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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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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.


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