<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://blog.rawvoice.com/2008/01/19/zune-podcast-listener-market-share-exploding/' target='_blank'>http://blog.rawvoice.com/2008/01/19...hare-exploding/</a><br /><br /></div><em>"In the first two weeks of 2008 the number of people consuming my personal podcast with the Zune is WAY up. Over all my show download numbers are up about 15%. This is the largest growth my show has seen in a very long time. What this proves is that when you put Podcast front and center in the Zune Interface like the Zune team has, and make it a integral part of the Zune MarketPlace people are bound to check podcast out. Where Apple has largely failed in iTunes is that they have made podcast hard to find and a buried feature within the iTunes Interface. Today it is nearly impossible to find content that is fresh, the iTunes podcast interface is a wasteland of thousands of podfaded shows and huge numbers of single podcast episodes put up by network marketerís."<br /><br /></em><img border="0" src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/500/zt/auto/1201112138.usr8.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em><small>(Sorry about the tiny image, I couldn't find anything bigger!)</small></em><br /><br />Over at RawVoice, there is an incredibly interesting article up about recent podcasting trends and the Zune. In this instance users of the Zune and Zune Marketplace software make up 21.3% of their listeners! This might not seem like a lot, but take iTunes for instance, whose user base makes up only 38.7% of their listeners. Now seeing how the new Zune software and hardware has only been on the streets for a few months now, compared to the many years iTunes has been around, it appears that Apple might have to start taking the <em>"little media player that could"</em> a bit more seriously. Who knows, old Stevie might just take a look at this and declare that all of the Zune Marketplace users have joined good old Robbie Bach in a round a drinks, since you know, <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/17/ce-oh-no-he-didnt-part-liv-jobs-calls-robbie-bach-a-drunk/">being a drunk is the only reason why anyone would want a Zune</a>.<div style="page-break-after: always;"><span style="display: none;"> </span></div><br />Now before we all start celebrating here, there is a very serious question that hopefully someone at Microsoft will be kind enough to answer for us. What's next? If the Zune has shown us anything it has above all else shown us that consumers of Microsoft products love their media (minus Jerry
). Does this mean that we can expect Microsoft to finally stop neglecting their other platforms, especially our much loved Windows Mobile devices? I hope so! Before the new software for the Zune came out, I listened to a majority of my podcasts via my Windows Mobile Standard device. Sure I could have used my first generation Zune, but to be honest, it would have been to difficult as I would have had to mix my podcasts in with all of my actual albums, which would have been incredibly messy and not to mention tiresome to track down and find in my mess of media. At least with my old Samsung Blackjack, I could download whatever podcast I wanted to listen to, throw it on my microSD card, and after a bit of fiddling get it up and running in Windows Media Player streaming through to my Motorola MOTOROKR S9 Stereo Bluetooth headset. It might have been a huge pain in the rear to do, but it was the lesser of two evils.<br /><br />Microsoft wouldn't even have to try very hard to integrate something like a separate podcasting category into Windows Media Player as they have for audio, video and TV shows. In fact, there is no reason why they couldn't put a little bit of elbow grease into the project and rip Windows Media Player from all Windows Mobile devices and replace it with a stripped down Zune like application, or something similar that would sync up via the Zune Marketplace. Don't get me wrong, ActiveSync and Windows Mobile Device Center are <em>fantastic</em> applications (that was pure sarcasm for whoever missed it,) but Zune Marketplace, while flawed in some ways, is a gigantic step in the right direction for syncing our media with our devices. <br /><br />The sheer simplicity of Zune Marketplace has made it so that even my mother could get it up and running with no problems, something that is almost nonexistent in the Windows Mobile world and in my opinion keeps a lot of would be users at bay. Right now Microsoft might be a very distant second in the race for portable media players, but that could all change if someone over there in Redmond woke up and realized that they already have millions upon millions of portable devices already out their in our pockets and we are just dying to get some user friendly media features. We donít need a Zune phone, we just some dang integration for crying out loud! If Apple has shown us anything, it is that we can have our cake and eat it too.