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Zune is NOT a killer

Monday, October 09, 2006

And will never be. Since the start of this Microsoft Zune commotion, we've heard exciting features like Wifi, connectivity with Xbox 360, H264 and many others. Of course, availability of Wifi is the most anticipated. Before we analyze the Zune, let's take a look on why the iPod reigned:

The best aesthetic - everyone must agree that the iPods have the best aesthetics in the world of MP3 players, Video, Mini, Nano, Shuffle and previous generations, even if you're bored with it or whatever. Teens usually 'like' the looks before exploring the features, and this actually gave Apple an advantage over other talented manufactures like Creative and iRiver.

Good marketing strategies - Apple engaged in extensive markting strategies like advertisements, and endosement deals with U2. I must say that their advertisements are really creative in a cool way, and that inrease the prestige and awareness of their iPod series.

Cheap pricing - all Apple's iPods are made in China by Foxconn; their workers work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, and earning $50 a month. I just couldn't think a way to farther cut down the cost without employing slavery.

Collaboration with software - their iTunes is a big success though it's buggy and resource hogging. Podcast actually helped iTunes to attract many more users though it wasn't invented by Apple. With the recent introduction of movie store, games store and TV shows store, the success is going to be greater.

Now, let's compare these with the Microsoft Zune. Exterior design of Zune is definitely ugly by any standard or definition, there's no need for me to farther elaborate on this point. Marketing strategies? Maybe, but more creative than Apple? I doubt so. Microsoft may be good marketers of their Windows or Office, but when it comes to entertainment products, I seriously doubt that they can do a better job than Apple, or even better than Creative's decision to let a porn star to endose their products.

Zune is 99 cents more expensive than a video with the same capacity. Made in Japan and by Toshiba are definitely advantages but it won't last for long. Most would believe that Microsoft makes a loss whenever a Zune is sold, just like their Xboxes. So while Apple is happily selling iPods for a huge profit, Microsoft is making a loss. They can lose for 3 years, but anything longer is just inpractical. So watch out for ways that Microsoft is going to squeeze some profits from consumers.

Ok, the software part is tricky. While Microsoft has proven to us that they can make less than safe software, Apple demonstrated an equal mastery in making bad software, their iTunes for example. While Apple owns Disney, literally, Microsoft seems to have strong support in their Marketplace as well. So it's probably equal in this field.
UPDATE: Both sell copyright-protected medias, so I would rather choose allofmp3.com for my music needs.

Other than those, the Zune has other useful features which I obviously doubt so. Yes, a customer will 'wow' when they first hear Wifi in a MP3, and to a lesser extent, H.264. But when we wake up, how useful is Wifi when we can't even connect to a computer, let alone a hotspot? How useful is HD on a 3" screen?

Zune is an iPod killer? I'm just at a loss of words for that.

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