Should You Be Excited About the New Microsoft Zune?

November 4, 2006

Zune 1I find myself really excited about the upcoming Microsoft Zune “ipod killer.” Microsoft promises this baby to be one hell of a device and is promoting it on a great looking slick website. (Thanks to the Global Geek Podcast Blog for the link) I am the proud owner of a completely scratched iPod 30Gig, Video. The Zune however offers some really promising features. According to many sources the Zune is unable to play anything buy Microsoft licensed music.

My first impression of this obviously user crippling decision was that it puts Apple and the iPod in an even better position. Not only do they have 70 Percent or more of the market, the new player that Microsoft is releasing can’t even play music you have been downloading from the iTunes Music Store for the last few years. Microsoft is trying to carve out a section of the market just for them, for Microsoft Zune owners not to be able to use both as they are not interchangeable. I believe in this age of media consolidation it is a critical error on the part of Microsoft. Exclusiveness in brands should be disappearing, not coming further to bear.

I have also head multiple reports that the Zune is unable to connect wirelessly with its “built in wireless” that Microsoft is raving about to anything but other Zune devices! With almost every home computer network running a wireless network and hotspots on every street corner, a simple email checking utility / web browsing through the on board wireless would have made Zune very attractive not to mention having one up on all the current iPods.

According to the Zune official website the device will be released in ten days, that’s November 14th 2006. I have been talking to a lot of my technically like minded friends who all use portable mp3 players on a daily basis and all but one had never even heard of the Zune! As I said Apple’s market share at 70 percent is going to be a tough sell to beat but these are experienced mp3 player users/buyers who are unawares.

The way I see it there are several main points that cause me pause (no pun intended) about the Zune.

  • Inability to play music downloaded from the iTunes music store, no transfer of license suggested, no nothing. So much for fair use…
  • Apple already hold 70 percent market share with the iPod on portable mp3 players. Microsoft’s Zune marketing hasn’t even reached mp3 player users, let alone those who don’t know what the portable players are yet.
  • The built in wireless support of Zune is crippled to only allow you to connect a Zune to another Zune and not a wireless access point of wireless enabled PC. I am sure (hope) that someone cracks that in the first 24 hours of the Zune being available.
  • The Zune is too little too late. It has video support and nice menus, big whoop. It certainly is a big whoop coming in at much larger and thicker than the video iPod. The screen size might make up for the overall mass of the device, but it will really to have work to impress.

I can’t wait for my first opportunity to play with one of these little babies. I would love to try out Microsoft’s version of itunes and share music with other Zune users. Hey Microsft – send me one to review!


7 Responses to “Should You Be Excited About the New Microsoft Zune?”

  1. engtech Says:

    “According to many sources the Zune is unable to play anything buy Microsoft licensed music.”

    – anything bought


    100% agreement about the entire wifi thing. Holy dropping the ball, Batman. When it first came out I thought the entire wifi thing would give them a chance against Apple.


    As far as iTunes DRM, I think the issue is they can’t reach an agreement with Apple. Xbox360 has the same prob. I think that’s the reason DVDJon wants to make money selling his program that can play iTunes DRM — because Apple won’t deal.

  2. Heya Engtech,,

    Thanks for the comment. Yeah I am not quite sure how well the Zune is going to go down. Sure alot of people will buy the shiny new gadget without much thought but I think people will seriously think twice with the Zune if they already have an iPod.

    The wifi thing is just crazy in my opinion, I am not quite sure what to make of all of the fact that MS crippled it..doesn’t make sense other than to cut the Zune its own elite group of users…


  3. Erel Says:

    Such a shame, because it was almost perfect in a way. But what I really don’t understand is do they genuinely expect for it to pose some serious competition to Apple’s iPod with its crippled music playback :(.

  4. shrav Says:

    The crippled WiFi was to get the Zune out as soon as possible. I’m sure we’re going to see a firmware update within a few weeks of the launch that adds some new features.

    I don’t know what to think about the Zune. It does look exciting on one hand, but, on the other, offers nothing revolutionary. Only time will tell how well it’ll fare against the iPod.

  5. shrav Says:

    “According to many sources the Zune is unable to play anything buy Microsoft licensed music.”

    That is not correct. From

    Note that the codec list (wma, wmv, aac) is just the codecs that are natively on the device; other codecs (h.264, mpeg-4, Quicktime) can come onto the device through transcoding built into the client application.

    It can play most non-DRM enabled files (just like an iPod).

  6. Cody Says:

    Just bought a 30Gig Zune 2 months ago. I’ll probly pick the new one up in another 5 or 6 months after some good reviews are out.

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