And they said Zune would fail ...

And they said Zune would fail ...

Summary: The pundits spoke (and wrote some of the most awful, naive nonsense that I've ever read). They said that Microsoft's Zune PMP would fail. So how do they now account for it capturing 9% of the market share in the first week?


The pundits spoke (and wrote some of the most awful, naive nonsense that I've ever read).  They said that Microsoft's Zune PMP would fail.  So how do they now account for it capturing 9% of the market share in the first week?

The NPD Group, which tracks the sales of many of the top retailers (although it is important to add that it doesn't report on sales made by Wal-Mart, or Apple Stores) says the Zune digital music device had a 9% market share in its first sales days Nov. 14-18, compared with 63% for Apple.


Ross Rubin, an NPD analyst, said "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."

[poll id=45]

Think about it.  Microsoft threw one new PMP into a market dominated by Apple, got slammed in pretty much every review out there and still managed to hit the #2 spot in 4 days.  That's not bad going. 

But Microsoft will  have to work hard to keep this momentum going to keep up the pressure.

What I believe Microsoft needs to do next is to release a competitor for the Nano and Shuffle (maybe one player, maybe two) and start introducing a range of players with different capacities.  The PMP market isn't a "one price fits all" market and high volumes could be at the lower cost end of the spectrum.  Ideally Microsoft needs these Nano and Shuffle competitors out of the door by next summer.  Next, it needs to revise the current model and expand the existing Zune for December 2007.  More colors, a range of capacities, a range of prices.

Will this guarantee Zune's success?  I don't know.  Apple is a formidable opponent.  But does the Zune really need to become the #1 PMP anyway?  Isn't offering Apple some competition and offering the consumer a choice enough? 

Topic: Apple

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  • Some actual tunes would help

    You're awfully vague about those "limited to mixed reviews". It's not so much a case of "the pundits didn't like it" as "there's no THERE there". Yet, anyway.

    A quick search of the reviews on Zune reveals the following minor problems:

    * Incompatible with Windows Media Player
    * Incompatible with PlaysForSure
    * Incompatible with iTunes
    * Incompatible with Vista
    * Incompatible with DRM on windows-protected CD's

    So for those 9% who bought the thing, exactly where are they finding their tunes? And for those who already have a library of tunes from elsewhere, do they plan to buy it all over again?

    I'm sure some of these problems will be fixed someday, and others won't. But right now you're just giving free publicity to Microsoft for a not-ready-for-prime-time product.
  • Launch Share means nothing

    Well of course a device is going to capture high market share at its launch. There have been months of excitement and waiting from the buyers who wanted a Zune, and on launch, they ALL did buy one ... Several months worth of sales all in 4 days. I daresay that after Christmas, the Zune share will be a fraction of that, but we'll have to see. I agree that they need a larger range of players, and they need to add more basic feature support like podcasting (or zunecasting, or whatever their marketing department will copy, i mean come up with).

    A failure? Too early to say. A success? Even earlier to say!
    • I think whats being said here...

      is that Zune's first-week numbers were better than expected, even taking into account the initial buyer scramble.

      "A failure? Too early to say. A success? Even earlier to say!"

      That sums it up nicely! :)
  • Those numbers fell pretty quick.

    A quick check at Amazon's Bestsellers list shows the Zune as the 75th best selling mp3 player, placing it well behind offerings by Samsung and Creative. As others have pointed out, the Zune sold well on release and is subsequently fading into obscurity.
    • That's Right - ZUNE IS DEAD! That IS the Story!

      75th = embarrassing trouncing by the market.

      It is pathetic and destined to go down with Bob and WebTV as another ridiculous MSFT screw up.
  • It's 75th Now - And Falling Like a Dead Cow !

    MSFT will sell nearly 50 Zunes, not counting the ones Microsoft will send to Steve Jobs as a lousy joke. MS CEO Steve Ballmer will be arrested for biting a mother on her face in a department store while her son and daughter inspect the offerings at the iPod display. Ballmer will claim the report of the attack was a "gross exaggeration, spread by Microsoft's infinite enemies; I just brushed by her, looking for the Zune display" before settling out of court.

    Defects will plague the players (all 51 that will finally be sold) and Microsoft will end up in a law suit with all its media vendors who will charge that Microsoft was refusing to pay royalties after placing a 1/800th of a second of silence at the end of the songs they were selling through Zune and claiming they were all "new, original and innovative works copyrighted Microsoft. Duh."

    After 8 months of litigation, the suit will be settled out of court after CEO Ballmer bites through one of the tires on the Sony attorney's Lexus in the court parking lot and is shot with a tranquilizer round by the Washington State Department of Animal Control. Zune will be pulled off the shelves in June 2007 after MS issues a press release describing "its brilliant *pilot* of a massive, galaxy-stretching, mind-expanding portable media program yet to come" as a "total and unquestioned success."

    Analysts will point out, however, that after the law suits, media companies were so shocked to find nastier lawyers working for MS than they ever employed, MS was unable to contract any content for the Zune service at all. MS will be forced to start its own recording label and will only be able to sign William Shatner scatting and singing obscene lyrics to television theme songs and, in a desperate play, offer downloadable monster movies of CEO Ballmer stalking and eating his neighbors' pets.

    Analysts, newspaper columnists, national security consultants and religious leaders will accurately predict the devastating Vistapocalypse that will attend the release of Vista late in 2007. Microsoft, sure of its success, will make an unprecedented media move buying all of the available commercial air time on the SuperBowl 2008 broadcast to demonstrate Vista's "advanced features" during commercial breaks starring William Shatner and CEO Ballmer as 'Spock' aboard the new "Starship Vista."

    Breaking with tradition, the spots will air live and will have to be improvised largely by Shatner when Ballmer's bright red Federation officer's jersey becomes hopelessly tangled around his head. "The new Aero screen saver is guaranteed to neutralize erectile dysfunction, hair loss and flatuence, right Science Officer Ballmer?" Shatner will announce, beaming from his familiar captain's chair, while muffled shrieks emanate from the crimson-shrouded head of the shirtless Ballmer, thrashing senselessly, struggling to pull the jersey down over his head.

    By the third quarter, newscasters will announce during breaks in the action that Vista had been cracked by Eastern European and Central Asian terrorist groups, had already taken over all the Vista desktops in the western world and were using them to drain corporate bank accounts and send wire transfers to Al Qaeda. Ballmer, interviewed by sportcasters on the scene, will be by then hopelessly entangled in the red jersey with his hands caught in the sleeves and his arms suspended over his shoulders.

    Unable to answer their questions with anything more than a strangled scream, Ballmer runs from the TV cameras and head-butts the Astrodome until he is unconscious.

    The next day, President Bush will declare, "Now I know what the 'blue screens of death' thing-things were all about. These people are fellow traveleres to Al Qaeda and their collaborators in the Democratic Party," and orders the Justice Department to bring racketeering and terrorism charges against the company.

    MS attemtps to deflect the charges by changing its address to a vacant lot in Spokane and ordering its employees to hide their eyes behind their hands while at work on the Redmond campus. CEO Ballmer flees justice and is caught in a dragnet some months later by British Columbia animal control officers, answering a call about an insane pet-eating bear running amock Fort Nelson in northern British Columbia.

    There, CEO Ballmer will be shot dead after fatally chewing through the neck of one officer and nearly severing his head from his shoulders. MS finally will collapse as thousands of employees leave, disgusted by the ethics of company convicted of abusive business practices and accused of shoddy engineering, racketeering, terrorism and finally, in the last straw, cannibalism.

    The company loses most of its board and finally a court appoints a board of receivers to maintain the company until the Windows operating system can be sold to investors. Microsoft XBOX survives as Shatner buys the division, keeping the tradename 'Microsoft' as the receivers could find no one else to buy the name of a company associated with crime, terrorism, insanity and cannibalism.

    Shatner will market a successful range of pornographic outer-space adventure games under the brand for the XBOX.
    • law suit...

      is one word... ie: lawsuit

      btw, your fiction is entertaining....

      Your forgetting the ending of the story though in which Mr Jobs goes on a rabid rampage and brings a lawsuit against all the whales on the planet for using the word "pod".
      • Depends....

        Law suit...could be his courtroom apparel. Maybe in your example, Mr. Jobs takes his finest wool apparel and whips the humpback whales with it as his friend Larry Ellison deftly steers the sailboat alongside the pod.
      • Your ....

        [i]Your forgetting the ending of the story... [/i]

        That should be "You're forgetting..." if we're picking nits. :)

        Speaking of lawsuits, I'm sure Adrian has signed the Zune Reviewer Kit contract and he's just holding up his end by promoting his piece of crap.

        Of course if Adrian signed the document he would be contractually forbidden from referring the the Zune in his review as "a piece of crap."

        But I didn't sign it.

        none none
        • oops

          [i]...promoting his piece of crap.[/i]


          C'mon ZDNet ... another rev and still no preview screen??

          none none
        • I stand corrected...

          Tis true, my grammar got the better of me there :)
    • Nice start...poor finish.

      Started funny...ended on a really lame note about porn. Pleeze.
      • Really...

        [b]Started funny...ended on a really lame note about porn. Pleeze. [/b]

        The ending MIGHT have been funny if he wrote it a bit differently - something maybe like:

        Shatner meanwhile, attempts to make a fortune by selling pornographic edits of Star Trek TOS, featuring himself and all the female co-stars from the original series. Given that most of them are in their late 60's, the additional sex scenes had to be filmed using "stunt" doubles with the original cast member's faces dubbed in digitally. The hard core Star Trek - redubbed "Star Tricks" - is a must have for all seriously die-hard Trekkie's collections. Shatner was unavailable for comment as to why his overly well endowed doppleganger seemed to be of African American heritage.
  • A decent launch week is hardly surprising

    considering all the hype. How it does in the next few weeks and the coming months will be more telling.
    Michael Kelly
  • Duh! This is exactly the problem with Zune.

    What people predicted was that it wouldn't compete with Ipod, and hey, it didn't. AND it would steal marketshare from MS's "partners", and hey, it DID. And it broke PlaysForSure to the point that Sandisk, the presumed #2 device going forward, has gone to Real format.

    So this is pretty much the disaster everyone predicted: MS didn't challenge AAPL and stole money from their customers, as usual.

    ZDNet is still a MS shill.
  • Numbers are flawed

    Your numbers mean very little, considering what's left out. What percentage of iPods are sold through Apple stores AND Amazon? I'd be willing to bet quite a significant number. What it looks like has happened, as predicted, is that the Zune has cannibalized up some sales from Plays-For-Sure "partners" and not cut into iPod sales whatsoever. So we're left essentially with the same market, the iPod and instead of lots of also-rans, we now have fewer also-rans which includes the Zune.
    tic swayback
  • Live damn it, Live!

    This is too funny, Adrian trying to perform CPR on the Zune brand.

    Sorry, face it, Zune is DOA.

    Meanwhile, Paddington Station in London was Flash Mobbed by 3,600 iPod toting

    <a href="
    3500_ipod_flash_mobbers_hit_londons_paddington_station/">Paddington iPod

    Welcome to the social, for real.

    And somewhere in Redmond a chair sails through the air.
    Len Rooney
  • Zune not being advertised

    I noticed that none of the Sunday advertising inserts, Best Buy, etc. had any Zune advertising at all, however, the iPod was mentioned numerous times. I was really surprised. The general public won't get exposed to this if this lack of advertising continues throught the Christmas season. Granted, I use an iPod, but competition is a good thing.
    • Odd...

      I've seen plenty of ads for Zune - both online and on TV. Though you'd have a really hard time figuring out they're selling Zune in some of them. The dog scratching his ears while the guy and the other dog look on... Makes NO sense.
      • Could be local

        I'm just going off what I've seen locally here in the Dallas Ft. Worth area which is a huge market. The local Best Buy ad prominently features iPods on the front and inside. They also feature Sandisk's player and a couple of others, but not one image or mention of a Zune. The Compusa, and circuit City ads were similar.