Print 22 comment(s) - last by Ralph The Magi.. on Dec 8 at 7:30 PM

Microsoft Zune with Altec Lansing M604 Speaker Dock
Microsoft is cautiously optimistic with Zune sales figures

Although the Zune has cooled off a bit in sales since its November 14 debut, Microsoft still expects to have shipped more than 1 million units within its first seven months of availability. The expectations are pretty modest on the part of Microsoft and could reflect some trepidation over what Apple has in store for the first half of 2007.

"We're forecasting just over 1 million units for the fiscal year. We feel pretty good about that number," said Zune marketing director Jason Reindorp.

The Zune launched with quite a bang (for a new player on the market with little to no brand recognition) managing to capture 9% of the market during its first week on the market according to NDP Group. Interest in the Zune has cooled off considerably since its launch as the Zune's market share has dwindled down to 2%.

Research firm IDC is forecasting that 21.5 million hard drive-based music players will be sold in 2006 with the Zune contributing 500,000 units to the figure. Microsoft itself projects that it will have 10% to 15% of the 30GB or larger music player market by June of 2007.

Microsoft also noted that a firmware update is on the way for the Zune. The new firmware will include compatibility updates to allow the Zune to function in Windows Vista, general bug fixes and performance tweaks. There will, however, be no additional features included in the update.

So for those of you that were expecting to get expanded WiFi functionality, you will be least for now. "It is plumbing stuff, but it is stuff customers will notice and appreciate. It's not going to be a whole new wireless scenario or anything like that," said Reindorp. CNET reports:

Microsoft also needs to expand how the Zune's Wi-Fi can be used, probably to allow a direct connection for downloading music from Microsoft directly to the Zune. Gartenberg notes, however, that such a connection is tricky to engineer in a way that is still easy to use on a device that has no keyboard.

Microsoft also needs to push out a flash-based player to allow the Zune to gain more traction in the marketplace. According to Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg, flash-based players like the iPod Nano are unstoppable this holiday season. "There is no flash Zune at a time when the (iPod) Nano is just flying off the shelves. Those are the things they are going to have to address in 2007 if they are going to be a credible player."

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Actually Impressive
By Hydrofirex on 12/7/2006 1:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
My brother got one of these things. I have to say: Bigger screen, FM radio capability (US, European, Asian), Wi-Fi and sharing capabilities - I think it's a winner. I've had my hands on both an Ipod and one of these and I would take the Zune hands down. Especially when it does get better net capabilities.


RE: Actually Impressive
By hunter44102 on 12/7/06, Rating: -1
RE: Actually Impressive
By Crusader on 12/7/06, Rating: 0
RE: Actually Impressive
By Xenoid on 12/8/2006 2:09:16 AM , Rating: 2
You cant pull songs off an iPod at all (without alot of work)

You can do it quite easily. I have a small EXE file (forget the name) on my Ipod that will rip songs off it and onto a computer and it works within 2 clicks.

RE: Actually Impressive
By Topweasel on 12/7/2006 4:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
Not your files but those that are unprotected that you send to other people will be DRM laden to enforce the 3 day 3 play.

RE: Actually Impressive
By MDE on 12/7/2006 5:34:31 PM , Rating: 2
The Zune doesn't add DRM to anything that didn't have it to begin with, unless you send it to another Zune over WiFi. The Zune is actually MORE open than the iPod because Micro$haft (sarcasm if you didn't catch that) actually lets you sync songs from your Zune back to the PC, DRM-infested or not. Try that with an iPod and you'll throw the thing through a wall.

RE: Actually Impressive
By joeld on 12/7/2006 5:58:10 PM , Rating: 2
I almost wiped the music on my ipod once by connecting it to another computer's blank library and I almost hit sync... NOt good!

RE: Actually Impressive
By kelmon on 12/8/2006 3:24:10 AM , Rating: 1
Pardon? Impressive? The interface is pretty good but beyond that it's a half-baked product consisting of half-baked ideas where the priorities were completely screwed up. Honestly, what use is sharing capabilities when no one owns these players yet? What incentive is there to buy one? Why on earth didn't they include wireless syncing, the one feature almost anyone with a modern computer could have taken advantage of on Day 1?

While I own an 80GB iPod I don't have that much invested in it and would consider other devices if they did as much. The Zune lacks so many features that I take for granted on the iPod that until it is updated (either new model or hefty firmware update) I would not consider it.

Sorry but the Zune was quite obviously a rush job and the implementation is lacklustre at best. That said, I do think it shows promise and a decent revision would make it a player in the market but presently it's definitely another "also ran".

Brand recognition
By Oregonian2 on 12/7/2006 2:37:23 PM , Rating: 2
The Zune launched with quite a bang (for a new player on the market with little to no brand recognition)

Microsoft isn't a recognized brand?

RE: Brand recognition
By Spivonious on 12/7/2006 2:44:39 PM , Rating: 4
Zune isn't a recognized brand.

apples and oranges
By djcameron on 12/7/2006 11:48:50 AM , Rating: 1
I'd like to see what percentage of the Hard-drive based mp3 player market Zune has captured so far. The vast majority of the iPods that are sold are Nano models.

RE: apples and oranges
By djcameron on 12/7/2006 11:52:21 AM , Rating: 4
I guess I should have read the whole article! doh!

drag and drop
By ChugokuOtaku on 12/7/2006 11:36:35 AM , Rating: 2
has this thing been firmware hacked to allow drag and drop of music, instead of using wmp?

RE: drag and drop
By swatX on 12/7/2006 4:07:26 PM , Rating: 2
patience young padawan!

i am sure someone will be able to heck the zune firmware to do all sorts of things!

But NPR says....
By Souka on 12/8/2006 12:29:08 AM , Rating: 2
Heard on NPR (National Public Radio), that the 1 million mark for June 07' is optimistic....more like 750,000 or so....which is a significant drop of %25 over what MS is saying....

BTW, iPod sales are expected to be over 31 million units sold (shuffle, nano, ipod included)

RE: But NPR says....
By mellomonk on 12/8/2006 9:17:01 AM , Rating: 2
Well actually the WSJ says sales were around 39 million for all iPods in the fiscal year that ended in Sept. Sales are predicted to strengthen further on sales of the new 2nd Gen Nano as well as unannounced products from Macworld in Jan.

By Ralph The Magician on 12/7/06, Rating: -1
RE: That's...good?
By Mazzer on 12/7/2006 1:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
So apple is responsible for 56 million hard drive based players out of the acutal 21 million that were sold during hte year. Interesting.

RE: That's...good?
By JohnnyPants on 12/7/2006 2:29:15 PM , Rating: 3
56 weeks in a year? That's new. Where have I been?

RE: That's...good?
By Mazzer on 12/7/2006 4:56:03 PM , Rating: 2
Haha thanks for catching my stupidity while pointing out someone else's mistake. Though he did say over a million a week thus it would not be 1 million perfect. Anyway I don't think that even a million of any kind of electronic device is sold in any given week by any given company.

RE: That's...good?
By Ralph The Magician on 12/8/2006 7:30:45 PM , Rating: 2
That's because you don't know what's going on. Apple can sell 14m+ iPods in a quarter. We know that. Look it up. They've done it before, and they are looknig to do it again here in Q'4. Do the math. Roughly 1,166,666 a week.

RE: That's...good?
By Ralph The Magician on 12/7/2006 4:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
The best selling iPods are Nanos, which are flash based.

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