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Old 06-09-2010, 06:00 PM
Adam Krebs
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Default What To Do About Zune?


"After almost four years, the standalone Zune player has something like 2 percent of the MP3 player market. Ballmer should face it: the iPod is unstoppable. But Microsoft already has a mobile-phone business--even if Windows Mobile is the Atari 2600 of mobile platforms, it still shipped on more than 15 million phones in 2008 and 2009, and the vastly improved Windows Phone 7 could help Microsoft double that number in 2011. Every Windows Phone 7 will have the full Zune HD interface built into it. Microsoft should market the heck out of this feature: the Zune HD is a better MP3 player than the iPod in many ways--wireless sync, the "now playing" queue and Quickplay feature, the Zune Pass all-you-can-eat subscription service, cool rolling displays of album and artist art, and better PC software. I'm willing to bet that phones running Windows Phone 7 will be better MP3 players than the iPhone, too."

As a longtime Zune owner, it pains me to admit that the product hasn't sold as well as it probably should have. With the single-function form factor on the way out, will a strong integration with Windows Phone 7 be enough to stave off tough competition from Apple? There's no doubt that the Zune HD interface is both beautiful and perfectly optimized for touch, and in a way it has served as a testing ground for some of the UI conventions within Windows Phone 7. With wireless syncing, the "pins" metaphor, and of course the Zune Pass, the Zune HD is in many ways a stronger media player than the iPod Touch. Putting this combination into every WP7 device will certainly shake up expectations of cell phone media players, but will people be willing to fork over another $10 or $15 for a Zune Pass on top of their monthly cell bill? Rosoff brings up the old "sure you could pay $3000 for 3000 songs, or just $15 a month" as a possible marketing tactic, but Zune has gone there before to no effect. There's little doubt that Zune on WP7 can be a winner, the question is whether they can execute on it and if this will be enough to save Zune.

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Old 06-09-2010, 06:46 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 251

I think one of the main reasons Zune hasn't succeeded is it is only available in the United States. I have yet to figure out why Microsoft hasn't expanded the Zune into other markets.

As for paying the extra money, people who already own Zunes probably own cell phones as well and are paying the extra now. I really don't see that changing.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:08 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 94

I'm not too concerned. 20+ million WP7 units in 12 months. You are right though, its all about execution. WP7 team is doing their thing...Zune needs to be doing their preparations as well.

There is something to be said when you have that many devices out there that can access your software/service. It creates a good problem to have. How do you convert a decent % of those Zune enabled devices?

Even though there will be software bundled for the PC, a customer acquiring WP7 device for the first time will instinctively turn on the phone and try it out. I'm not sure what the WP7 first time setup experience will be like but I imagine it may prompt to configure email etc...that would be a good place to configure a Live ID. It needs to be painless and even fun to setup. After configuration you know the customer will be clicking through all the menus to try their device. For Zune, accessing Zune MarketPlace for the first time should begin their 14-day trial. Remind user of the free-trial and give them a count down to days remaining each time they enter Zune. At the end of the 14 days, provide some means for user to subscribe. Again, this experience should not require a PC/Browser to sign-up. I don't pretend to have thought this through entirely. The point is to give folks some exposure to Zune, ease of use and content it offers. Zune team might want to consider a special Zune Pass mobile plan (device limited) and perhaps even provide a limited but free channel. Beyond the Zune marketing and licensing preparations, there is plenty of technical/product work that needs to executed very well. If they do a good job, Zune will see substantial user growth.

It would be interesting to see how the Zune sign-up/trial process is currently handled on KIN. Also, I wonder if Zune on WP7 devices will some how piggyback on WP7 MarketPlace for subscriptions.
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Last edited by USArcher; 06-09-2010 at 09:25 PM..
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 4
Default The ipod isn't the only competition

I love my Zune HD, please don't get me wrong, but since I got an Android smartphone with an AMOLED screen that is larger than the Zune's, and an interface which is slightly easier to handle (for instance, the on-screen keyboard is far superior to Zune's, and the browser light years better), I've used the Zune a whole lot less.

My Zune HD is 32g, but my HTC Incredible has 8g on board, and can take up to a 32g microsdhc card, taking it up to 40g.

In other words, it isn't the Apple ipod (or ipod touch) alone that are chipping away at the Zune's market share.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1

Interesting thoughts

I'm not too concerned. 20+ million WP7 units in 12 months.
Where did you get those figures from? Id be interested in reading the article.
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