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  #1  
Old 10-15-2008, 06:00 PM
Jason Dunn
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Default The Zune: Now a Viable iPod Alternative?

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/WireStory?id=5833070&page=1' target='_blank'>http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Wi...=5833070&page=1</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"The Zune has a long way to go to become a threat to the iPod. But it is getting closer...and it became clear that there are a few things Apple can learn from the Zune...I found the Zune's Marketplace feature easy and definitely satisfying...Mixview is miles above the Genius feature...clearly Microsoft is making strides - and maybe making consumers think twice before running out to buy a new iPod."</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/zt/auto/1224088400.usr1.jpg" border="1" /></p><p>The smattering of quotes above were pulled from this <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/WireStory?id=5833070&amp;page=1" target="_blank">ABC News article</a> that compares the Zune to the new Apple Nano iPod. What's worthy of noting is that while the article clearly acknowledges that Apple is the market leader, the Zune measures up quite nicely against Apple's newest Nano. Even more worthy of noting is that since the new Zune 3.0 software and devices launched in September, I've been watching the reviews and articles take on a decidedly more positive tone toward the Zune compared to what was written about it in November of 2007. <MORE /></p><p>When Zune 1.0 came out at the end of 2006, it was widely lambasted by the media - it was only on Zune sites such as this one that you'd see positive coverage. I'd be remiss in not mentioning though that I never finished my written review of the Zune 1.0 because there were so many things I found frustrating about it - so I think much of the negativity toward the Zune 1.0 was deserved. It looked and acted like a product that was rushed to market.</p><p>The Zune 2.0, however, was a different story. All new hardware, all new software: this was the device that Microsoft needed to launch in the first place. While some of the press around the 2.0 launch was positive, by and large the media coverage was quite negative - few people thought that the v2.0 Zune was a worthy option to the iPod. I believe much of the negatively was simply because it was a Microsoft product, the company that people love to hate. It's also not a coincidence that many of the media use Apple products - they've been hating Microsoft for decades.</p><p>With the Zune 3.0 launch I've noticed a subtle but important shift in media perception: whether it's the new added features of 3.0, or just the fact that the Zune has been around long enough to make it to a third generation, the general attitude I see now in the media is that the Zune is a viable alternative to the iPod Nano and iPod Classic. There's still no Zune answer for the iPod Shuffle or the iPod Touch, but most of the media is fair enough to recognize that and not ding Microsoft for it.</p><p>Ironically, the Zune fans such as myself might be the ones that are being the hardest on this 3.0 generation: I'm ticked off that there wasn't a third generation of hardware, that the desktop software still lacks what I consider to be basic features, and that there's still no ultra-small Zune to compete with the iPod Shuffle. But I'll save those thoughts for another day...</p>
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Old 10-15-2008, 06:45 PM
Darius Wey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABC News
...and maybe making consumers think twice before running out to buy a new iPod.
True - but only in the North American market. The Zune is now a product that not even Apple can turn a blind eye to. Even without Marketplace support, it has the capability of flying off shelves. I just don't understand why it's taking Microsoft so long to realize that and start selling elsewhere.
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:31 AM
rockbox1590
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The iPod Shuffle at this point is a fashion accessory that just happens to play MP3s. I really don't see why Microsoft needs a similar player. I think an aggressive price on the 4gig Zune would be a better alternative. It might not be as small as the Shuffle, but having a screen and the ability to play video at a similar price would make it very attactive.
 
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Old 10-16-2008, 03:08 PM
David Tucker
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I don't think think a shuffle is just a fashion acc. But its use as a fully featured MP3 player is pretty much non-existent. I can't imagine using it outside of a workout environment. So its really only good as a 2nd player. Which isn't a bad thing necessarily.

I agree though. The tenor of most articles on the Zune 3.0 are positive. Compared to the last 2 generations they are absolutely gushing really. Zune 1.0 I can see how some had some issues with it but honestly as someone who loved my brown Zune I think that the overwhelming negative sentiment was always dead wrong. The player rocked. The desktop software was a weak link but I've tried iTunes. I didn't think that iTunes was that great at the time myself.

Zune 2.0 was negative because it was MS and because of the bad perception of the Zune. The player is cool and sleek. It takes time for MS to get on people's good side and with 3.0 its happenning finally. There's still ways they can improve the Zune but now more than ever its an absolutely solid device. I have far more options with it than I would with an iPod when it comes to how I use it.
 
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:25 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockbox1590 View Post
The iPod Shuffle at this point is a fashion accessory that just happens to play MP3s. I really don't see why Microsoft needs a similar player.
I disagree: my wife and I go to the gym on a regular basis, and having a small MP3 player that clips to the waistband on my shorts is a 100% necessity. She was using an iPod Shuffle until it broke (typical Apple), and she switched to a SanDisk Sansa Clip - which is exactly what I use. I *want* to use the Zune software to manage a small device like ths.

There's also the issue of marketshare; these small, sub-$100 players make up a good chunk of the market, and if Microsoft wants to gain marketshare, they need to compete in this area.
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Old 10-18-2008, 05:01 AM
crashdaddy20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tucker View Post
I don't think think a shuffle is just a fashion acc. But its use as a fully featured MP3 player is pretty much non-existent. I can't imagine using it outside of a workout environment. So its really only good as a 2nd player. Which isn't a bad thing necessarily.
The iPod shuffle is a great introduction to the iPod family. My sister-in-law got a shuffle for her birthday two years ago thinking it would suit her just fine. Four months later she had an iPod nano not because the shuffle was lousy, but because she loved the portablity and wanted more storage.
 
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