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Microsoft's Zune set to challenge iPod

Written by Ben Reid @ 22 Jul 2006 14:51 User comments (39)

Microsoft's Zune set to challenge iPod Microsoft has confirmed that it is developing a "Zune" digital music player to rival Apple's dominant iPod device.
After weeks of rumours of an potential "iPod killer" in the works, Microsoft on Friday said it will launch music software and players under the Zune brand, though the software maker left plenty unsaid in its confirmation.

"Today we confirmed a new music and entertainment project called Zune," Chris Stephenson, a general manager of marketing for the software maker, said in a statement. "Under the Zune brand, we will deliver a family of hardware and software products, the first of which will be available this year."

The initial device will include Wi-Fi capability and will use a hard drive to store the music, Microsoft said. Stephenson's statement also shed some light regarding rumours that the device will use wireless connectivity to share music with other Zune devices.

"We see a great opportunity to bring together technology and community to allow consumers to explore and discover music together," Stephenson said. A Microsoft representative declined to offer further details, although Stephenson told Billboard Magazine that other Zune devices, including a video player, are in the works.

At present, Apple's iPod remains the dominant force - accounting for more than 50% of all digital music players sold while the iTunes Music Store has a 70% share of the online digital music sales market.

Experts believe the success of the Zune will largely depend on whether users are able to download music and video wirelessly.

"Creating a lifestyle device, Microsoft is clearly going to face a battle here," according to Michael Gartenberg, from Jupiter Research.

"It is going to be hard for them to create the same level of cachet that Apple has with the iPod."


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39 user comments

122.7.2006 15:02

I personally dont think this is going to effect Apple because it has a strong foot hold in the market. Also knowing Microsoft they will probablly package it with so much junk that you will need to update it and soo on. and for sure it will be full of DRM crapp also. I wonder how much this gizmo will cost.

222.7.2006 16:49

im sticking w/ a psp for everything. with all the crap on teh ipod, ill make sure ill stay away from microsofts super DRM monster.

322.7.2006 17:30

Ipod has a market that no one can get. That is the "status" and "coolness" of the mp3 player. No other mp3 player is itself becoming a "verb" like Xerox or google. People buy an Ipod for the status symbol. Ipods look cool and that is someone is buying. There are tons of other product which functionaly are more practical than the Ipod. Most people are not thinking "functionality" when purchasing an MP3 player. Microsoft will have to produce something sleak. But they can't. Every microsoft product is ugly and completly unattractive. No kid wants to be the first dork on the street with the New microsoft "Zune" And what market is there left to get? Talk about "Johnny come lately" on this one. Just so you all know I am not hating because I like Mac. I only use Microsoft software, and I like it. But I am willing to admit that Apple kicks it arse in the many things.

422.7.2006 21:41

i definitely dont want to get caught in the DRM monster. i hope u dont have to use wmp for everything. and i hope the wi-fi actually surfs the net unrestricted. is that happening or should i just get the zen vision m?

523.7.2006 0:43

i don't think it is gud looking. check this out: [http][/http]

623.7.2006 2:36

Go Zune!!!!

723.7.2006 4:02

I'm not convinced it will be able to challenge the iPod. One suspects it will have to go 'out of fashion' before anyone can come close..

823.7.2006 4:43

for the record..... if you do not want to deal with DRM then I suggest you leave iPods alone as well. ANY music player will recognize and accept certain DRM if it is designed to be loaded from an online purchasing source. With Apple it's called FairPlay and MS' is called Plays For Sure. While the Pod will allow you to place NON DRM songs on it in other formats it can safely be said that MS will do so as well. Any player that would not accept non DRM songs will lock out people loading up anything but purchased music... and Apple and MS are smarter than that. Sorry, but it just makes me laugh at people's ignorance when they make statements implying that Apple doesn't do DRM. iTunes is RIDDLED with DRM!

923.7.2006 8:26

ipod is lacking a lot of stuff.. if the zune can address all those things it will easily beat ipod. people like ipods, but honestly they suck pretty bad. The best thing about the ipod is the size and look. If the zune is the same size, but has more video capabilities like an archos, and a bigger hard drive which can be used as an external flash drive, and has wif, no one would buy an ipod anymore.

1023.7.2006 9:52

wonder if it will come with some cool windows appy?!?

1123.7.2006 12:23

I doubt that it will even be as good as the iPod, it might even freeze up too. lol

1223.7.2006 13:39

If its anything like XP, it'll crash everyday, blue screen, gradually become slow as hell, not be compatible with half the stuff you want it to, leave crap everywere when you delete something, freeze when your doing important stuff and Ctrl Alt Delete does nothing meaning you have to reset everytime, ask you to install WGA and tell everyone everything about you and bitch about you using it illegally the whole time etc, etc. Gatesy can shove the Zune were the sun don't shine and I'll stick with my Zen: When I find somthing I dont like about it, I'll tell you. Best of luck to it anyways.

Yours Truly; Rav
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The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month. - Fyodor Dostoevsky

1323.7.2006 16:45

The biggest flaw of this thing is the screen. Mp3 players and video player are designed to be used by using one hand. The thing the screen is side ways making it unusable with just one hand. Unlike all other video players this one can not be used discretly because some knucklehead thought it would "hip" to place the screen side ways.Nice try Microsoft....but as with pc you have ripped off someone elses idea and made it worse.

1423.7.2006 20:02

I remember the days when all you needed was a radio cassette player and this,

1523.7.2006 21:04

Dude, Walkmans still fricking rule dude!

1623.7.2006 23:01

They were the coolest thing ever when they came out. Imagine having for the first time in history a way to carry your own music (compilations even!) with you in a small package and not bother anyone while listening to it! I'm not exactly old yet but things like this make me realize I'm not eaxctly young either :P

1723.7.2006 23:14

It's just too late in the game to jump in now. Microsoft is never on time! Late with the Xbox, early with the Xbox 360, and now late with the Zune. When will they get clocks and calendars at the factory?

1824.7.2006 1:31

Yet again Microsoft has felt left out of a market and is bringing to barrage its way in... Zune eh? Well their launch a new online store as well? Music and can also send it to other Zune users eh? does that mean no DRM? i hope so... I can see this being moderately sucessful for Microsoft...Some people will buy a "Zune" and enjoy them...some people buy crappy MP3 players that are basically 128mb Flash sticks with headphones and enjoy them... To be honest i think this will all depend on coverage and hype that is made of this; if its all over the news all other the magazines and newspapers then maybe it will be a big sucess for Microsoft, but with already iPods covering 50% of all MP3 Players, why would any of those people if they are already happy with their lot want to go out and buy a "Zune" whats the insentive to get one if your currently happy with your MP3 Player? I seriously need to stop thinking about stuff so much :(

1924.7.2006 2:47

Microsoft likes to make crapy products that are really expensive and dont do what you want them to do half the time.This is just another sad attempt to make more money and be the dominant company, and there rushing this thing a bit dont u think out by christmas like come on, this is xbox 360 all over again anyways when christmas comes i know i wont be getting a zune=)

2024.7.2006 9:18

it'll just suck, prolly have a homing beacon in it so microsoft will know where all their products are all the time and see if they switch hands and/or have the capability to see if new devices are plugged into it and there sources shared.

2124.7.2006 15:25

I will have a tracking device imbedded but Slysoft has already created a something to counter it [IMG][/IMG]

2224.7.2006 19:04

This one should work. The new Slysoft program for the yet to be released "tracking" in the Zune.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Jun 2007 @ 18:08

2324.7.2006 19:12

Wow there's a load of unnecessary Microsoft bashing going around. Sort of sad to read.

2424.7.2006 21:25

can you blame us for bashing microsoft, wtf are they thinking like alot of people already said ipod is a fad, most people are to stupid to buy a sensible product. and besides as much as i hate microsoft i hope they can bring down the apple monster. =) Crap: Ipod Quality: Zen players or a sandisk sansa

2524.7.2006 23:26

I've been through many MP3 players before and there's always 4 things I've looked for: A battery life over 20 hours An intuitive interface Non-touch sensitive pads (the Zens were way too sensitive) (I could care less about videos and photos, these are a music players) I currently own a Sony NW-HD5 and a Sony NW-A3000, and trying to figure out which one to keep. And for this I hope Microsoft creates an Mp3 player that has 20+ hrs per charge@128 Kbps a basic color LCD (no OLED, those screens like to turn off completely when the backlight turns off)and a drag and drop compatibility with Win explorer. Should be all plug and play (no software CD) with Windows Media player(considiring it's all Microsoft). These are other things that would be nice to have: a removable battery (for when it starts to wear down after the many recharges), a built ion FM radio (like the Zen photo has) a removable Hard Drive (instead of buying a new player for a bigger capacity, this would do) A ratings system that ports from the WMP10 on XP, and at least 20 characters of text per line, or a very fast scrolling method so you can read those very long title names. Of course I'd also like to see Microsoft make different varieties of an MP3 player, becuase I know not everyone has the same tastes as I do. And that WIFI thing might come in handy once WIFI-USB comes out.

2625.7.2006 11:50

And for this I hope Microsoft creates an Mp3 player that has 20+ hrs per charge@128 Kbps a basic color LCD (no OLED, those screens like to turn off completely when the backlight turns off)and a drag and drop compatibility with Win explorer. Should be all plug and play (no software CD) with Windows Media player(considiring it's all Microsoft.
It was already explained somewhere...Microsoft is going to start their own music store like iTunes...and they probably gunna copy the iPod + iTunes. And its going to be a video game player, so it will be competing against the Sony PSP as well. Microsoft is trying to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. It all about money for Microsoft. If you read tells you about the gaming such.

2725.7.2006 13:22

Microsoft will do well with the zune. it is being made by the team that brought the xbox/xbox360 and will ultimately work to rival the psp i bet. Its ability to share music with up to 10 people will be a crowd drawer as well. Also, keep in mind that microsoft does hardware terribly well. Think of the Optical Trackball Explorer mouse, considered by any who have used it to be the best trackball ever. They have the muscle, manpower and brand recognition to take on the iPod here. They are shooting for a release before the ipod update in order to steal the yearly buyers and if they have a sleek enough design, things will click. Im not saying iPod is goin the way of the dodo and dinosaurs, just that there's a new kid on the block to fight with. vs google in search, mail and more, microsoft vs sony with xbox, ms vs apple in comps and now ms vs apple in portable music too. They got ballsss.

2826.7.2006 2:36

really need a spec and price before i can properly comment. it seems to me that microsoft have to have there fingers in every pie. good business sense in my point of view. i dont care too much for fashion, reasonably small is a factor, i find the psp is very bulky but then again its a games machine also. the only doubt i have is if the Zune is going to be a games machiene also, then this thing has to be small enough to fit in my jeans comfortablly when i sit down. i have the orignal ipod, 20GB. im not intersted in small colour photos, or videos. when im walking down the street on on the bus the only thing i want to do is listen to music. so for me, i would much perfer to buy a dedicated mp3 player.

2926.7.2006 19:15

Hmmm The zune doesn't LOOK that bad, i mean it's not nearly as nice as hte Vision M... in terms of Ipod killing i mean. But the Zune/Zune feature should be kinda cool... are they all going to be bluetooth or some crap? and also, price, video, fm tuner, photo, and alot of other factors do play in to whether i would support it or not... it's already down 1 cuz it's made by microshaft

3026.7.2006 20:40

as much as i would like to see the ipod die, i dont think the zune can do it. i'm with damo_red i'd rather have a mp3 player with good quality, backed by a good company, and dedicated directly for music.

3126.7.2006 21:06

rav009 THANK YOU Finally someone else says Creative is better than Ipod. I thought I was the only one.

3227.7.2006 4:34

Hahahah Lethal :P Where there's money to be made, Microsoft will be in there. But I must say I'm looking forward to seeing it. Right now all anyone really cares about is the look of the player rather than the specs of it. I can't get over the fact that you can't share music to other people's PCs with iPods.. it just annoys me. And the price too. For 30 less than an iPod mini, I got an iRiver H120 : 20gb HDD, built in radio, built in microphone, external microphone included, supports recording to the player in MP3/WAV formats through line-in/line-out. So basically record anything! -Mike

3327.7.2006 8:46

Zune??? Man, what will they think to mess up next?

3427.7.2006 8:56

I can't get over the fact that you can't share music to other people's PCs with iPods.. it just annoys me.
You can.

3527.7.2006 14:19

Where there's money to be made, Microsoft will be in there.
Amen to that haha @lethal, i think that he meant that you can't put music from YOUR ipod onto other people's computers, and even if you can, it would be only in their Itunes.... i dont know too many people who actually use Itunes as a media player... Also, i dont really care too much about look comparative to specs.. Vision M v. U10 v. iPod Video Vision M is what i got, but if it were for looks, the U10 woulda easily won out, and ipod video woulda come last anyways... But u10 looks better IMO, but it's only 1gig space (in US, i know it's 2gig in japan or europe or somethinglast time i checked).. SO that's way too small for video, otehrwise it's IMO better than Vision M... Vision M is kinda bulky compared to Ipod Video... soo whatever. I love my Vision M though A VERY Underrated thing about the Vision M is the ability to change themes, i did NOT know that until i actually bought it/played around with it, you sure as heck can't do that with an Ipod :) Only Pro about Ipods is that you can run Linux off of them :-D ManuZ

3627.7.2006 14:20

And its going to be a video game player, so it will be competing against the Sony PSP as well.
Really? Well I guess then we'll have an actual competition on our hands *rolls eyes* I dont really like the x360 or xbox in general, so dont flame me on this but microsoft really does suck when it comes to games. they can't compete with sony or nintendo, especially when it comes to SIZE of consoles... Hence the rampantly large xbox and x360 consoles lol note, dont flame that :)

3728.7.2006 21:09

no it wont be a video game player.. that is false.. it wont have anything more basic than solitaire or freecell don't make ppl think that they will be able to play a mini halo on the zune. its two seperate projects. they have another project that is rumored to rival the psp. get your facts straight

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 Jul 2006 @ 21:11

3831.7.2006 6:05

Hey Guy, I just got a 4GB Siren (I still can't figure out who actually makes it, I guess they're ashamed in case it bombs), that I like a lot better than my 4GB IPOD Nano--mainly because it doesn't shackle me to ITUNES, quality of music is exceptional and it comes with armbands, etc. that would cost you an extra $30-150 to go with your Nano. This is just for info. What I am really commenting about, is your comment and verbal slight at the ZEN. I also just bought a 20GB Zen for my heavy duty stuff and because of your comment, I would LOVE to see your review of the ZEN, in particular what led you to compare it the upcoming ZUNE (likely disaster). I like what I've seen of the ZEN so far, but I'm not wedded to it. I am an "out with the old, in with the new" techite ('s an addiction, OK?!), so if you have valid complaints, please feel free to vent, rant and recommend to your heart's desire!

3919.8.2006 11:25

@lethal, i think that he meant that you can't put music from YOUR ipod onto other people's computers, and even if you can, it would be only in their Itunes.... i dont know too many people who actually use Itunes as a media player...
I could d&d music to and from any PC in the world using my iPod so long as the iPod software is installed. Just because Apple doesn't promote music sharing through iPods, doesn't mean it isn't possible ;-)

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