AfterDawn: Tech news

Microsoft launches Zune player

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 14 Nov 2006 14:46 User comments (38)

Microsoft launches Zune player Microsoft has today launched its new Zune player, hoping to effectively tackle Apple's iPod in the MP3 player market. The iPod currently has about 75% of the U.S. market and over half of the world market. The Zune is now available in the U.S. in just one model that comes in three different colours. The 30GB player is priced at $250.
As with any new gadget, this item has its fair share of praise and criticism, but since so many believe this is the first real challenge to the iPod, quite a bit of the feedback about the device is based on comparison between it and the iPod. Its inclusion of FM radio, wireless capabilities and its "slightly rubberised plastic" coating (which make it less prone to scratching and getting covered in fingerprints) have delighted some.

However, not all are convinced just yet. Firstly, the limitations on the wireless music sharing feature has fueled criticism. Also, the fact that music from online download stores like Urge, Napster, Rhapsody and even MSN Music (which is shutting down) don't work with the player despite all using Microsoft technology has gained frowns from consumers.

To purchase music that works with the Zune player, you must use the Zune marketplace (controversial iPod/iTunes tie anyone?). The Zune marketplace has its own currency where you buy music with points. To be more specific a single download costs 79 points which is the equivalent to about 99c. This system has been seen in use by Microsoft on Xbox Live.

Even this payment system has been subject to criticism because of the minimum number of points you can purchase at once. Never the less, Microsoft is an enormous corporation and has shown already it won't back down from the iPod without a fight. Microsoft also decided to give Universal a cut out of the Zune sales to get on its good side. The company is obviously trying to create more tension between Apple and record companies after they had disagreements about the pricing of songs on iTunes.

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38 user comments

114.11.2006 16:18

I'm curious if MS will offer a substantial discount for ipod users "if" they trade up from their ipod to the Zune.

214.11.2006 17:46

anyone who is going to buy this overpriced pile of crap (or an ipod, or any mp3 player for that matter) needs to check themselfs. in less than a year all cellphones will do what this thingy does with the added bonus of being able to make calls and possibly go online wirelessly, have bluetooth, take pictures and videos that you can instantly share (hell cant you send mp3s in texts too now?), and expandable memory. they will come FREE with plans or at least cost a load less than this hunk of junk. and my god what a joke the zune music store is. they make you buy points then trade them for songs? what is this chucky cheese? is anyone stupid enough to think they are actualy paying less cause its 79 "points" not 99 cents? my god these tech companies realy think we are stupid. its called SHAREAZA AND KAZA LITE RESURECTION PEOPLE! music is free goddmanit! my verizon plan expires in 4 months, at that time ill get a 100 dollar credit, plus the option of signing on for another term and getting the new term discount on a new phone, i figure after that and the 100 bucks credit ill be able to get a chocolate for free. and yes i alreayd know the chocolate has a nice little block for putting videos on it longer than 2 min but its nothing a little hacking cant fix. ill even be able to get insurence for it for 4 bucks a month. hell by then a new sicker version of the chocolate will be out. why would anyone carry around a cell phone AND an ipod. if you need music for jogging or working out jsut get a super cheap 20 buck mp3 player jsut for that and have your cell phone for the long train rides and boring family gatherings.

314.11.2006 18:37

That is exactly what a Phone mp3 player wont do........long train rides, or listening to it all day while at work. I have a Samsung t809. mp3/video/etc... great phone, but just like all the rest, the battery life doesn't even come close to comparing to an ipod's battery life. I believed what you are saying when I got my phone.......why have 2 when my phone will do mp3 amd make a call. I VERY QUICKLY learned why. battery life is what it's all about for me. I agree....for a little jog, buy a $30 512mb junker. but for ALL day listening that I do, nothing compares to a long battery life dedicated mp3 player.

415.11.2006 0:29

Are you high or something georgeluv? I haven't seen a rant like that in ages...

515.11.2006 1:26

It would've been a real ipod killer if: -unlimited sharing of unprotected mp3's -3 day listening limited on shared mp3's that are protected -support for songs downloaded from other online stores But it had to be done microsoft way. Same flaws as in 360: -no copying mp3's or videos from cd/dvd or usb devices -only crappy wmv support

615.11.2006 11:00

<Are you high or something georgeluv? I haven't seen a rant like that in ages...> unfortunatly i wasnt, had i been i would have been a little more calm. i jsut boils my blood to see these tech companies continue to put out overpriced crap that they plan to use to milk more and more money out of the user with. the "points" system realy is a joke. tell me everything i said isnt 100% the truth. what pichriso said is true, but with every new mp3 phone that comes out the battery life gets longer. my brothers slider sonic has great battery life, he watches music videos and listens to mp3s and makes calls all day and he only has to charge it every other day.

715.11.2006 11:04

one more thing, the zune DOES have unlimited playback for wirelessly shared, unprotected mp3s. last week when they anounced the shared mp3s would only be playable for three days everyone freaked out, and microsoft imediently issued a statement saying that it didnt aply to songs witout DRM.

815.11.2006 18:23

arcanix only shares are limited it can play un DRMd mp3s Unlike the Ipod this thing will rock once umm...tweaked ^_~

916.11.2006 3:54

what about the sound quality????

1016.11.2006 5:47

one more thing, the zune DOES have unlimited playback for wirelessly shared, unprotected mp3s.
Is this for certain now? Because Ive heard so many conflicting reports on this matter that I dont knwo what to think anymore.

1116.11.2006 6:47

Unfortunately - doesn't work with Vista! ( This is embarrassing. The comment on the page is "...Check back soon for updates." Good luck!

1216.11.2006 10:28

Ghostdog it wont take MS much to fix that loop hole but then it wont take other much to fix it *L* best to wait and see. the whole ot working on vista is a laugh..normally MS would be on the ball lining up all their ducks but since the mafaa is in town they have t hide some of their ducks....will the real MS vista/zune please stand up 0-o

1316.11.2006 14:17

maybe Id care about Zune if it wasn't so ugly

1417.11.2006 6:46

I went to Walmart yesterday and got a close up live view of the Zune and my first thuoght was it's a little too big. I noticed the iPod Video in the next display and the iPods are smaller. It's the thickness of the Zune I noticed right off, the screen and front of the zune looks okay, but when you look at it from the side, bulky comes to mind. I guess I was just expecting smaller and the shock of seeing it for the first time made me think of the old iPods which were of similar thickness. The front video screen is larger than the iPod's and as a result video will probably be easier to watch on the Zune. It's just hard to get over the size of the thing. I think Microsofts point system for buying songs on their site sucks big time. It doesn't appear as if microsoft is going to do well with this as I thought they might from the beginning. I was hoping for something better I guess.

1517.11.2006 7:04

I dont mind bulky but tis functionally suxs ,so dose the Ipods *rolls eyes*

1618.11.2006 16:27

Anyone know if itll support crapy .m4a files? it says it supports acc and all but what about .m4a?

1718.11.2006 16:35

wo0dy MP4? you an always run it with win amp or what not and see what wrks.

1818.11.2006 16:45

nah zippy im talking about .m4a. run it in win amp?

1918.11.2006 16:50

if you have m4a and winamp test it I do nots know,wait google says this

2018.11.2006 18:22

i dont care about winamp.... i want to know if the zune will play the file format without reformating the file to say mp3.

2118.11.2006 18:35

need to remember what thread I am in *L* I have no info on that google dose not give clear answers try looking thru acouple pages of google...

2218.11.2006 19:55

Wow!.... another awesome original idea from Microsoft. I love how Microsoft always comes up with new stuff. And it doesn't even look anything like an Apple Ipod...this is definitely the end of Apple's wave of success. I'm suprised they didn't name it iZunes. Aleast vista is nothing like OSX. Pheeew! (Sarcasim is so sarcastic isn't it?) Maybe Apple, in return, should come out with a game system... Perhaps the Ibox 360?..

2319.11.2006 10:04

it better play xvids. the codec is fucking open source for christs sake. the fact that all these new devises DONT suport XviD is a little questionable...

2419.11.2006 10:15

georgeluv open source means free trade and you know the corperations hate free trade!

2519.11.2006 10:37

yeh i know. i have actualy found a few cheapo mp3 players that support AVI. i asked the sales person if they suported XviD and he was like "duuuuuhh im a big retard" if the zune has a powerful enough procesor then it could be hacked to play them i supose.

2619.11.2006 11:05

georgeluv I dout the main players will support open codecs,have you looked into creative they are a high brand yet dont submit to the media mafaa. its creative or a off off china brand

2719.11.2006 12:05


2819.11.2006 12:11

AUDIOMIND 5 words corporate protection from suing itself.

2919.11.2006 12:24

im sure everyone on this board knows about the nano clones they churn out in china that can be had for like 30 bucks right? man those are looking better every day. if it wernt for the fact that they have 1/8 headphone jacks and cant suport XviD i might alreayd have one.

3019.11.2006 17:52

still no one knows about support for .m4a files?

3120.11.2006 12:23

I was looking at the zune and trying to dicide if i should get it or the video ipod but i still dont know if you can download from something like windows media player and if it has a buyable isurence for of it gets broken

3220.11.2006 22:14

Stoerte It will work with vista when the consumer edition is publicly available in January and will also include 64bit vista support. wo0dy The zune player will load and play AAC/M4A natively.

3320.11.2006 23:06

It is strange that many companies have already released Zune conversion tool, such as

Xilisoft Zune converter:
PQ zune converter:

3421.11.2006 7:01

summerda most of thos places churn out crappy conversation programs anyway...

3525.11.2006 13:15

just bought one of these things after much mindraking and research. i almost got an iaudio6 becuase i had an x5l and loved it. i sold it tho. hopefully this thing doesnt fucking suck or else microsoft is completey done with

3619.12.2006 22:48

I had buy one. Very nice! I'v tried some dvd converter softwares and prefer

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 25 Feb 2007 @ 18:52

3720.12.2006 17:54

this thing is ok...better than any ipod but not some other mp3 players out there. best buy for the price tho i guess.

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