Microsoft Struggles with Zune Dud

Most people recognize trash when they see it or hear it. Except for the suckers and trash lovers.

No surprise then that Microsoft’s Zune digital music player has been consigned to the trash heap and shown the middle finger by most music lovers.

Launched in November last year, Microsoft has sold about 1.2 million units of Zune. In about the same time (from October 2006-June 2007), Apple sold 41.4 million units of its hugely popular iPods. Go figure.

In a desperate effort to shore up sales of the dead sucker, Microsoft is rolling out new versions of its Zune player, software and online store in November. None of them amount to a hill of beans.

Microsoft is putting out its first flash versions of the Zune priced at $199.99 (8GB) and $149.99 (4GB) and a 80GB  hard-drive model for $249.99.

The new Zunes feature some minor changes like a wireless sync capability and a Zune Pad navigation pad with a touch sensitive surface that lets users flick their thumbs over the pad to sort through lists of songs or albums or fastforward through slide shows or videos.

In a volte-face, Microsoft is now offering one million digital rights management-free MP3s that can be played on the Zune or other digital music players.

A beta of Zune Social online community web site is also set to arrive shortly.

We are not impressed by any of the coming changes in the Zune. Neither is the Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

[T]he devices, which will go on sale in mid-November, didn’t appear to offer any radical breakthroughs that suggest an imminent threat to Apple’s thriving iPod business, which accounts for more than 70% of digital-music players sold in the U.S

If past performance is any guarantor of future results, the new Zunes will also end up as roadkill in the face of the relentless iPod juggernaut.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login