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Heavily Discounted Zune Outpacing iPod Sales

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the christmas-miracle dept.

407

firegate writes "Yahoo Tech is reporting that the Microsoft Zune, having been heavily discounted for the holiday season, 'is currently Amazon's top-selling music player, beating out the new iPod Nano and the 80GB iPod on the 'Bestsellers in Electronics' list.' An Associated Press report even indicates that the Zune's newfound popularity has left it in short supply, sold out in many locations. Is this a sign that a true competitor, from Microsoft no less, has finally broken into the Apple-dominated MP3 player market? And will this spell more success for Windows-media based music subscription services like Napster?"

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407 comments

No (2, Insightful)

b0lt (729408) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545455)

It just shows that Microsoft can afford to lose money to gain market share. They can't keep selling it at a loss and hope to eventually make a profit, since Microsoft's online music store isn't as comprehensive as iTunes.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545533)

They can't keep selling it at a loss and hope to eventually make a profit, since Microsoft's online music store isn't as comprehensive as iTunes.

I'm apparently confused. I was under the apparent misconception that both units played MP3s and neither required a music store to operate the device. Silly me -- all this time I thought you could use any MP3 on these devices. Don't know where I got that from.

Aside from your comment about the music store, from what I've seen of the Zune (I don't own either an iPod or a Zune) it works just fine for a media player. Yeah, the color schemes are lame and they certainly don't have the marketing team that Apple does for their units, but money talks.

As long as it plays music and fit in your pocket, cheap people (who happen to outnumber those interested in being hip) will flock to it. In addition, for you to claim that MSFT will somehow not be able to continue this mode of operation for a very long time, you're nuts.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

evel aka matt (123728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545575)

His point wasn't that it sucked, his point was that MS can't sell it at a loss if he thinks that music store sales will make up the missing profit. He proposes that the Zune music store is lacking.

Re:No (2, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545657)

Apple ekes out a small profit on the iTMS, but the RIAA gobbles up most of the sale price. Most other (playsforsure based) online music stores have discovered that there's no profit to be made.

Re:No (5, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545831)

Except they can't legally do that, unless they plan on always selling zunes at a loss, they would be in violation of antitrust legislation if they used an artificially low price to cut into the competition before raising the price again. They could do it and leave the price low, but if Apple isn't doing so well with the ITMS in comparison to the ipod sales, I can't imagine that MS would do well enough to turn a profit like that.

That being said, with the amount of mark up on ipods, I would be surprised if the zune isn't still selling for a profit.

Personally I'm somewhat skeptical as to how long this is going to last, but even if it doesn't last for too long, it gives the zune more exposure and the ipod owners a sense that maybe ipods really are as over priced as people say.

The main point of this is to get zunes sold so that they can get a proper word of mouth campaign going. Contrary to popular belief the zunes aren't bad, while unpopular, the only person I know that owns one was quite happy with it last time I saw her. After talking to her I probably would have bought one, had I been in the market for a new mp3 player.

Re:No (5, Funny)

OECD (639690) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545589)

Aside from your comment about the music store, from what I've seen of the Zune (I don't own either an iPod or a Zune) it works just fine for a media player. Yeah, the color schemes are lame and they certainly don't have the marketing team that Apple does for their units, but money talks.

I have this sneaking suspicion that there will be a lot of forced smiles and strained "Thanks, Mom"s come Christmas morning.

Followed by a spike in iPod sales the following week.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545803)

You beat me to it. This is likely just a number of parents going "MP3 Music player... Hrm, this one is cheaper and they must all be the same" and the buy it. Lets see the number of returns and then we'll talk about breaking Apple's Market dominance.

Re:No (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545991)

As long as it plays music and fit in your pocket, cheap people (who happen to outnumber those interested in being hip) will flock to it.

Orly?

How do you account for this product's relative failure? [creative.com]

I bought one a year or two ago. I love it. It's the size of my thumb, runs on a single AAA battery for days, plays mp3s and radio, has a mic so I can record whatever, stores 1 GB of songs (enough for a good jog, which is what I primarily use it for) and I can use it like a flash thumb drive with a simple 8" cable.

It cost me $75 when a 1 GB Nano was costing $250. Oh, and my wife has a Nano. It sucks. The UI for itunes is counter-intuitive and crash-prone on Windows. Once you get the songs onto it, it does a good job of shuffling and managing, but it doesn't play the radio, and you can't record anything at all with it.

For 4x the money. WTF?

You HAVE to be kidding (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545609)

They could give it away for free to everybody who runs windows and it would not effect their bottom line. In fact, they could give one to everybody (I would guess that they would not give it to google or Linux users). At that point, how many music companies would NOT sell through MS?

Re:You HAVE to be kidding (1)

b0lt (729408) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545665)

Yes, but that wouldn't make any money. It'd also probably be violating anti-trust legislation, since they would be abusing their operating system monopoly to crush Apple.

Re:No (1, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545879)

But I hate iTunes. And so does like all of Europe and actually most of the US lol. It's too locked down and "BUY SOMETHING OR ELSE!" you know what I mean. It's like the aol homepage in music download program form.
Now I dunno anything about the Zune really so I dunno if it does this or not but the only MP3 player that's going to super dominate every other one is one where:
you plug it in and it shows up in My Computer as a drive and you drop MP3s on it or any other file.
It doesn't have any major problems or defects
it's high capacity
It's cheap
And if it could play games, watch out! If Creative or Sandisk made a player that fit all those characteristics, they'd blow the locked down iPod and Zune and iTunes and Napster and all them away.

Re:No (4, Informative)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21546011)

...Microsoft's online music store isn't as comprehensive as iTunes.

Not only that, but putting the music on the zune isn't as easy a task as setting up iTunes. I have a first-gen zune (brown, no less) and it took me over an hour to get the software installed and get ready to use the zune. Also, I got the zune second-hand and once I set up my software, I wasn't able to play any of the music that was left on it. It kept saying that I didn't have permission. When I asked the guy who I got it from about that, he said that they were mp3'd using the zune's software, so he didn't know why that was the case... they shouldn't have been DRM'd.

I don't know if the new zunes fixed that or if the new zunes have a better interface on the device itself (I do know they haven't really gotten the desktop application any simpler. it's still a pain to use). The old zune is a pain in the arse to navigate and the only thing I really feel it has going for it is the larger screen, although I haven't put any video on it, yet.

so, has anyone used one of the new zunes, yet? has MS improved the interface? The physical box definitely is much nicer looking than the original model and, from a purely superficial standpoint looks like it can compete with the ipods... at least with the general consumer population.

story is bull (5, Informative)

friesandgravy (1086677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545459)

story is complete bull. go check amazon, as of today, 1:30 EST, apple mp3 players are at places 1,2,4,5,6,7,8. the zune is number 9. (apple continues at places 11, 12, 13, 18 ...) http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/electronics/172630/ref=pd_ts_e_nav [amazon.com]

Re:story is bull (0, Redundant)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545555)

mod up parent, story seems bunkum.

Re:story is bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545893)

In the story's defense, the Zune was at the #1 position a week or two ago. No doubt the rankings changed once holiday shopping started ramping up.

If I recall, the list was something like this:

  1. Zune
  2. Some kind of iPod
  3. Some other kind of iPod
  4. Yet another kind of iPod
  5. etc...

Re:story is bull (1, Informative)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545621)

Article reads like a piece of Micro$oft marketing after actually looking at Amazon's numbers. Looks like they are willing to try anything, even outright lying, to get their shiny turd to sell. Sure, Amazon might have shown the Zune at no1, but was that during a stats update before the iPod sales were tallied? Looks like M$ once again trying to create hype: "Oh look! Its selling at No1 and stores are selling out! Better go get one now before you wont be able to get your nephew's xmass gift!!".

The supporting links to it being in short supply in TFA are even broken, leading me to think that stores ordered maybe 2 or 3 knowing how poorly they sell, and once those were gone, have just been ordering per request.

Tm

Re:story is bull (1)

Aetuneo (1130295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545955)

I hate to defend Microsoft, but Amazon is not the only place people buy stuff from. It's like going to a single bookstore, asking for their sales figures, and deciding which books are best-sellers based on only that. While it might be good for finding out what the people who go to that bookstore like to read, it's not going to tell you about the entire country.

Re:story is bull (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545969)

It was at #1 a couple of days ago, and no wonder! It was priced so low that it couldn't have been above cost. Hell, I'm an iPod fan but I would have gotten that brown stinker if I was in the market for a music player.

Note that the full-price second generation Zune is way down at #22... probably because it is competing directly with the iPod 80GB, which is #8.

Right after Christmas might be a good time to pick up a solid-state Zune... they are currently coming in at #58 (compared to Apple's #3 Nano). I'm assuming that a similar fire sale will happen for that model.

Don't under-estimate the Zune... it's not a bad little gadget, though I'm not really sure what its compelling feature is. The iPod is so ubiquitous that even the alarm clock in the hotel that I stayed in had an iPod dock on the alarm clock... cars are equipped with iPod docks, I even saw a fireplace with an iPod dock. Why stray from such a big aftermarket? That, and I happen to prefer iTunes as a music organizer.

Re:story is bull (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21546033)

story is complete bull. go check amazon, as of today, 1:30 EST, apple mp3 players are at places 1,2,4,5,6,7,8. the zune is number 9. (apple continues at places 11, 12, 13, 18 ...) http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/electronics/172630/ref=pd_ts_e_nav [amazon.com]
Indeed, complete bull. I immediately went to the list of top MP3 players on Amazon, just like you, and it is just as you said - Apple's iPod dominates the chart taking 8 out of the top ten; the first Zune is at #9, doing more poorly than even the SanDisk Sansa at #3. The iPod Touch seems to be doing very well at #5 and #6, contradicting TFA. This is basically the same picture I've seen every other time I checked Amazon's rankings, with minor changes.

The issue is probably the heading on Amazon's page, "Updated hourly." Perhaps if you wait long enough, you will see a fluke hour in which the Zune outsells the iPod. Now, surely the Yahoo tech reporter knew this was an unrepresentative oddity? If so, then this is deception; if not, then this is incompetence.

Minute to minute... (4, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545465)

I suppose it depends on when you look at the numbers as Amazon gives discrete periods of time when items are selling vs. others. For instance, looking at it now, the Zune is #8, well behind 7 flavors of iPods...

Re:Minute to minute... (1)

dreadfire (781564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545529)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/electronics/172630/ref=pd_ts_e_nav [amazon.com]
If you check that link, the zune is number 9. ... I guess some time during the week the zune sold a few more. I hate spin.

Re:Minute to minute... (1)

hcmtnbiker (925661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545801)

Well from my quick check Apple isnt even close to dominating the flash MP3 players on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/electronics/15752081/ref=pd_ts_e_nav [amazon.com]

And M$ seems to be doing very well in the HDD based MP3 players on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/electronics/15752041/ref=pd_ts_e_nav [amazon.com]

Re:Minute to minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545867)

Are you seriously that fucking stupid? Look at the first list again. Now tell me you have absolute confidence that Amazon gets 100% of their categorization right. For fuck's sake, use your brain.

Re:Minute to minute... (2, Informative)

drcagn (715012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545965)

Those lists are wrong. Neither list even contains the current generations of iPods.

The hard drive list has hardware discontinued years ago as #17.

Re:Minute to minute... (1)

edjs (1043612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21546063)

Okay, the Amazon lists make no sense. If you look at the overall top mp3 sellers (Amazon's most popular items in MP3 Players [amazon.com] ), the current generation Nano is #1 and #2, and a SanDisk Sansa M240 at #3, all flash. Presumably, as top sellers of the overall mp3 category, they should be top sellers when you drill down to the more specific category they're in. But not a single current Nano in the flash drive list top 25, nor in the portable digital media players list. And that Sansa M240 is also missing from the flash list.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Re:Minute to minute... (1)

Tom90deg (1190691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21546069)

Come come now. There's nothing worse than someone who wishes to be taken seriously, but uses childish name calling in the same argument. "M$"? If your facts are good, as they seem to be, there's not need to resort to such things.

Re:Minute to minute... (5, Funny)

Scoth (879800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545875)

From the iPod Touch 16GB:

List Price: $399.00
Price: $398.99
You Save: $0.01

Wow! Thanks Amazon!

Re:Minute to minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545561)

I imagine iPod is outselling Zune at Apple.com as well...Isn't that where most people buy iPods?

Re:Minute to minute... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545691)

You can buy iPods (and iPod accessories) almost everywhere. This week's grocery store flyer is advertising an iPod-dockable radio. Wal*Mart has tv ads that only mention the iPod. (That made me wonder if they've jumped the shark.)

mp3 to go (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545479)

All I really want for Christmas is an MP3 setup where several tech podcasts per day get downloaded automatically onto an MP3 player, and I carry it to my mini-van and listen to geek stuff on my hour-plus commute every day instead of mindless music.

being too lazy to look into it, I have remained MP3-playerless to date (even though our household has at least 6). Who wants to set this up for me. Pay ya.

Re:mp3 to go (1)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545507)

All I really want for Christmas is an MP3 setup where several tech podcasts per day get downloaded automatically onto an MP3 player, and I carry it to my mini-van and listen to geek stuff on my hour-plus commute every day instead of mindless music.

It seems like you might want one of these. I believe the new zunes have a wireless dock that grabs podcast subscriptions from your pc while it charges. not sure if the new ipod touch does that, but i'd be surprised if it didn't.

Re:mp3 to go (3, Informative)

antibryce (124264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545559)

iTunes/iPods have done this for a long long time. You can even subscribe to video podcasts if you have an ipod capable of playing it.

Will it still sell when the price goes back up? (5, Insightful)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545489)

Will Microsoft be able to sell it through another outlet? What will be done with all the Generation One Zunes still on shelves? What percentage of these Gen 2 Zunes are being purchased by hapless parents who will see them returned by ungrateful children?

For the answer to this and many more questions, wait for December 26!

Suddenly, a blog is old media (5, Informative)

GarfBond (565331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545491)

Why listen to a blog pontificating on something they know nothing about when you can go straight to the source? http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/electronics/172630/ref=pd_ts_e_nav [amazon.com] .

As of MY press time, Zune 80 is #9. iPods occupy spots 1,2, and 4-8. #3 is a Sansa of some variety, #9 is a Zune, and #10 is another Sansa. 11-14 are different nano varieties, and all the way at #15 is a Zune spot.

Feel free to come up with your own crackpot theory as to why this is. My favorite is the Zune isn't popular unless it's dirt cheap.

Re:Suddenly, a blog is old media (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545793)

It's worth reiterating one point you make: There are tons of different versions of the iPod on the list. Specifically, each and every combination of colors and flash/disk and model is on there somewhere. As far as I know there are far more versions of iPod's than there are of Zune's. So even if a single Zune model every now and again shoots to the top, it means nothing. Unless there are suddenly 10+ different Zune versions overtaking the various iPod models on an ongoing basis, Apple still has the upper hand.

Re:Suddenly, a blog is old media (1)

wuputah (1068216) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545797)

And the 80 GB iPod is even $4 cheaper. "Heavily discounted for the Holiday season" ... just like the iPod ?

It gets even better, check the direct competition (0)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545861)

At number 4 is the 80 gb iPod classic, decidely old tech that is only 4 dollars cheaper then the zune but, well also a LOT older.

So the Zune 2.0 can't even beat an iPod that is now several years old and delivers only the most basic music player, no wi-fi, no video no nothing and STILL customers like it better.

That gotta hurt.

Re:It gets even better, check the direct competiti (1)

drcagn (715012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545907)

What are you talking about? Of course the iPod classic can play video. It has been able to since 2005.

PROTIP: (5, Funny)

Hobbs0 (1055434) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545495)

Don't post articles on what is or isn't on amazons bestseller list. Because as soon as you do this, amazon will prove you wrong.

Success for Windows-media Based Subscriptions? (4, Insightful)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545499)

How would this spell success for Windows-media based subscription services, since the Zune doesn't support PlaysForSure?

Re:Success for Windows-media Based Subscriptions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545903)

PlaysForWhat ???

predatory pricing (3, Insightful)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545505)

I think that sort of thing is called "predatory pricing": pricing something below cost in order to drive a competitor out of business. It's frowned upon in a free market, in particular when a company uses one monopoly to support predatory pricing in a different market.

Of course, given that Apple itself dominates the MP3 player market so much, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry...

Re:predatory pricing (1)

PolarBearFire (1176791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545761)

I don't think it's Microsoft itself setting the prices, the retailers are. Unlike Microsoft, Apple is pretty anal about the iPod prices at the retail level. Don't know if Microsoft is selling the Zune at a loss to retailer tho, you may have a point. But really, Zune is cheaper than the iPod but I gotta believe somone is making money off it.

Re:predatory pricing (2, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545813)

Microsoft was always selling them at a loss to retailers. Now they're selling them at a huge loss to make way for the new versions.

Woot had them for $79 the other day...

Oh, and I assure you that the retailers are making money off it... Or the Zune wouldn't even be on the shelf.

Re:predatory pricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545851)

keep in mind that the zune v2 came out recently.

Assume you're a retailer. You bought a shipment of zunes (v1) and didn't sell all (or any) of them. Now the the zune v2, with better features, lower price, whatever is released.

Your only option is to drop the price of the zune v1 (possibly to the point of taking a loss). If you do sell it below cost, that sucks, but it's effectively a tax credit, and you've already spent the money so any income is better than none.

Competiton is good (2, Interesting)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545511)

My key question is whether they're selling them for less than they cost to make. If so, then it's probably a dumping case waiting to happen.

In many ways I welcome the competition. Although Apple seem to have a halo on Slashdot, they are every bit as nasty as Microsoft in this department. Apple want to lock you in to the Fairplay every bit as much as Microsoft wants to lock you in to Windows Media DRM.

On a totally off topic point. Can you remove the flash ads Rob? They're fucking irritating and really cheapen the site. Even if I gave a shit about what they're peddling, you should know that many on Slashdot aren't going to click those things on principle. Get the marketing diarrhoea off the site please.

Re:Competiton is good (2, Insightful)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545613)

Apple wants to lock you into FairPlay? Then how does their move to iTunes Plus DRM-free tracks (with EMI, as well as being offered with a number of indie labels now) jibe with that? Apple has extended DRM-free track offerings to the other labels as well, but they haven't bought into it yet (because they want to try and build up competitors like Amazon.com's DRM-free MP3 store). But seriously, what is your evidence that Apple WANTS to continue locking people in via FairPlay? I can't see anything that indicates that.

Re:Competiton is good (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545707)

The sword cuts both ways my friend, Microsoft likewise offers DRM free mp3 tracks though the zune market place...

Re:Competiton is good (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545909)

Yea, now that it's "cool".

MS plan has always been to center all media around windows, everything they do is to further that goal. The only reason they are selling DRM-less tracks is they have to in order to have any chance whatsoever of competing.

If the situation were turned around with MS at the top of the market, they would be closing things even further like always.

Re:Competiton is good (2, Insightful)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545889)

Although Apple seem to have a halo on Slashdot, they are every bit as nasty as Microsoft in this department. Apple want to lock you in to the Fairplay every bit as much as Microsoft wants to lock you in to Windows Media DRM.

ORLY? "Convincing [the big music companies] to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly." http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/ [apple.com]

The Zune-for-Christmas Death Plot (5, Funny)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545523)

Granddaughter: I want an iPod for Christmas!
Grandmother: Okay, honey!

Later that day, grandmother has a sudden attack of sticker shock at the price of the iPod and asks if there's something "like it" for cheaper. The clerk, with a "someone's going to be disappointed this Christmas" smirk on his face, hands her a heavily discounted Zune. The grandmother, not knowing any better, purchases said Zune.

Come Christmas morning, the granddaughter rushes to the Christmas tree to find the box containing her brand new iPod. Upon ripping off the wrapping paper, she realizes... she got a Zune.

At this point, she has two choices: demand a return for an iPod (usually out the question, since insulting grandmother may cut off any future birthday cash) or she'll feign excitement (a skill nearly all women are born with) and start secretly plotting to kill her grandmother.

Moral of the story: if you're a grandparent and you don't want to die at the hands of your sweet, loving granddaughter... don't buy a Zune!

Re:The Zune-for-Christmas Death Plot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545583)

Not just any Zune..... but a BROWN Zune.

Re:The Zune-for-Christmas Death Plot (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545743)

she got a Zune.

...which does everything the ipod does anyway, so they all lived happily ever after.

Re:The Zune-for-Christmas Death Plot (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545895)

Only if you've never had an iPod and therefore avoided the iTunes Music Store. The Zune does not, afaik, play apple-drm'd music. If you're replacing an iPod, and you did use the music store, then the Zune is not as useful to you. Though I'm not sure this is actually an argument in favor of purchasing an additional iPod...

Re:The Zune-for-Christmas Death Plot (1)

fuo (941897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545825)

sounds like my childhood.

i ask for transformers

i get go-bots :(

Re:The Zune-for-Christmas Death Plot (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545845)

My dad gave me neon tube transformer. So much better. Yeah, and mom gave me socks.

I am not a Mathematician (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545545)

But 1 type of zune vs. Ipod classic, Ipod nano, Ipod touch, Ipod Shuffle etc. Yeh, zune outpaces them individually (which is very impressive actually) but come on! The title is wrong, Zune outpaces ipod nano, Zune outpaces Ipod Classic, etc. But zune outpaces Ipod? No

Conspiracy Theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545551)

The source indicates that the Zune is #1 on Amazon; granted, Amazon is a major retailer, but that does not indicate total sales. Perhaps this is part of a clever strategy by Amazon and Microsoft to take on Apple - see http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3i6efb69eb2243cb842be35f0eab40082d [billboard.biz] for an article regarding Amazon and Pepsi giving away free music. Putting forth the appearance that Apple is slipping is clever marketing indeed. Manipulating the data? Who knows!

Slash-vertisement (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545579)

Was this story written by Microsoft's PR department?

See above comments where this isn't even true.

With quality posts like this, I expect to hear that Slashdot fired Jeff Gerstmann any time now.

Who buys iPods on Amazon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545585)

I have the feeling if you took those sold directly through the Apple site into account this would be an entirely different story.

Um, duh? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545983)

I sincerely doubt that you can buy Zunes through the Apple site. Obviously there, the Zune's numbers will look poor. Similarly at Microsoft's site, Zune sales outstrip iPod sales by a factor of billion to zero.

Using "Rate of Growth" is a misleading statistic (4, Informative)

popo (107611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545593)

"Rate of Growth" is one of the most commonly "spun" statistics.

For example: If I sell 1 widget last month, and then I sell 10 widgets this month I can make the claim that I have a 1000% month-over-month growth rate. Not only that, I have a "faster rate of growth" than every other major widget manufacturer/retailer.

Obviously, rate of growth is clearly only a meaningful statistic when presented alongside comparative volumes.

Re:Using "Rate of Growth" is a misleading statisti (1)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 6 years ago | (#21546061)

True, but is it relevant here? The first article doesn't mention it that I can find, the second one has evidently been taken down.

Yahoo Tech? (1)

zentec (204030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545619)

Do you know how you can tell if the Zune is for real? It's when you see Wal-Mart running ads with a MILF saying that she didn't know that Wal-Mart sold Zunes and it's all her daughter wanted for Christmas. So much so that she carries it everywhere she goes, even when she brushes her teeth. Until that time, it's still an also-ran.

I don't want to turn this into an Apple/Microsoft flame war (I'll leave that to someone else), but let's call this what it is. *Anything* heavily discounted online is going to sell well. And for those who don't need an Apple product, don't like Apple or simply see the value in a 30 gig MP3 player for $150, this will create buzz and demand.

"Something tells me" that Microsoft is engineering the buzz from behind the curtain while again subsidizing the hardware cost in a desperate attempt at market share. But I'm glad, because maybe, finally, enough Zunes will be in the marketplace for a genuine acid test of the music subscription model.

They're using the X Box sales model for the Zune (3, Insightful)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545629)

Unfortunately for them, there is no way to recoup money on the loss leader Zune as there is on the X Box (i.e. games sales and subscription play services).

This isn't the first time though, that Microsoft has gone with a one-size-fits-all strategy.

It won't be the last either.

No way! Get outta town! (2, Insightful)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545631)

People will buy ghetto versions of desirable objects if they become sufficiently cheap? My Coby CD [amazon.com] player and I are shocked, shocked.

Good riddance by M$ (0, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545633)

the Microsoft Zune, having been heavily discounted for the holiday season, 'is currently Amazon's top-selling music player, beating out the new iPod Nano and the 80GB iPod on the 'Bestsellers in Electronics' list.'

My headline says it all. This is good riddance on Microsoft's part. I would probably do the same if I were in Microsoft's shoes. Now, let's wait for those who loath every software giant's move to cry foul. These are folks who think that every Apple product should always win every contest. I for one, will not be surprised if they do cry foul.

Old Saying (5, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545637)

There's an old salesman's saying:

It takes no particular talent to sell a dollar for fifty cents.

Re:Old Saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545891)

Along similar lines: if a foreign company did this, our Government would call it "dumping", and seek negotiations or tariffs; domestically, it's just (expensive) "marketing".

Wishful thinking... (1)

bidule (173941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545647)


A flashback from the past [slashdot.org] .

Please come back when there's some statistical significance to the fact. And by that I mean staying in the top 5 for a few days.

This whole story is flamebait. Journalistic integrity vs sensational headlines.

Zune would sell even better... (1)

Undead Ed (1068120) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545661)

if it was free! And Microsoft can afford to give it away funded by the proceeds of it's aggressive predatory monopoly. That and Microsoft's massive promotional budget assures lots of Zunes sitting under the tree or in hanging stockings this Christmas. I am just wondering how many will be exchanged come Dec 26th. The NEW Zune is old technology compared to Apples iPod - typical for Microsoft. Ed

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545677)

Zune buys you!!!

the value of an mp3 player (1)

philmack (796529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545733)

Ipods and Zunes have nearly indistinguishable technical features, both are platform locked, and both have restrictive DRM. The MSRP/fixed prices for any given feature set are the same.
The going rate of a zune 1 has been around $100. The comparable ipod when it turned up occasionally in Apple's refurb store was still around $200. Right now it is available, for $160.
It seems completely reasonable to deduce that there is a large part of the population is not willing to pay $250 for an mp3 player, but is willing to pay $100 for it. And also for how fast the Apple refurb store sell out, there is another portion of the population that wants an ipod, but is willing to wait until they can get at least a modest percent off the cost.
This is just an example of "walking the price curve" and whether Microsoft intended to or not, they found a large market at that price point.
~Phil

Re:the value of an mp3 player (1)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545881)

Someone who posts to Slashdot should know better:
  • The iPod and iTunes do not force restrictive DRM. I have an iPod full of MP3s, and I can
  • copy said MP3s off the iPod very, very easily. They're not tagged, tracked or locked. At all.

There are at least four decent iPod management applications for systems able to run UNIX-a-like software. As long as your hardware and OS can see USB mass storage devices and can run said software, you can freely load non-DRM tracks to and from an iPod.

Most songs available for purchase on Apple's Music store are DRM-encumbered and can only be loaded on an iPod via iTunes on Windows or Macintosh systems. This doesn't mean you can't, oh, buy a CD, rip it, and load it on your iPod. iTunes (unlike, say, Windows Media) does not rights-manage music not bought at the iTMS. What the iPod does have is a slightly obfuscated method of loading songs and the ability to play protected AACs. It's not--by far--a tarpit of DRM like Sony's older ATRAC Walkman or Microsoft's Zune.

It's not a flat-file-system based Ogg player, if that's what you want. It does play patent-restricted formats, but in this way it's no more evil than a SanDisk is.

No (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545753)

No on the first, it's a sign that the Zune is competitive when massively and temporarily discounted but not at its normal pricing.

And no on the second, because the Zune store is the only service that works with the Zune.

Zune sold at a loss?? (1)

destrowolffe (1089243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545759)

I don't have a link, so I'll leave that to someone else, but last I checked an MP3 player didn't cost $250 dollars to make. That cost is simply what the market will bear, in large part thanks to HUGE advertising budgets. Apple makes a hefty profit off of the iPod and to think that Microsoft is losing money on a $150 Zune is crazy!

However, even if someone proves me wrong about the costs, Microsoft could give the damn things away and still not hurt their bottom line.

Re:Zune sold at a loss?? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545973)

Apple's sells iPods (and everything else) direct to the consumer and enforces their "suggested" pricing on 3rd party retailers. Typically, the wholesale cost is 60% of retail. I've heard Apple's wholesale pricing is significantly closer to retail pricing. So, Apple would have a larger profit margin than MS (they rely on 3rd party reatailers for all sales, no?). MS may have heavily discounted zunes to retailers in an effort to get them in the store -- and they've certainly thrown money around for fullpage displays in best buy's ads.

This article is false (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545771)

It states that the brown 30GB zune is on sale for $134, and that it is at the top of the amazon list. However on amazon's site, it is currently 14th on the list of top sellers and is priced at $189.

The best selling zune is the 80GB for $248.99 it is in 9th place, behind almost every ipod model available. Of the top 10 sellers 7 are ipods, and 9 and 10 are 2 of the non-ipod players. that means 7 of the top 8 are ipods.

I don't know how you can call this "real competition" or even "a" competition.

Black Friday. (3, Funny)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545805)

Most retailers will comp competitors ads. We managed to get rid of our stock of brown zunes (all we had left of the gen 1s) last friday because toys R us had them (specifically the turd brown one) advertised for $79. Hanvt sold any other zunes since then that i know of. Plenty of nanos and 80gb classics tho. The microsoft rep was in the other day to check our displays, clean the 360 display or something, i almost laughed in his face. Woman came up and asked if we had any Wiis, i told her no, we got our shipment of 10 for the week earlier that day and they had sold out in less than 2 hours. He overhears my side of the conversation and is like "What sold out? zunes?".

Re:Black Friday. (1)

Basehart (633304) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545923)

I love this kind of real-world stuff (provided it's true of course). It cuts through all the bullshit we get fed every day by PR hacks and those who pump it down the shit pipes.

Zune : Republican :: iPod : Democrat (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545821)

A lot of losers vote Republican too. It doesn't mean anything other than confirm that people are stupider than you could ever imagine. I've only ever seen one person in my life with a Zune in the wild and it was like seeing a "Kick Me Hard" sign on his back. What a chump.

Wifi (1)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545859)

I know Zune music players are ugly, big and made by Microsoft (which irks people) but it has wifi, I thought it would sell well because of that one feature. Sharing music over wifi with other Zune owners didn't happen though (restricted), maybe if Linux could be installed on it sharing over wifi in public may take off.

Amazon Sales Rank == tea leaves (5, Insightful)

bbzzdd (769894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545865)

Amazon Sales Rank in no way represents reality. Just last week many members the HD-DVD rah-rah camp prematurely declared victory for software sales based on Amazon rankings showing HD-DVD titles outselling Blu-Ray by a large margin. In reality Nielsen VideoScan came back to show Blu-Ray taking the week 73:27.

For the entire month of July the PS3 was in the top three of the Video Game category at Amazon, seemingly outselling even the Wii most of the month. The Xbox 360 was barely in the top 20 for the month. When the smoke cleared the Wii outsold the PS3 by over 300% and the 360 beat it by 11k units.

Amazon Sales Rank is useless for comparing product sales.

Breaking News! (1)

afish40 (774995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545871)

Breaking news! The heavily-discounted Zune is currently the #9 best-selling MP3 player on Amazon [amazon.com] , behind only the 4GB iPod nano (silver), 8GB iPod nano (black), SanDisk Sansa M240 1GB (silver), 80GB iPod classic (black), 16GB iPod touch, 8GB iPod touch, iPod shuffle (purple) and iPod shuffle (silver)! Yes, Microsoft is indeed a true competitor in the MP3 player market. Or maybe it shouldn't be considered article-worthy to talk about a top-ten chart that fluctuates so wildly. Based on what I'm seeing here, if the friggin' shuffle is outselling the Zune, things aren't looking too good for Microsoft. I'm sure the reality is that they're probably doing perfectly fine, but there's no need to sensationalize things like this.

Itune Wins: WMP does not have a save position!!!! (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545943)

Itunes still wins because the damn Windows Media Player does not have a save position option for audio files! This makes listening to audio books, podcasts, and radio shows next to impossible.

Please think and review the data before posting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21545945)

If you look at the Amazon top selling list, you will see that Yes MSFT Zune is up there. However, if you look at the top 10 (or even 25) you will see that the Apple players hold MANY more positions than Zune does. If you take a even distribution of units and assign them to the top 25 in descending order and multiply the sale price per unit by the derived number of units sold, this will show you that by REVENUE Apple is the clear winner.

In case you got lost above, Apple holds more spots on the top 25 list and therefore is making more revenue. Ultimately this means that it will take quite some time and a multiplicity of MSFT offerings to really impact Apple's market share.

my 2 pennies

I own an original Zune (0, Flamebait)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21545975)

The first iteration of the Zune hardware wasn't as bad as the press said it was. Nobody forced you to buy brown. Note: the computer press is worse than the game review press. They're ignorant and like to jump on bandwagons. See what Udolpho says about them on Windows Fucking Vista [udolpho.com] .

The old Zune software was bad. In my opinion, it was iTunes-for-Windows level bad. The new Zune software is much nicer than the old Zune software or iTunes. (iTunes is rotten software, too, smearing the desktop with its links every time it updates itself, and trying to get you to install other products like Safari and Quicktime with each security patch.)

The new Zune software is really wonderful. It's one of the best pieces of software I've seen in some time. Microsoft's Allchin has better magic than Steve Jobs, any day. Further the Zune's killer feature is its subscription service, which doesn't get nearly enough play. Do you hear about any of this from the computer press? No, because they suck. See above.

The Zune players themselves are very good and priced quite competitively compared to ipods. The video screens are very nice for watching videos. Unless you are a semi-serious computer user, however, you will have trouble converting your own videos to make them playable. (I recommend the free Encode360 software.) Also, the Zunes are not bright and shiny. They're the sort of device a straight male doesn't mind carrying around.

Sure, cheap price will lure a few people in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21546013)

The cheap price of the Zune may lure a few people in, but those unlucky few will soon be badmouthing the player to everyone that they know. Anyone who has ever tried to use a Microsoft-based media solution will know what I'm talking about.

Microsoft selling at a loss (5, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21546041)

I wonder how many billions Microsoft plans to lose on this turkey? Billions lost over the life span of WindowsCE has purchased them a strong hold of the PDA market but is giving them problems in the SmartPhone market with Nokia's Symbian and Linux stalling that effort.

Anyways, it isn't a surprise that Microsoft is dumping billions into this product and suckers are picking it up. It's not like they don't have the cash to dump on this and we all know there are millions of suckers willing to pick up a Microsoft product because it's cheap.

The only thing of interest here is how many billions Microsoft is willing to lose to gain market share against Apple. They've crossed over the $10 billion mark to kill Palm about 4 years ago. But it's a laugh when the press talks about WinCE, PocketPC, Windows Moble, etc being a good product line for Microsoft. So if you're a MSFT investor, Zune will be a massive loser too. IMO.

LoB

Not what I see (1)

nroose (738762) | more than 6 years ago | (#21546077)

I just went to Amazon, clicked on top Electronics sellers (http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/electronics/ref=sv_etk_ce_av__1/104-1309862-5032737), and the first Zune I see is at 24, with 7 different iPod models above it.

Perhaps MS did some kind of Dianetics-esque fake buying to get on the list temporarily and then had one of their friendly journos do a piece on it.
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