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Why Microsoft's Zune is Still Failing

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the fall-over-dead dept.

Toys 593

DECS writes "Last winter, RDM detailed why Microsoft's iPod Killer would fail miserably. This year, the site argues, Microsoft will fail again, but for a new set of reasons. It is not obvious that the company has figured this out itself. 'Microsoft doesn't seem to learn from its mistakes in consumer electronics very well. When it does however, it frequently gets the timing wrong. This year, Microsoft appears set to compete against the Apple of 2006. It now offers two flash models, last year's leftover 30 GB unit, and new 80 GB version. The problem is that Apple moved the goalpost dramatically. Apple's new 3G Nano is ultra thin and small, but delivers the same video resolution as Microsoft's boxy flash Zunes at the same price. It also plays games.'"

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Failure? (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457479)

Lets see, they are selling lots of them, and slowly gaining market penetration. I don't see that as a 'failure'.

Re:Failure? (-1, Troll)

His Shadow (689816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457569)

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! It's so hard to get across just how hard I am laughing at that sentiment. They aren't selling jack, they stopped making the first generation altogether, and Microsoft's numbers are what's in the channel, not what's sold. Their new ones will be competing against the old ones which are being blown out at firesale prices.


How many definitions of failure are there that one can believe that the Zune is not a failure?

Re:Failure? (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457643)

Lets see, this is year 2 of a product line from a company that thinks decades out ( Microsoft may be slow, but they do have their long term strategies well planned out ). They have the time and money to keep doing this at a near loss for years.

You cant call something a success or failure at this stage of the game.

Re:Failure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457737)

> They have the time and money to keep doing this at a near loss for years.

The anti-trust laws are designed to prevent the use of a monopoly in one market funding the elimination of competition and gaining of a monopoly in another.

America has the best justice system that money can buy.

Re:Failure? (1)

MrFrank (261142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457991)

Wow, that is just wrong. Anti-trust laws are not meant to keep a company from funding on product with profits from another product. If that was the case, MS (or any other company with a monopoly in their market) could not venture into any new markets. Or else they could be bitch slapped with anti-trust laws.

Now, if MS was not allowing users to install iTunes on Windows or connecting an iPod to their PC, and only allowing them to install Windows Media player or connect a Zune, then you have an argument.

I must agree with the last statement though, it does seem the more money you have the more justice you can find.

Re:Failure? (4, Interesting)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458183)

Actually, that's okay.

IBM used to do this all the time. If they ended up with viable competition in, say, mainframe hard drives, they would drop the prices or give out special deals to customers. then they'd adjust the prices on their typewriters.

I remember that the court case went all the way to the US Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court announced the results of that case on the same day they started breaking up AT&T, so it kind of got lost in the shuffle.

Re:Failure? (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457739)

I don't think there's any grand strategy in this other than "Apple keeps out-marketing us, but let's keep plugging away anyways." It's the behavior of a company with lots of money but absolutely no vision. I think, judging by what they're releasing nowadays, that Microsoft indeed has no vision left, it's just a cranky old behemoth that's getting slowly bled away, and other than a few clever tricks like trying to destroy an international standards body isn't showing much imagination at all.

Re:Failure? (4, Insightful)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458057)

As far as the Zune is concerned, that's true. When the iPod came out it didn't look or work like other mp3 players. It was a genuinely fresh approach. Now most mp3 players look a bit like an iPod. I guess Microsoft could have realized that doing that would get them not much further than Creative et al, but they didn't. Now it's Apple reinventing the form of the device with the iPhone/iPod Touch, and Microsoft's players look like old hat.

Add to that the brown colour, the pointless wireless and the "Welcome to the Social" slogan (which must be the most twattish slogan in the history of slogans with the possible exception of "We eat excrement"), and the thing is just a gigantic hunk of fail.

The Xbox 360 is OK though. The Xbox Live service is pretty good, although it should be free like the PSN. At least Microsoft brought something new to that aspect of the market and it does have its own charm, once you get past the hordes of castrati calling you a fag for beating them at Halo.

Re:Failure? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457971)

Well I have to say that I don't think they are selling lots of them. I work at a software development firm. We develop Windows software. How many Zunes owners do we have? None.
We have many iPod users though. When normal people speak about media players they don't call them media players. They call them iPods.
Heck the Zune has added support for "Podcasts".
The new Sync from Ford and Microsoft supports the iPod as well as the Zune... I think it is the only car stereo that offers Zune integration but I guess that is the least Microsoft could do since they made it.

The Zune right now is an also ran even with a HUGE amount of money and marketing behind it.

Re:Failure? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458157)

they stopped making the first generation altogether

Really?!? STOP THE PRESSES!

What a ridiculous statement. Tell me, did Apple continue to manufacture 1G iPods after it released the 2G? No? Then I fail to see your so-called point.

Ye gods - "Look, it's a failure! They stopped making the old version after the new!"

Re:Failure? (5, Insightful)

syntaxeater (1070272) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457619)

That's because this is slashdot.

When Linux "slowly gains market penetration," it's always a success.
When Microsoft "slowly gains market penetration," it's always a failure.

Is the cup half full or half empty? It all depends on who makes the cup.

Re:Failure? (5, Funny)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457823)

Yeah, those cups suck, they're twice as large as they need to be.

Re:Failure? (1)

syntaxeater (1070272) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457889)

Hence why the Zune is only mildly successful in the US. ;)

Re:Failure? (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457949)

The Microsoft cup is half empty because it is full of holes.
The Linux cup is half empty because many popular drinks only fit in the Microsoft cup.

Re:Failure? (5, Insightful)

blzabub (889163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458037)

Sorry to tell you this but there are expectations associated with who you are. A massive corporation with $29 billion cash on hand and dominant control over most widely used computing platform in the world is expected to do better than just slowly gain meager amounts of market share. The expectations for David are different from those for Goliath.

it's quite simple really (-1, Troll)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458067)

When Linux "slowly gains market penetration," it's always a success, because Linux is succeeding despite Microsoft's monopolistic practices, bundling, tying, and dirty tricks..

When Microsoft "slowly gains market penetration," it's always a failure, because Microsoft is failing despite spending billions on marketing, billions more on R&D, and despite their monopolistic practices, bundling, tying, and dirty tricks.

In different words, from a company with the kind of market share, history, and resources that Microsoft has, anything other than overwhelming success is a failure.

Re:it's quite simple really (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21458143)

You are exactly what he was talking about. Thanks for being such a stereotype.

Re:Failure? (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457799)

Most people buy iPods from the apple store.

I don't see a Microsoft store, do you?

Re:Failure? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457975)

A fairly large portion of iPod owners lives in countries where there are no Apple Stores.

Re:Failure? Definately (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458103)

Here in London we are all forced to take public transport to work everyday. This might be an alien concept in the US but here it is quite simply the most practical method of getting to work until you are rich enough that you can pay someone to drive you there and then find somewhere to park after you are in the office. I work in the City of London (EC1, Moorgate). That is that I work in the London equivalent of Wall Street.

When I travel around on the tube I see an awful lot of the trademark white Ipod earphones. I see the occasional pair of Sony Ericsson earphones that go with their Walkman brand of phones. I see no Zunes. Almost everyone listens to music while traveling into work on the Tube but almost nobody seems to own a Zune.

This is not a sign that the Zune is selling well in a culture where owning a personal music player is a prerequisite for maintaining your sanity.

I have seen more Linux based Archos players or PSP's.

Re:Failure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21458107)

Oh c'mon, don't get misled by those figures...microsoft is obviously buying those themselves to keep it on top.

Price drop (4, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457495)

In the Black Friday sales papers, first-gen Zunes are going for $80-100.

Amazon bestsellers (4, Interesting)

shuying (752029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457497)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/electronics/172630/ [amazon.com] Zune has occupied the top spot for quite some time. Is this a failure?

Re:Amazon bestsellers (5, Funny)

Riquez (917372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457519)

Bah, you obviously changed the rankings on that page by looking at it. ...oops, wrong thread

Re:Amazon bestsellers (1)

wish bot (265150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457727)

The best selling item is the BROWN 30Gb zune?! Come on - that smells so fishy it positively reeks. Just like the 15,000 people or so voting overnight to boost the Zune desirability in the WSJ poll mentioned in the article. Yeah.

Re:Amazon bestsellers (1)

wish bot (265150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457815)

Meh - not that fishy after all, they're just being sold off at fire sale prices. They're competing with the >4Gb Nano, which comes in second place, and is slightly more expensive.

Re:Amazon bestsellers (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457763)

Is this a failure?
They've slashed prices countless times to claim 12% of the market in a year, right? Considering that their goal is to lose money on this thing until they've thoroughly Netscaped Apple, I'd say things that certain aspects of their plan are definitely coming to fruition.

The other aspects, namely Apple dying, would be more likely to occur if Apple would follow netscape's lead and quit investing in new technology. Can you really see the Zune matching the Ipod touch in the next few years?

Re:Amazon bestsellers (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457781)

Zune has occupied the top spot for quite some time. Is this a failure?
And it seems that Apple has probably had the other 4 slots out of the top 5.
It is entirely possible that all 5 top sellers are very close in actual unit sales, e.g. straight outta my butt:

1) Zune 30,000 sales/month
2) Ipod A 29,000 sales/month
3) Ipod B 28,700 sales/month
4) Ipod C 28,600 sales/month
5) Ipod D 28,500 sales/month

Which would put Apple at almost 115K vs only 30K for MS.

So perhaps not an utter failure, but just being top spot on Amazon without actual sales numbers doesn't really persuade.

Re:Amazon bestsellers (1)

Mazin07 (999269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457789)

Count - The bestseller list has:

4 Zune products
13 Apple products

I'll leave the calculus as an exercise for the reader.

Re:Amazon bestsellers (5, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457855)

Zune has occupied the top spot for quite some time. Is this a failure?

That may have more to do with the diversification of Apple's product line than anything. They have the iPod touch, iPod Classic, iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, the iPhone, etc. Microsoft may sell more of one particular model, but I'm gonna take a wild guess that Apple is still moving a lot more iPods. Out of the top 5 slots, Apple has the next 4. Out of the top 20 media players, 13 are made by Apple.

As for whether the Zune is a failure or not, it's all relative. If the Zune had been made by a small startup, it would be hailed as a potential iPod killer. But it's made by Microsoft, the 500-pound gorilla of the digital world, a company with a lot of bright people and billions of dollars at their disposal. When one of the world's most successful corporations enters a market with all those resources behind them, anything less than runaway success is going to be seen as something of a failure. Even if they do manage to grab a large chunk of the market, the question really becomes, how much money are they spending to do it, and how much profit are they making on each Zune?

Re:Amazon bestsellers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457891)

You can't find the zune in stores and have to get it from Amazon, while people and practically waiting in line to enter an apple store...

Re:Amazon bestsellers (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458187)

Hahahaha. Snort. Oh wait, you were serious? Where are people waiting in line to buy iPods?

Oh, you only said 'practically'... where 'practically' is defined as 'not really', right?

Re:Amazon bestsellers (3, Interesting)

daybot (911557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457959)

I know the US is a big (the biggest?) and important market, but with Zune sales it's a different story [amazon.co.uk] in the UK. When I looked just now, the first Zune appears in 61st position, with iPods of all kinds dominating the top ten. Of course, the position changes all the time but I've been looking at this every time I see a story on Zune's top spot on Amazon US and the highest position I've seen for Zune is 35th.

Re:Amazon bestsellers (5, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457989)

It is pretty impressive at first blush, but without real numbers its hard to gauge. Especially considering ipods occupy 13 of the 25 products listed, including #2,3,4,5,8,11,12,14,15,16,18,19,20. Zunes have 4 in the top 25, including: 1,10,24 and 25.

From 25 - 50, there are 2 more Zunes, and 8 more iPod model, From 51-100 - 5 zunes and 7 ipods.

That the -brown- zune is the most popular product could well be pretty meaningless, as well as a reflection of the blowout pricing. The black and red versions ranked FAR lower, and I find it impossible to imagine that brown is what everybody wants.

The point is: there are 14 zunes in the top HUNDRED, while there are 13 ipods in the top TWENTY. (and 28 in the top 100).

If the brown zune at blowout pricing can grab the #1 spot, yeah that's impressive, but really doesn't say THAT much. Looking at the numbers its clear that ipod still utterly dominates. If only we had the numbers so we could add up total zunes and total ipods then we'd know by how much.

Its also clear the ipod is far more profitable, considering the lock they have on positions 2,3,4,5,and 8 all at pretty much regular full retail, and especially considering the number 3 spot is held by the 16GB ipod touch which is their flagship product and runs more than twice the price of the zune.

Also, ipod, by having twice as many sku's roughly cuts its sales scores in half, because sales are divided by that many more products. I suspect that if ipods weren't available in quite the same rainbow of options as they are, they'd handily lock up the top 5 to 10 spots no matter what Microsoft did.

-cheers

Re:Amazon bestsellers (1)

stussymo (1082469) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458093)

I'm not sure what your argument is. Of the top 25 products, Apple holds 13 of the spots. Plus, looking just at Amazon is not a good indicator because a lot of people buy directly from Apple (like I did).

Re:Amazon bestsellers (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458099)

It's not a really fair comparison since that Zune is last year's model (which has been discontinued) and at 2/3s the price of Apple's 5.5 Gen iPod. Of course it's going to sell more. Amazon has discounted it to clear it out of inventory which it didn't do with their Apple 5.5 gen. Note however the next 5 MP3 players are this year's Apple's line with a small discount ( 10%).

Flash? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457501)

Uhh, the 30 and 80gb Zunes are hdd-based, not flash and compete with the "classic" ipods not the nano. But yeah, that IS Apple 2006, so the article is sort of right. sort of.

how about (3, Insightful)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457503)

It's a flaky piece of shit with no style from a company with a horrid reputation that is up against the biggest phenomenon in the music industry since CDs?

write to congress (5, Funny)

hjf (703092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457515)

We need to have a law or something, that declares everything made by apple as THE only way of doing things, and also forbid other companies from making similar products. I mean, why do they even try? Apple is by far the best and when someone else tries, they're actually wasting valuable resources (plastic, electricity, and even silicon!).

So, Microsoft, and everyone else: please, stop trying. Apple has the only music player worth anything. You have no chance.

(If you don't see the sarcasm tags, then you're probably on a Mac)

Re:write to congress (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457621)

So, Microsoft, and everyone else: please, stop trying. Apple has the only music player worth anything. You have no chance.
Just as some are glad that AMD is around to keep Intel's prices down, I'm glad that Microsoft is around to keep iPods affordable.

(If you don't see the sarcasm tags, then you're probably on a Mac)
We like things that are both cheap and good. If you don't understand this, you are probably like Microsoft products.

Re:write to congress (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457697)

So you're saying, Macs are cheap?

Re:write to congress (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457743)

Macs are cheaper than they would be if they had no competition...
The reason macs are typically more expensive than generic x86 clones is because there's less competition in their segment. There's a thousand and one makers of x86 clones, but only one that has the apple branding, reputation and the capability to legally run OSX.

Re:write to congress (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457967)

So you're saying, Macs are cheap?
That's a nice little sophistry. It fails to change the fact that, while Macs are more expensive than they would be if Mac clones were still in production, they remain cheaper than they would be if PCs didn't exist.

Once more: you can be glad to have a competitor even if you dislike that competitor. I hope I've helped you comprehend that market utility is sometimes counter-intuitive - particularly if you value price and quality over brand loyalty.

Re:write to congress (0, Flamebait)

hjf (703092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458125)

That's a nice little sophistry. It fails to change the fact that, while Macs are more expensive than they would be if Mac clones were still in production, they remain cheaper than they would be if PCs didn't exist.


You know, the world's not black-and-white. It's not about PC-vs-Mac. You're too much of a fanboy to remember, but at the time there was the Amiga, and it was hell of a machine.

So don't go around talking like that, you know? You don't have a crystal ball, you can't speculate like that. If the IBM PC didn't exist, another machine would have taken its place. It might have been the mac. But, you know, Apple is not stupid. They would have licensed clones (yes, I remember UMAX). And clones would have made Apple a "piece of crap" as you apple fanboys refer to our computers. Or, Commodore would be the PC. It could have been anyone. But it happened to be the IBM PC, and for the sole reason that it was IBM.

So, take your attitude and shove it, pal.

Re:write to congress (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457845)

Just as some are glad that AMD is around to keep Intel's prices down, I'm glad that Microsoft is around to keep iPods affordable.
Microsoft? Creative is the only reasonable alternative to iPods for the price-conscious consumer. Every mp3 player I own is a Creative. Creative lets me do what I want, how I want it (there is no need to install Creative's DRM software), the player is not crippled in any way (unlike the Zune), and it usually costs a fraction of the cost of comparable Ipods (with may be 90% of the functionality/coolness/usability factor of the Ipod).

foot in mouth? (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457677)

"We need to have a law or something"

We do - that is why Microsoft is the 'convicted monopolist'. Convicted of doing everything you joke about...now THAT's funny :)

Re:write to congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457717)

That's the thing. That's why Microsoft is so pathetic. They just copy Apple. Making similar products to the competition is all Microsoft has ever done.

Re:write to congress (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457767)

Unfortunately they're very good at it... And their poor knockoffs of Apple's (and other companies) products tend to sell better than the originals.

Re:write to congress (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457719)

I'm on a Mac, and still saw the sarcasm in your remarks.

Re:write to congress (1)

AlexBirch (1137019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457979)

Perhaps you've heard "The day Microsoft makes something that doesn't suck is probably the day they start making vacuum cleaners."

Simpler explanations (5, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457521)

Exhibit A: Cute, functional, the industry standard. Everyone knows what it is. Comes in gift-friendly colors. A status symbol.

Exhibit B: Volvo-esque, crippled, and ignored by accessory manufacturers. No one outside Slashdot and the Black Friday Loss Leader Bin has heard of it. Comes in brown. Also a status symbol (but of an undesirable status).

Don't try to overthink it.

Heh (0, Troll)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457633)

You sure got the status symbol thing right. Here are some thoughts these two products evoke:

Exhibit A: Natalie Portman has one. Kristen Bell has one. The ex-college-buddy, now a $ucce$$ful investment banker has one.

Exhibit B: A bald, monkey-like beast sighted in public screaming like a pig, with sweat stains on the chest and under the armpits has one.

Need I say more? :)

Re:Simpler explanations (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457841)

The most important thing that makes the iPod models so good is that by keeping the controls on the player relatively simple, it makes the player easy to understand by most users. That's why Apple commands 78% of the market for portable media players.

Re:Simpler explanations (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457909)

Zune controls being hard? hahha

1. Hit play
2. Listen to your music

wow

Re:Simpler explanations (-1, Flamebait)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458005)

PAlso note that the person who wrote this is a Slashdot type A person.

A Slashdot type A person is a libertarian atheist who hates Microsoft and loves Linux to death. He has a beowolf cluster of pc's running Linux and also a private pc running a quadruple boot Debian/Ubuntu/Redhat/Gentoo. At first Suse was installed but after the Novell deal he threw it off. He also has 3 iPods, including one from the first generation. They also worship Apple in their basement and dream of a girlfriend.

So don't expect to get any unbiased information about Microsoft from them.

Also, don't ask him for legal advice. They simple rant about unfair laws and how big government is screwing everbody with their privacy-invading gadgets.

any iPod killer is doomed to fail. (4, Insightful)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457551)

Zune (and any like product) will succeed when judged on its own merits, rather being competitor of brand A. But it will never be like that, since Zune *was* positioned as iPod killer from the start.

And yet another thing: I think, psychologically, just like myself, every time you hear of xyz-killer from Microsoft, somehow you end up visualizing Balmer throwing the chair, and then somehow you end up *not* purchasing Zune.

Re:any iPod killer is doomed to fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457771)

somehow you end up visualizing Balmer throwing the chair, and then somehow you end up *not* purchasing Zune.

Throwing the chair == jumping the shark

But only in the US (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457587)

The part of Zune's failer, might have something to do whit it is only sold in the US.

The rest of the world can't buy it. So it is hard to get in to the MP3 palyer marked, when you cut of the most of the world.

But okey. Asian and Europa thats not places where you can sell new eletronic thing. They only buy old stuff, if any. ;-)

Goalposts (5, Funny)

chemindefer (707238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457599)

Moved them and made them smaller. Try getting a chair between them now.

Re:Goalposts (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457667)

Moved them and made them smaller. Try getting a chair between them now.
Or a brick. Or a Zune for that matter!

The truth (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457613)

They may look cute, with all their joovy-jivy hair and innate sense of rhythm, but appearances can be deceptive. Here we reveal the truth about niggers.

Hre we see a typical example of the disgusting, cruel, evil behaviour [wildlifeextra.com] of these black bastards. Remember this image when one near you (not too near, and I hope for your sake he's downwind) is trying to sway you by whining about "raySISSum" or "the man". Don't, under any circumstances, give them money, they'll only spend it on crack.

Remember, if they can do this to a fierce wild animal, what will they do to your lovely 9 year old daughter with her cute little pigtails? Or son, they aren't choosy - a nigger's tiny brain always struggles to keep his cock under control at the best of times - if it gets distracted by something exciting (like, say, a watermelon or some yummy fried chicken) then even your dog [pet-abuse.com] isn't safe.

Can you say one-sided? (5, Insightful)

TSDMK (979550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457615)

Zune shortcomings aside, just look at RoughlyDrafted's other articles. All pro-Apple. Is it a surprise that this guy claims that the Zune is a failure? Personally, the fact that Microsoft don't even try to compete outside the USA speaks volumes about their confidence at this point.

Re:Can you say one-sided? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457747)

It's an Apple propaganda blog. They don't report that the Zune is a failure, they try to make it so.

Re:Can you say one-sided? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457827)

You don't need to look at who's writing what and whether critics or articles written about the Zune's shortcomings are one-sided. Just go to your local stores and test both products. Apple's products are simply better (At least at the moment). Aesthetically, and in functionality. If you have a superior product in a similar/same price range...no reason (other than trying to jump on an anti-Apple bandwagon cuz you think you're being cool/different) to buy the sh*ttier one. I really do enjoy laughing at Zune fanboys who try extremely hard to convince anyone otherwise.

Re:Can you say one-sided? (2, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457835)

Zune shortcomings aside, just look at RoughlyDrafted's other articles. All pro-Apple. Is it a surprise that this guy claims that the Zune is a failure? Personally, the fact that Microsoft don't even try to compete outside the USA speaks volumes about their confidence at this point.

Just because he's pro-Apple doesn't mean he's necessarily wrong. Does his arguments make sense? Are they logically sound and based on evidence? Are his analyses cohesive? Do you agree with them? That's really the whole point. He often presents one side of the argument but he has some points. What he misses is that MS has corrected some of the shortcomings of Zune 1.0. But he is correct in stating that the flash Zune doesn't really compete with the new flash iPod in some aspects. The new HD Zune is better than the iPod Classic. But it is not better than the iPod Touch.

Re:Can you say one-sided? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457983)

The new HD Zune is better than the iPod Classic. But it is not better than the iPod Touch.

Zune 80: 80 GB for $250. iPod Touch: 16 GB for $400. Zune 80 has buttons (I _want_ buttons) while iPod Touch has a touch-screen.

On the other hand, the iPod Touch has a prettier interface, more capabilities, and slightly larger screen (3.5" compared to Zune 80's 3.2"). "Better" really depends on what you want, and personally I'd rather have an 80 GB media player for cheaper than the iPod Touch with considerably less storage but more capabilities for a higher price. My porn collection wants the capacity and buttons.

Re:Can you say one-sided? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21458137)

somehow this guy managed to spin the FM tuner as a mistake. he claims apple's solution is better because it costs $30 extra and is external, therefore it must get better reception! give me a break, the FM tuner was one of the reasons i ended up buying a zune over the other options, and it gets better reception than my car's radio with its huge antenna. yeah, i'm really disappointed i didn't have the opportunity to get nickel-and-dimed by apple to listen to free radio or listen to the tv's at the gym. then he complains that the wireless sync only works when plugged in, which numerous people have pointed out is false. maybe if he had set out to judge the product objectively he would have taken the time to actually write an article worth reading.

Gotta love it (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457625)

I was adapter hunting in a Radio Shack last week, and couldn't help but overhear the clerks talking to each other behind the counter...

Clerk 1 "I like the zune, I mean, at least it's not an iPod!"
Clerk 2 "And you can so buy one without having to go near an Apple Store!"

Clerk 3 "Hey, did the new stock come in?"
Clerk 1 "Yeah, I put them out this morning - we even have brown ones now..."

Clerk 3 "Really? What do they look like?"
Clerk 1 "Kidding, right? They're brown, man...that's it?"
Clerk 3 "Oh, riiiight - let me see...how do they look?"

Clerks 1, 2, 4 & 5 "????"

In the words of Craig Ferguson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457631)

Maybe they released it too zune [youtube.com] ... :P

iPhone graphic (2)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457635)

I noticed the graph half way down the page which says that most people would buy the iPhone a gift. Great gift.

"Happy Christmas, here's an iPhone ... and here's the contract"

Re:iPhone graphic (1)

stevenvi (779021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458065)

most people would buy the iPhone a gift

Wow. Consumerism has reached a new low of people are buying presents for their telephones. I don't even buy my cat a present!

Re:iPhone graphic (1)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458151)

You don't buy software for your computer? You must be one of them communist open-source fags am I right? You people make me sick. I fought in Vietnam for people like you.

And get off my lawn!

Customer and Buyer must be one and the same (4, Informative)

GnarlyDoug (1109205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457641)

Apple wins becuase iTunes exists mainly to help drive the sales of their hardware, as opposed to the Microsoft strategy of using hardware to drive sales. With the Apple approace the buyer, user, and customer are all the same individual. With the Microsoft model the buyer/user is the same, but the customer is someone else, namely content produces and/or content resellers such as record companies and advertisers.

I think it is axiomatic that if your buyer/user and customer are not the same person, then you are in trouble. In Microsoft's case, without hardware sales there will be no advertisements or add sales either, and since they're selling the zunes at a loss, they lose on all counts.

MSFT Trapped in Same Old Rut (3, Interesting)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457651)

The Zune is just another example of what Microsoft has been doing for years - look for other markets where someone's making money then jump into that market and try to out-compete the dominant player(s).

It worked for web browsers and maybe mouses - but their efforts to penetrate the consumer electronics market in any meaningful way have so far failed to gain any traction.

They've got lots of cash, so they can "compete" while they're losing money and do it for years. Who knows, Xbox might take over the game console market someday. Maybe Zune will amount to more than a poor copy of last year's product. On the Xbox front, they can buy up game developers and convert their products to Xbox-only products. I don't see that kind of business plan working with music players, though. Even if they negotiate exclusive distribution rights for many important acts - the market will ignore those restrictions as it has already shown itself capable of doing. Which act wants to be the first to release "Zune only" tunes? Let's keep in mind the percentage of the portable music player market that Zune represents.

And they've already burned a lot of bridges - remember "Plays For Sure"? They signed up player manufacturers right and left - then left them high and dry. Their potential customers are more than a little aware of this too - who wants to buy a player that you might not be able to purchase any music for in a year or two?

Re:MSFT Trapped in Same Old Rut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457851)

> ... jump into that market and try to out-compete the dominant player(s).

> It worked for web browsers

They certainly did not 'out-compete' with web browsers, they gave it away for free because they could afford to, they used excess profits on Windows and Office to drive the competition out of business (nearly). They also paid OEMs to _not_ install competing products.

> and maybe mouses

With the optical mouse MS found the supplier and patent holder and purchased 6 months production (with excess profits made in a different market) to ensure that other companies could not compete.

> so they can "compete" while they're losing money and do it for years

Or at least as long as they can prevent the justice department upholding the anti-trust laws designed to prevent this.

Re:MSFT Trapped in Same Old Rut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457857)

The Zune is just another example of what Microsoft has been doing for years

Giving J Allard huge piles of cash to burn?

Just Look At The Xbox Fiasco For Why (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457655)

It is a culture thing that causes Microsoft to fail over and over again in the consumer media/entertainment markets.

Although the Zune failure looks time compared to the Xbox fiasco in some ways the Xbox marketplace disaster has moderated the Zune marketplace failure. The Xbox project is now some six years into its life and the console has wasted some seven billion dollars and is dead in the water. The new Xbox 360 after two years on the market is still dead in both Japan and Europe and selling to a fairly niche hardcore US fps/pc gamer demographic. After all those billions the 360 is on track to just making the same 24 million or so worldwide installed base numbers as the first Xbox mess.

The Zune was supposed to be subsidized by the 360 'profits' LOL

Instead of sitting down and hiring really good industrial and UI experts and coming up with something comparable to the iPod line Microsoft has been unable to get out of their same old product strategies:

* Using other products to subsidize new ones to force their products out into the marketplace
* Stupid viral marketing tactics
* Buying off media
* Hiring people to sit around on messageboards hyping their products and slamming their competitors
* Inane attempts at coming up with 'fastest ever' or other silly PR claims

It's a culture thing. People from Microsoft would rather slash your tires or tie your shoe laces together than legitimately win a race and then sit around high fiving each other afterwards over drinks at the local Rendmond wateringhole. Someone up in Redmond needs to wake up and realize that culture is getting them nowhere in the console and digital media markets.

Re:Just Look At The Xbox Fiasco For Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457751)

I live in europe and i know 1 person with a ps3 maybe 2 with a wii and like 20 with xbox 360's. Tho i agree with japan, i think you underestimate its popularity in europe.

Re:Just Look At The Xbox Fiasco For Why (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457761)

Uggh.
Shut the fuck up. It's not like you've ever done anything notable in your whole miserable life, moron.

Re:Just Look At The Xbox Fiasco For Why (0)

galadran (1099427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457831)

Xbox Fiasco??? Its certainly not dead in the UK. I would consider it the dominant console among the 10-18 agegroup. And i should know, I'm 15 :) Its an overstatement to say its a sucess but completely wrong to call it a failure

Re:Just Look At The Xbox Fiasco For Why (0, Flamebait)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457861)

Oh Please

1. They don't use one product to subsidize another. Its called investing in opportunities. Using MONEY to attack a market.
2. Stupid viral marketing tactics? Stupid posts on slashdot?
3. Buying off Media? - Not sure where you pulled that one out of.
4. Hiring people to sit on message boards - you mean people like you?
5. Inane attempts at coming up with PR attempts? Like what?

Not sure of what culture you preach of. I find it ironic you blame everything on MS to explain just how YOU behaved.

Re:Just Look At The Xbox Fiasco For Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21458001)

Uh, the entire Xbox trainwreck has been subsidized by Microsoft's OS and office software monopoly revenue streams. They are the one company with the unfortunate mix of both amazing incompetence in the console market and the billions to make mistakes never seen before like the 1.1 billion dollar RRoD nightmare.

There have been Home Entertainment people who have talked in interviews that after pulling the plug on the first Xbox mess that the Home Entertainment division was given two directives:

1) No more Xbox like losses are going to be tolerated - The 360 is bleeding cash at roughly the same rate as the first Xbox - worse if you factor in the insane RRoD costs. Doh!

2) The H&E division needs to be self sustaining with the 'profits' heh from the 360 to help undercut the iPod's prices for the Zune. Doh!

So much for those plans...

With the almost total loss of Microsoft's first party Xbox developer array and the continued departure of Xbox execs it sounds like the seven year long Xbox mess is finally coming to a merciful end.

Re:Just Look At The Xbox Fiasco For Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457881)

Xbox fiasco? Xbox marketplace disaster? Niche hardcore demographic?

Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] as of September 30, 2007, the 360 has shipped 13.4 million, and the Wii has shipped 13.17. The sold-to-customers numbers are approximately 9 million each as of July 31, 2007. Yes, the Wii has caught up fast, but to deem the 360's performance as a fiasco and failure is to blatantly ignore these numbers.

Also, if you have proof of Microsoft buying off the media and hiring people to hype its products on message boards, I'd love to see them. I'm sure in Apple, Nintendo, and Sony's cases the message board posters are genuine fans, while in Microsoft case it's MS employees posting.

Re:Just Look At The Xbox Fiasco For Why (0, Flamebait)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458117)

Oh, look, it's the Sony troll!

No, seriously -- this guy shows up on any thread where he can talk about how badly the 360 is doing, and spreads whatever this week's SonyFUD is.

roughlydrafted.com??? LOLOLOL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457695)

Why in the hell slashdot approved an article from that Mac fanboy site is beyond me.
Wait, no it isn't, roughlydrafted hates Microsoft and so does slashdot, so slashdot is predisposed to approve submissions of roughlydrafted's crap.

Competition sells iPods (1)

Halmos (464196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457809)

With M$ in the game, the category is officially written in stone. Here to stay. A slightly successful Zune will simply sell more iPods. That's how it works. M$ should massage Zune's marketing and designing for the alternative class. They could own that market. Brown was almost a good idea. It was anti-iPod. But Zune will never over-take iPod. It's immediately seen as an also ran. Had they positioned it as anti-iPod they would have done better.

Re:Competition sells iPods (5, Interesting)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457907)

If it was anybody but Microsoft, maybe. The problem with MSFT positioning itself as an anti-anything is that nobody thinks "I'm a loner. A rebel. And Microsoft is building the product to help me let the world know it."

Anyway, they couldn't done it, IMO. There's a saying attributed to Ford Motor Company that says, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." I used to work at Microsoft, and Microsoft's culture eats everything for breakfast. When they acquired my former employer, the first thing they did was wipe out our culture, and our culture was a lot of what helped us to make a product good enough to make Microsoft want us.

I left after a year and a half and know work for another company that was recently acquired. Our new parent wants to preserve our culture no matter what, so that we keep making the great product that made them want to buy us. What a night and day difference.

zune (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457847)

obviously those who bash zune have never used it. time for bed little timmy!

More Tattoos! (1)

hahiss (696716) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457865)

I think the problem is that there just aren't enough people getting Zune tattoos:

http://www.engadget.com/2007/09/17/what-kind-of-man-gets-three-zune-tattoos/ [engadget.com]

(As an aside: he's also changing his name to "Microsoft Zune"

http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/05/zune-guy-changing-name-to-microsoft-zune/ [engadget.com] )

Ford Tie-in (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457941)

I've been seeing commercials for some voice-activated radio product "powered by microsoft" being offered on Ford vehicles. The commercial says it works with your MP3 player, and I assume that means works exclusively with Zune. Does anyone know if this is the case, and if so, is that MS' strategy to create market penetration?

Re:Ford Tie-in (1)

flanaganid (900938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458089)

Actually, they show an iPod in the ads. Ask Microsoft who the leader is in the PMP market...

Idiotic premise (-1, Troll)

Cafe Alpha (891670) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457985)

How did he decide that consumers want a toy that can barely hold a few CDs at low quality and play movies too small to see instead of a useful music player that can hold a real, large collection of high quality sound? Yeah, Apple has the inflated prices to capture the over-paid shallow socialite market with machines that lack replaceable batteries because replacing batteries instead of buying a new machine every few months is for serfs and proles, eh.

Players with 80 gig drives are for people who like music. Apple's players and phones are for people who think it's a necessary accessory to show they have money to waste. Movies on a 1/2 inch screen, of course, there was always a big demand for that, in a player that can hold all of two whole low quality movies.

Re:Idiotic premise (1)

falzbro (468756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458141)

Players with 80 gig drives are for people who like music

So, no mp3 players were for people who liked music until two months ago [apple.com] ?

One Word:iPod (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458113)

Maybe you could make an argument that the Zune isn't a failure. It wouldn't be based on sales, buzz, or want factor. but it would be an argument.

I'm no Apple Fanboy, I have never even owned an iPod. But the Zune is a joke product. See we make a music player too. See, See.

So does every other chinese factory. I know cuz I own several of those. With three kids, I really appreciate a music player that cost less than a carton of smokes.

the author is biased (1)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458121)

I don't care much either way about the Zune or the iPod, but if you look around the Roughly Drafted site, you'll see that it is very biased towards Apple, and doesn't mind playing a little fast and loose with the truth.

Simple experiment: Take two people... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458123)

Take two people, give one the latest iPod, the other the latest Zune (whatever a "Zune" is....)

Who's the coolest?

creators disempowering unprecedented evile (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21458165)

it's slow going at times. probably because so many of us are unwittingly joined at the hype with the perpetraitors/minions of evile. the lights are coming up all over now. pay attention. it's cost effective, & could help make the future brighter for all of us. don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, so you'll be alert when witnessing the big flash.

there's lots to be done. the planet/population remains in crisis mode.

we're intending (do not underestimate intentions) for the philistine nazi execrable to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

micro management has never worked. it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster.

the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption.

fortunately there's an 'army' of 'angels'(light bringers, for those who are afraid of/confused by heavenly stuff), coming yOUR way

do not be dismayed, it is the way it was meant to be.

the little ones/innocents must/will be protected.

after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit?

for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way), there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available after the big flash occurs.

beware the illusionary smoke&mirrors.con

all is not lost or forgotten.

no need to fret (unless you're associated/joined at the hype with, unprecedented evile), it's all just a part of the creators' wwwildly popular, newclear powered, planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

or, it could be (literally) ground hog day, again? many of US are obviously not interested in how we appear (which is whoreabull) from the other side of the 'lens', or even from across the oceans.

vote with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable.

we still haven't read (here) about the 2/3'rds of you kids who are investigating/pursuing a spiritual/conscience/concious re-awakening, in amongst the 'stuff that matters'? another big surprise?

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
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