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Pretty in Pink?
Microsoft's Zune gets off to a promising start

Microsoft's Zune portable audio player may not exactly be setting the sales charts ablaze, but it did make a respectable showing during its first few weeks on the market. According to market research firm NPD Group, the Zune managed to capture second place in the digital audio player market in its first four days of availability.

For its first week, the Zune managed to grab 9% of the market according to NPD. "Considering it is a new brand, it's a very good first-week showing," said Ross Rubin of NPD Group. Rubin went on to say "For a new brand that received limited to mixed reviews, and which is incompatible with the leading music store (Apple's iTunes,) as well as other music stores, it was a good launch."

It's a strong showing indeed by Microsoft, but only time will tell if the Zune has the stamina to make in further inroads on Apple's dominate iPod range. Apple's line of portable audio players which consist of the iPod, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle captured a whopping 63% for the same week period according to NPD.

As far as sales are concerned, Apple's cheaper flash-based Nano and Shuffle take the bulk of iPod sales. The Nano and Shuffle have base MSRPs of $149 and $79 respectively compared to $249 for the hard drive-based Zune.

Microsoft is going to need to expand its Zune lineup to include cheaper flash-based player if it is going to have any chance of competing toe-to-toe with the iPod. Creative and SanDisk both have flash-based offerings that are well below the $100 threshold and Microsoft will eventually have to follow suit.

On a side note, when Microsoft launched its Zune on November 14, it also dumped 100 pink Zunes onto the market which surprised some unsuspecting buyers when they opened their packages. Not surprisingly some hit eBay with one selling for over $700.

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Cheaper Nano and Shuffle?
By HaZaRd2K6 on 11/30/06, Rating: 0
RE: Cheaper Nano and Shuffle?
By Brandon Hill on 11/30/2006 4:18:27 PM , Rating: 3
It plain terms, most consumers don't look at it from a GB/dollar perspective. That simply buy what they can afford or what's in their given budget for an item.

It customers cared about the GB/dollar ratio, the hard-drive based players would be the top sellers IMHO.

RE: Cheaper Nano and Shuffle?
By rushfan2006 on 11/30/2006 4:45:58 PM , Rating: 3
Brandon stole my thunder on this post....

Not to sound mean or whatever -- but those "price per" analysts more often then not are just marketing pitches more than anything useful to the actually buying public. In essense -- to the customer they are pointless.

Why? Two reasons...1) Because simply stated if things were priced solely and strictly on a "per" this case portable music players we'll use the "per gb" formula...say the "going industry rate" for 1 gb is $1.....obviously the player with the smaller storage space would always be cheaper and the player with more would cost more. What I'm saying is the poster above merely divided the retail cost of the player by the amount of storage it has. If the world worked on strictly a "per" pricing model -- the player wouldn't cost what it costs today and the amount of price variance between the two models would be greater.

But the MAIN reason ....2) When I take the item to the cashier I pay the price that's marked on the why the heck do I care what is cheaper "per gigabyte"...its not cheaper to my wallet.

RE: Cheaper Nano and Shuffle?
By mindless1 on 11/30/2006 5:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think once you get past (choose) whether it be hard drive or flash based, consumers do still consider GB/$, particularly with the flash based players which have evolved beyond trying to be a clone of a thumbdrive.

RE: Cheaper Nano and Shuffle?
By carl0ski on 11/30/2006 6:55:33 PM , Rating: 2
i fail to believe people purchasing Ipods believe a 80GB Ipod
is cheaper than an 8GB Nano

When choosing between
Ipod, Ipod Nano and shuffle
They aren't just paying for the disk capacity they are paying for packaging , size, style and convenience.

If however you decided i want Ipod nano
you fall back to $/GB rating
is it worth paying for the 8GB model over the 4GB?

RE: Cheaper Nano and Shuffle?
By TheBaker on 11/30/2006 9:44:06 PM , Rating: 3
Was this supposed to be some sort of poetry?

RE: Cheaper Nano and Shuffle?
By MobileZone on 11/30/2006 9:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
I got it.

RE: Cheaper Nano and Shuffle?
By JNo on 12/1/2006 3:29:41 AM , Rating: 3
You mean... if you buy more of something... the unit price becomes cheaper?!?! OMFG!!!! Adam Smith watch out!!!!

Zune 360
By Pirks on 11/30/2006 4:20:21 PM , Rating: 1
It reminds me the original Xbox that wasn't showing any promise back then. I hope Apple eventually follows Sony off the cliff here as it has happened with Playstation. Look at the progress in capturing market from Xbox to Xbox 360 and now Apple (I hope) is about to get a decent competitor at last. Let's drink to Zune 360 Da Real iDope Killa in a next couple of years ;) Original Zune is just a rehearsal, like the original Xbox.

RE: Zune 360
By Wightout on 11/30/2006 11:48:58 PM , Rating: 2

Its funny to see just how anti Apple you are. For curiosity's sake what did they do to you?

My philosophy is if you do not like a product (hopefully for actual reasons outside of a grudge) then don't buy it.

My Ipod is great, it plays music when I ask for it to do so...

Sony's problem was promising way too much and then failing to fully deliver.

Just a thought

RE: Zune 360
By apollo7 on 12/1/2006 12:58:14 AM , Rating: 3
Although his post was partially biased, I believe he brought about a very good point. Microsoft threw their very first audio player on the market, and were able to take the 2 spot in 4 days? Thats not bad. I bet MS is letting out a breath of relief right now. They've knocked out all but the nemesis (ipod) already.

Now they can start looking ahead to their next player. I'm assuming a flash-based player will be making its way, which could very well grab a few more points from apple. At this point, any share of the market that Microsoft takes from apple is a victory for MS. Whether its 5% to 40%. If they can chip away at apple with a few more revisions, they might be a true contender to the formidable ipod.

Or they could fail...I'm eager to see how this all pans out, especially after the holiday season.

RE: Zune 360
By Oregonian2 on 12/1/2006 3:03:55 PM , Rating: 1
Have to wait a few weeks more. They may be like movies where the first week is the biggie and it goes down from there when word-of-mouth gets out about it. :-)

From photos, I've thought the Zune was incredibly ugly. Went to Costco, and although they've a zillion of them for sale in the form of plastic photo-things that you take up to be exchanged for a real unit, they had NONE on display in person (even with the glued security cords attached), while they've iPods on display (which is what sold me on them). My conclusion is that the photos must be right and they are incredibly ugly.

RE: Zune 360
By Pirks on 12/1/2006 5:27:39 PM , Rating: 1
Its funny to see just how anti Apple you are. For curiosity's sake what did they do to you?
Nothing bad particularly, I just don't like monopolies, be it MS Windows or Apple iPod.
My philosophy is if you do not like a product (hopefully for actual reasons outside of a grudge) then don't buy it.
That's why I never bought an iPod and am not going to buy one anytime soon. They like to overload their products with expensive unnecessary crap like video.
My Ipod is great, it plays music when I ask for it to do so
My Archos Gmini XS202 is lighter, smaller and cheaper than any comparable iPod, has all the functionality I need - that's why Archos for now. Before that I was buying exclusively Creative players, they used to have best bang for buck for me but Archos has beaten them with Gmini XS202.
Sony's problem was promising way too much and then failing to fully deliver
Apple's problem is charging too much for functionality I don't need.

Apple should be worried
By borowki on 11/30/2006 4:48:22 PM , Rating: 4
Apple's potential weakness is its marketing. It's giving off too much of a metrosexual vibe, which a large segment of the population find repulsive. The Zune marketing folks spotted this and are attacking from that angle. Notice the emphasis on earthy colors, the brown Zune, the dorky commercials, and now, the deliberately tacky pink Zune.

Fashion changes. Bono is, like, so yesterday. Today's cultural icon is Borat. If Apple sticks with political correct chic, it risks being left behind.

RE: Apple should be worried
By MrSmurf on 11/30/06, Rating: -1
RE: Apple should be worried
By JNo on 12/1/2006 3:39:34 AM , Rating: 5
um... no.. you did

By MajorPaver on 11/30/06, Rating: 0
RE: Blech
By theprodigalrebel on 11/30/2006 10:00:07 PM , Rating: 2
Since when do 30+ tech-geeks (I am assuming all-male) reject a new tech-toy based on looks or the damn color? I am actually glad MS is not marketing this to 14-yr-old cheerleaders.

RE: Blech
By Wightout on 11/30/2006 11:53:43 PM , Rating: 2
The pink does not say girls 14+ to you?

RE: Blech
By MajorPaver on 11/30/2006 11:54:12 PM , Rating: 3
Where have you been? Case mods, ipods, flat screens. We aren't flipping switches on Altairs anymore and people do care.

Performance is always paramount, but it doesn't have to look like a reject from a 1970s "enhance your ride with a vinyl roof" convention.

RE: Blech
By kelmon on 12/1/2006 3:07:36 AM , Rating: 1
I fall into that category and certainly wouldn't buy something that isn't pleasing to the eye so, yeah, colour and looks ARE important. Functionality is key, however, since I would not buy something that looked good but wasn't useful, but equally I wouldn't buy something that offered the best functions but hurts the eyes to look at it. If I'm going to pay "top dollar" (or Pound Sterling in my case) for a product then it needs to be a complete product and that means the overall design must be excellent.

Again, the current Zune is a complete waste of time (both for the consumer and Microsoft) but future versions could do well if they sorted out the glaring design and functionality flaws. Given the general Vista disaster in terms of project schedule I can only assume that Microsoft pushed this one out the door before the product was finished. One really does wonder what the original scope document for the product included...

They done good...
By kibets on 11/30/2006 4:17:25 PM , Rating: 4
Not too bad considering probably 99.9% of America has never even heard of Zune and they get bombarded multiple times a day with iPod propaganda.

I contributed and am the happy owner of brown zune!

RE: They done good...
By gus6464 on 12/1/2006 12:28:52 AM , Rating: 2
I recently went to the virgin store in NYC with my girlfriend and tried out the zune. To our surprised we really liked it. Now mind you this is coming from 2 people that have collectively owned 5 ipod iterations since the first gen. We thought the screen was great and the interface is not that bad at all. Once either her 5g ipod or my 3g ipod breaks or both we are both going to pick up some zunes.

Beta version
By Suomynona on 11/30/2006 4:16:47 PM , Rating: 2
When I first heard about the Zune, I was pretty excited. It sounded like a great alternative to the iPod, with the larger screen and wifi. But it really seems like Microsoft just released their beta version instead of actually trying to perfect it.

Of the two features that seemed to set it apart, only the screen seems to be a tangible difference -- and for some odd reason I see people bashing that in reviews too. I've read a couple reviewers complaining that a larger screen isn't as sharp (which is the same reason we all buy 19" monitors and the biggest TVs we can afford, right?).

They crippled the wireless capabilities beyond reason, and that's the biggest problem, to me. They should have allowed you to buy music through it and transfer DRM-less music freely. A basic web browser would have been nice too.

RE: Beta version
By Brainonska511 on 11/30/2006 4:31:22 PM , Rating: 2
About the wireless:

I would have liked to see DRM-less transfer of DRM-Free music. If the music had DRM on it, then I see no problem with the scheme they have set up now. Web browser is a little ridiculous though, since it would be extremely difficult to operate due to the controls of the Zune (or any DAP for that matter).

WTF?!! I just bought a PINK Zune?!!?
By edge929 on 11/30/2006 4:26:23 PM , Rating: 2
I woulda been so pissed...... until I ebayed it of course. My luck it'd go for $50 bucks or something.

Figure is pretty meaningless
By mindless1 on 11/30/2006 5:49:27 PM , Rating: 1
The player was advertised and hyped online, it is to be expected that when made available for sale there would be a significant group of early adopters buying one, while those who had interest in other players, had had ample opportunity to buy prior to this point in time.

Thus the figure is not significant, it is a volatile market with so many phones now supporting MP3. It could easily rise to a higher % over time but that is doubtful unless restrictions are eased, the price falls, and flash storage space use increases (if price remained fixed).

RE: Figure is pretty meaningless
By graphicguru on 11/30/2006 10:52:57 PM , Rating: 1
Positive spin on poor sales results. Zune falls off of Amazon's sales charts for both electronics and MP3 players. Hitting # 17 - 24 for MP3 players. The device's difficulty-in-use and rough edges have results in terrible reviews and sliding sales performance.

Both Creative and Sandisk's players are ahead of Zune on Amazon's sales charts! Reading the horror stories of multiple hour software installs and non-intuitive button function in different menus is enough for me to avoid this Microsoft product. It would appear that users are reading real reviews rather than believing initial hype and this glowing review given the actual sales results.

We will see if this site reports Zune's sales for Week 2 and Week 3. I bet not.

Playing fast and loose with numbers?
By Saist on 12/1/2006 2:08:31 AM , Rating: 2
I personally found the news article title misleading, as well as the content, but I understand why. There is a difference between the Zune Capturing 9 percent of PMP Market, and the Zune Capturing 9 percent of retail sales. It is the same way that Microsoft plays fast and loose with Linux Install numbers.

The Zune may have captured 9 percent of retail sales, but the market is full of already existing units, used units, and refurbished units that don't count in retail sales. The problem, for Microsoft at least, is that the Ipod has the vast majority of existing units in place, and the used and refurbished market is filled with Iriver, JetAudio, Apple, Creative, and other PMP systems. Given the look at the overall market, the Zune probably has under .01% of the entire market.

It would be my view that Dailytech should be doing better to help clarify the news posts rather than simply posting them "verbatim"

By crystal clear on 12/2/2006 1:36:22 AM , Rating: 2
Better to read the following then decide what to buy-


The limitations are presumably in place to prevent wholesale sharing of songs but the protection even applies to songs not downloaded or bought.

"What's really nuts is that the restrictions even stomp on your own musical creations," wrote Pogue, describing the protection as "draconian" and "as strict as a 19th-Century schoolmarm".

Both reviewers criticised the lack of other features in the Zune.

Pogue wrote: "It doesn't have a single standard iPod amenity: no games, alarm clock, stopwatch, world clock, password-protected volume limiter, equaliser, calendar, address book or notes module."

You cannot download podcasts either, he pointed out.

"This first Zune has too many compromises and missing features to be as good a choice as the iPod for most users," wrote Mossberg.

He added: "The hardware feels rushed and incomplete."

Mr Mossberg also criticised the payment scheme for the Zune marketplace, pointing out that users have to buy £5-worth of points at a time, even if they intend to buy only a single track.

Zune users must use a new piece of library software - and not Windows Media Player.


By crystal clear on 12/2/2006 1:56:37 AM , Rating: 2
Here is another survey from Reuters,compare both the surveys
makes interesting reading-

Microsoft's Zune may nudge into upgrade market, survey says

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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