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How should Microsoft tweak their Zune to be more competitive

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

After writing the recent entry on why Zune is not exactly a competitive competitor for the all popular iPod, I've received responses regarding the article, and they also pointed out major flaws in Zune. Today, I'll talk about steps I think that are helpful in making Zune more competitive in front of iPod:

1. Support for Mac. If Microsoft says that ZuneMarket won't support Mac, then I would probably understand their problems in writing a completely different code for Mac, but it will not be even compatible with Mac, meaning that you can't access the Zune on Mac - be it uploading music or using as a removable hard drive. This would definitely be seen as hostile to the growing Mac community. They would opt for an iPod when they want to buy a MP3 player simply because they can't use the Zune on their Mac. Even for a Windows user like myself, I wouldn't consider a Zune because many of my friends use Mac, and my school uses Mac. If Microsoft want Zune to be a hit in the market, support for Mac, at least player compatibility, is vitally important.

2. Open up restricted Wifi. According to all sources, we can't transfer data from the computer to Zune via Wifi, we can never share video with friends through Wifi, and we will get a crippled music sharing capability of only 3 days for free listening. I can understand the latter was under intense pressure from blood-sucking music industry, but the formals can definitely be improved on. If the sole purpose of Wifi is to listen to friend's music for 3 days, they should just strip the feature. They must unrestrict the Wifi to have an edge on iPod. With fully functional Wifi, one can host streaming music from our favorite playlist, and individuality is what we, the teenagers, want.

3. Enable third-party firmware support. Zune will definitely be much more desired than iPod if they can officially or unofficially support third-party firmware like RockBox, since that will be the opposite attitude of Apple. With third-party firmware, many features can be fully exploited; I would expect a web browser and several IM clients then.


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