (3, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897428)

This is the most amazing example of an economic boom to bust I've ever seen.

What you have seen is the effect of too many players in a speculative market. Almost nobody pays $3000 for a game console. The rumor of people buying them for $3000 got lots of people excited about easy money and a high mark-up. It's just like the pump and dump stocks. Nothing new here. A few consoles got bought then and sold for $1500 to another investor sucker who thought he could sell it for $3000. Not many paid $1500 to play the console.

A word to the wise, keep out of the specultation market. Very few win at the game.

Re:Who is lining up for the PS3? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897516)

What you have seen is the effect of too many players in a speculative market.

Oh yeah. This is the clearest example of a modern day tulip mania [wikipedia.org] I've seen. Black Monday back in '87 might also compare. What's striking about though is not the divergence between price expectations among sellers and buyers, but the extreme speed of this market correction. I mean, refresh eBay and you'll see equilibrium slide in real time. Pretty damn cool!

Huh ... hello? (1)

Augusto (12068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897436)

The product sold out, irregardless of what the current price on ebay is. And people did line up to buy it, there's certainly more demand for PS3s right now than for the Zune.

That the price has dropped on ebay is great news, it's stupid to buy this console at such ridiculous prices (including the 1200 you listed there, it's just stupid)

Re:Huh ... hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897572)

irregardless [bartleby.com] is not a word.

Re:Who is lining up for the PS3? (1)

tuffy (10202) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897456)

So, how long before I can walk into a Toys 'R Us or Target and pick one off the shelf? Perhaps even before Christmas. This is the most amazing example of an economic boom to bust I've ever seen.

Given Sony's supply problems (the low Cell yield and Blu-Ray laser shortages, in particular) it might be awhile before one can walk into a store and pick up a PS3. But I think the decline of huge eBay markups is an illustration that the demand for the PS3 at the current price is not very broad once the hardcore "must have it on day one" buyers are out of the way.

Just another crappy MP3 player (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897168)

People have already wizened up to MP3 players. The popular ones don't have proprietary file formats, have a USB mass storage connection and a FM radio. Zune fails on all counts.

Re:Just another crappy MP3 player (1)

deft (253558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897348)

ipod has a built in FM radio now?

not without a $49 radio remote.

Shhhh, Nobody Tell Him... (1)

WiseWeasel (92224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897426)

You do know that the iPod is by FAR and away the most popular MP3 player, right? It plays proprietary music (in addition to several standard formats) and has no FM radio receiver... So I'd say those features are not relevant to people's purchase decisions for MP3 players...

Re:Just another crappy MP3 player (0, Troll)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897462)

"The popular ones don't have proprietary file formats, have a USB mass storage connection and a FM radio. Zune fails on all counts."

Actually, they all play MP3s, which is what I assume you mean by non-proprietary formats (or do you mean ogg? You don't seriously think anyone outside Slashdot cares about ogg, do you?). And as for USB and FM radio, the popular [apple.com] players don't have either of those things.

(Yes, I know iPods use USB. But they require a dock and aren't mass storage devices out of the box. They also can't be connected to other USB storage devices for file transfers. And stop looking at me like that- I like my iPod)

Re:Just another crappy MP3 player (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897486)

People have already wizened up to MP3 players. The popular ones don't have proprietary file formats, have a USB mass storage connection and a FM radio. Zune fails on all counts.
--


Funny you should mention that. I was just looking at the Crative one. It also has stereo Line In. It has a built in Microphone. It can be used to make MP3's out of your LP and tape library. You are right. The Zune is useless for my applications.

The Creative player is a lot less expensive. It's only downside is it has much less storage space. ;-(

Flaccid? (5, Funny)

smartin (942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897178)

You mean Micro and Soft?

Microsoft and hardware (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897180)

I spot a pattern with Microsoft releasing hardware. They do it late, they make big and clonky hardware, and they tie it to their operating system.
Exhibit 1: PocketPC. It flopped twice before taking off, and by then, it was too late, because the PDA was already a sinking star and most people needing the functionality bought smartphones instead. There was no way that a HUGE and clumsy PocketPC device of ~year2000 was going to compete with the dapper Palm V/Vx, and it didn't. Too big, too mediocre, too late.
Exhibit 2: Microsoft Phone. Anyone remember those? Wireless landline phones which hooked into your PC and gave you an on-screen warning about who was calling and a summary of all calls. Well, the thing was HUGE, could only be used with certain PCs, and flaws like someone rebooting a PC tossing people off-line. And by the time it came out, most phones already had all that functionality built in to the phone. The MS phone didn't have a display, the competition did. Too big, too mediocre, too late.
Exhibit 3: Zune. Compare this to the iPod Nano or Sony Ericsson Walkman phones. It's too big, too mediocre, too late.

There's other examples of failed MS hardware too, like tablet PCs (which were re-launched no less than THREE times before finally finding a niche). The only MS hardware I can think of that has achieved some success are the keyboards and joysticks (although I would think Logitech holds a much bigger market share).

Regards,
--
*Art

Re:Microsoft and hardware (2, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897244)

Windows mobile is big now days.

Re:Microsoft and hardware (1)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897360)

Windows mobile is big now days.
Only problem is that it isn't generating any direct profit. It's been a economic sinkhole (albeit a smaller one than Xbox) until last year when they made a stunning 2 (yes, two) million profit in the Mobile and Embedded division. Looks like they're basically giving away the stuff to me.

The number on how much each division makes can be found in their 10-K report that they file with the SEC. Filings are available at www.sec.gov.

Don't forget the XBox (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897398)

Don't forget the XBox. I have had a PS2 for many years, and my girlfriend recently bought an XBox to play a single game. I couldn't believe what a piece of shit it was! It's huge compared to the PS2. At least 5 times as large, it's loud (both the fan, and the stupid menu when no disk is in makes some stupid cartoon robot sound), it's obnoxious, and all of the parts and controls on it look like they're made for retarded, giant, kindergarteners. It reminded me of the first time I saw the dashboard of a modern American car after always driving Japanese. Big, clunky, ugly, and cheap. Just the way most Americans want it.

Re:Microsoft and hardware (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897524)

Pocket PCs aren't made by Microsoft, they're something more like Dell's boxes with OEM Windows pre-installed. Microsoft makes only general hardware specs and the OS.
And Microsoft's keyboards & mice are quite good.

Mistakes the have made (1)

davidmcg (796487) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897186)

It's going to be a year before the launch in the EU (if they even bother now), here's a list of lessons they need to learn [browserden.co.uk] before they launch over here.

Re:Mistakes the have made (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897248)

Some good points there. I do agree that having Ballmer associated with the device is a negative. But also the marketing tactics used would not work in the UK (e.g. 'The Social' is another word for our welfare benefits office in the UK) - not that they really worked in the US anyway!

Doomed from the get go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897202)

That's what you get for introducing a player that supports all the sucky audio formats (mp3, wma) and none of the good ones (vorbis) :-p

Battle Hymn of the Republic, re-updated (3, Funny)

Ninjaesque One (902204) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897226)

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Zune;
It is trampling out the storage where the Costless Tunes are store'd,
It hath loosed the flaccid lighting of its terrible short release;
Its songs are marching out.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Its songs are marching out!

I have seen it in the watch-fires of a hundred wary bands!
They have builded it an altar in the circling doom and damp;
I can read its righteous screen by the dim and flaring lamps;
Its songs are marching out.

(chorus)

I have read a fiery gospel written in burnished rows of plastic;
"As you deal with my develop'rs, so with you my grace will deal,"
Let the Ballmer, born of spittle, kill the serpent with a chair;
The Zune is marching out.

(chorus)

In the beauty of the birch, Linus was born across the sea;
With a glory in his boxen that transfigures you and me;
As he hacked to make boxes holy, let us code to make Windows free;
While the Zune is marching out.

(chorus)

It is coming like the glory of the storm upon the farm-er,
It is Horror to the drummer, it is Destruc'shn to the bass,
So the world shall be its crypt, and the soul of Jobs its David;
The Zune is marching on.

(chorus)

(if you're wondering why it's re-updated, go look at this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_Hymn_of_th e_Republic%2C_Updated [wikipedia.org]

More proof there's more to the iPod than marketing (4, Insightful)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897240)

Sure, we all understand nobody likes the king of the hill, no matter if it is deserved or not.

But I hope this helps put to rest the continued notion that iPods only sell so well only because they are a marketing gimmick or some status symbol only to be worn to look 'cool'.

The iPod is, for years now, been a well designed and well executed product. The scroll wheel introduced with the first iPod minis soon appeared on the complete iPod line when everyone including Apple realized it is what seperates it from all the other mp3 player interfaces. Well, it did until Zune and many others tried to imitate it.

The iTunes interface won over many converts from Winamp and Musicmatch Jukebox before they even owned an iPod. Simplicity and power won over again. The iTMS isn't the best selling store by accident.

Sure, the iPod is hyped, but perhaps it is for a good reason. People aren't dropped hundreds of dollars because they're stupid. At least for not this long and for this many years and different iPod models. Has there been a single iPod model that flopped?

Re:More proof there's more to the iPod than market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897254)

People aren't dropped hundreds of dollars because they're stupid

lol

MS Marketing "pulled a brown Zune" (4, Funny)

hmbcarol (937668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897274)

The work "Zune" may enter the lexicon as a word akin to Edsel or Pinto.

I heard a guy at work yesterday mentioning Sony's battery recall and commenting they "pulled a brown Zune" in terms of their marketing failure to deal with the problem correctly. (Brown being the least popular color for the Zune).

Think of the uses... "The Republicans got handed a Zune in the last election".

I almost feel sorry for Microsoft... (0, Troll)

jadobbins (1028872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897290)

...but not really.

Re:I almost feel sorry for Microsoft... (1)

apostle matt (886684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897494)

OK Dodgeballer.

Slashdot post distribution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897296)

99% posts that in one way or another pick Microsoft apart
0.5% intressting reads
0.5% dupes of above

Sad place this have become.

Check out Microsoft's wrongdoing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897304)

It's here: http://malfy.org/ [malfy.org]

here's the thing... (5, Insightful)

spirit_fingers (777604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897322)

The really frustrating thing about the Zune is that it is essentially a terrific product. The problem is Microsoft's insistence at putting the interests of vendors first and the interests of their customers a distant second. If they'd only let the damn hardware do all it could do, the thing would be selling like hotcakes. The Zune's wi-fi capability COULD let you share whole playlists, and COULD let you be a DJ and stream to several Zunes simultaneously, and COULD let you share music without wrapping it in arbitrary DRM and COULD let you sync it with a PC without a cable. It could also let you use it as a hard drive and let you sync it with a Mac or a Linux box. But no. Instead, Microsoft's DRM tightassness won't let the Zune be all it could be and what we have now will go down in history as the Bob of music players.

Re:here's the thing... (1)

Shippy (123643) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897548)

I think there are softare issues to think about as well. Sure, they could have thrown all those features in, but likely it wouldn't have been out for the holiday season.

Re:here's the thing... (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897592)

"Hello. My name is Bob Zune. It looks like you are writing a letter..."

The Zune could have been a hit... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897332)

But the handful of other posters are dead-on accurate as to why the Zune is going to fail.

There is already word of mouth that the Zune is encumbered with myriad of limitations. The whole product launch follows a very traditional marketing strategy complete with a flash yet typical advertising campaign. In the days of yore, a company could manufacture hype for a product. Before the internet, word of mouth spready very, very slowly. Now, if you fuck it up -- you're done. Really done.

Who was Microsoft marketing the Zune to exactly? One could only hope that they would have actually done some market research on their target demographic. Enough to know that these people aren't as gullible as they once thought. Clearly, this isn't the case.

The product itself follows the mantra of design-by-deception. Forget all of the stuff about DRM and fair-use. Although that did play a part, the true problem with the Zune is that it was a product manufactured by people who really didn't want it to succeed. The modus operandi of corporations is to build a system to maintain the status quo. We're in a period of time where innovation threatens the life blood of the huge conglomorate. Sure, this threat has always existed -- but not to such a degree as it does today. The unwritten motivation for every decision is to make sure that everything is built to keep things from progressing beyond a company's capacity to adapt. Adaptation brings risk, and nobody in a position of executive privilege truly wants to accept responsibility for a failure, or responsibility for controlling risk. It's PMI training gone haywire.

So, how does this manifest? The Zune is a perfect example. They see the threat coming, they don't want to assume any risk, they design a product to fail and thus hurt the industry where the so-called rising star is coming from, and maintain the status quo.

It's truly brilliant, but this strategy is never laid on paper. It's never communicated. It's simply the ebb and flow of business, which is itself a manifestation of the human being's drive towards power and influence, which is completely derived from human desire for their memory to outlive their physical being due to doubts about the true meaning of life and death.

In an ironic twist, many don't realize that by being a part of the problem, by sacrificing forward progress, they are in fact going against the very nature of man's ambitions. This is, of course, manic. It's probably why we built the bomb, build biological weapons, etc. It's the vain hope that someday somebody actually will make a mistake and wipe us all out, so that some creature down the road might learn from our mistakes and by doing so, we may have a final, romantic sense of redepmtion for our own.

Hurrah! Apple's near-monopoly is secure! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16897382)

Remember kids, when Microsoft has a monopoly, that's bad, but when Apple has one, it's good!

The Zune is flaccid? (4, Funny)

Slithe (894946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897416)

So I take it nobody's done any squirting yet?

Remember Lotus 1-2-3, Palm and Netscape? (1)

PopeZaphod (651956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897424)

They used to be tops of their markets, and everyone laughed when M$ tried to compete with them. Now Lotus is a memory, Palm is a close second, and Netscape went open source in order to offer an alternative to the clear winner of the "Browser Wars". Oh, and let's not forget a little something called the XBOX and how we all laughed that it would ever be more popular than the PlayStation. I don't want M$ to succeed; I'm just afraid that history will repeat itself yet again.

Re:Remember Lotus 1-2-3, Palm and Netscape? (1)

davidmcg (796487) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897570)

It'd be more successful if they didn't make such obvious mistakes. For the moment Apple and its other competitors have time to ensure they keep in the lead. The xbox is a loss leader, perhaps they make losses on the zune too, they can't keep running unprofitable ventures.

Between the title and company name (2, Funny)

Fuzzball963 (887814) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897430)

I'd say flaccid is a good way of describing Microsoft ;).

Just needs to be marketed better (3, Funny)

microcars (708223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897470)

case in point: The Pet Rock

Who would buy a Rock for a Pet? yet....it happened.
There is a whole untapped market of gifts that are "not nice". I mean, what do you get someone in the family when you HAVE to get them a present, but you don't like them?

Perhaps they could do a tie-in with those new "LearnAboutCoal.org" commercials and throw Santa in there too.

SANTA: "Well, lets see little Johnny has been very Naughty this year, so he gets a lump of coal!"

Johnny: "Well at least I can burn this and keep warm for a few minutes"

SANTA: "And little Bobby has been especially naughty so he gets a Zune!"

Bobby: "Whaaaa!!!......."

[end tag]: UPS voiceover: "What can Brown do for YOU?"

and? (1)

TheCoop1984 (704458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897496)

Hands up all those who are suprised.

*queue tumbleweed*

Ah we all knew it was gonna be a flop anyway. I guess what they say about microsoft and vacuum cleaners is true then...

A better mousetrap..... (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897536)

Guess we know what happens when the mousetrap isn't better.

Design by committee? (3, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897542)

Is it just me or does MS seem to design everything by a giant committee, headed up by accountants and market-speak droids?

The seem to be used to dealing with business customers who don't understand computers and don't want or need to -- they just know that MS is the 'best of breed' and MS will take care of their every need. They have no imagination and no ideas of their own about how a computer could solve their problems, or what they want out of it -- they just want to sit down at a training course and have MS tell them how a computer works and what to do with it. They are just there for the ride, eagerly consuming whatever lowest-common-denominator crap MS pumps out.

Meanwhile, the younger kids coming up are computer savy, have a general idea of how computers work and what you can expect out of them, and most importantly what sucks and what doesn't. That's why the iPod has built such a strong brand -- not for its sleek styling, but for its user friendly interface. Instead of another button for another feature, it has *basically* one button (or two buttons, or one nested button) for *all* of its features. This is what the music listeners of today want -- an *easy* way to get to their music. This is worth repeating -- the iPod is simply the easiest path to their music. That's all.

Meanwhile, the MS zune seems to be designed to please music labels and MS' own need for vendor lock-in, with its DRM, shoddy music store, and crappy sharing features. Go ahead, please everyone but the customer who you expect to pay for the privilege of using your crap. Though I must admit, it does work well in the business world.

Good thing Zune is not Microsoft's (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897554)

only product. Otherwise they'll be on "the social" soon enough.

Amazon customer reviews (2, Informative)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 7 years ago | (#16897584)

Here [amazon.com] .

Most of them seem to be very favourable.
First few days is really too early to judge a product sales figures.
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