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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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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).


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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