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View Full Version : Does Not Supporting the Mac Matter? That Depends...

Jason Dunn
11-02-2006, 09:00 AM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.scripting.com/2006/10/31.html#When:7:26:05AM' target='_blank'>http://www.scripting.com/2006/10/31.html#When:7:26:05AM</a><br /><br /></div><em>&quot;I was going to pre-order a Zune player, but I checked to see if it would work with a Mac, and apparently not. Arrrgh. What kind of competitor has Microsoft become. What if someone prefers a Mac desktop, thinks it's possible to do better than the iPod, and wants to give Zune a whirl? I have to use a PC? Oy oy. NFW. What if my opinion influences others? I imagine that many of the opinion leaders in this market already use Macs. I doubt if I'm willing to dust off the PC just to try out their audio player.&quot;</em><br /><br />The above quote is from Dave Winer, and represents an interesting aspect of the online world. Proportionately, the number of Mac users among the digital &quot;elite&quot; (I use that word with a slight rolling of the eyes) seems higher than the general computer-using populace, and once you factor in the echo chamber that is the blogosphere, you end up with a lot of people complaining that something is a really big deal when it's probably not. Reality check: if you're using a Mac, you're using a platform that only 3-4% of the rest of the computer using world is on. That means that when a company decides which platform they want to target to, you know, make money, they're going to go with the mainstream platform that the majority is using. I'm not Mac bashing, that's just reality. And if you factor in that Microsoft is the company creating the Zune, are you <em>really</em> surprised that they're not going to support the Mac right out of the gate? And given that most Mac users really enjoy the unified experience of using everything Apple, is there really a burning desire for Mac-using iPod owners to try the Zune? I have a hard time believing the numbers would be big enough to matter. <br /><br />On the other hand, a lot of musicians/creative types use Macs, so if Microsoft is trying to target them, lacking Mac support will certainly hurt that effort. How mainstream is Microsoft really going with the Zune? It's tough to say, because the marketing message seems to fluctuate randomly back and forth between &quot;we want cool underground music fan types&quot; to &quot;we want Joe Average to buy these&quot;. Is anyone else feeling confused about who the target market is for the Zune?

Aaron Roma
11-02-2006, 05:26 PM
I think not supporting the Mac is not going to directly affect the Zune's success, but it could have a rather large indirect affect. I would be surprised if there are that many Mac users who would be willing to make the swtich to the Zune over the iPod, but by not supporting the Mac, Microsoft is just going to cause some unneeded negative attention that it doesn't need with launching this product.

Felix Torres
11-02-2006, 05:33 PM
Not supporting Mac users is simply a very wise use of in-house resources.
Supporting the Mac means writing a version of the Zuneware for Mac, for starters.
As pointed out, that amounts to at most 4% of the market in return for a doubling of development costs. It means dealing with the headache of filtering out Fairplay files and explaining to customers why their iTunes songs won't play.
And since Mac users interested in digital music probably already have the "perfect" device and would only sneer at any lesser product anyway, it is a waste of effort to even try to reach out to the iPod crowd.
And finally, in the unlikely even anybody on a Mac had any real interest in Zune, as opposed to trying to make a point about lack of Mac support, they can always go to their Windows environment with boot camp.

Most of the folks who complain that product XYZ doesn't support their platform are more interested in complaining than in actually buying the product.

MS has made it abundantly clear that the target audience for Zune is young, hip, and un-Podded. That does not in any way describe the online Mac users that are complaining.:p

Darius Wey
11-03-2006, 05:09 PM
I don't think the lack of Mac OS support will make a huge impact.

Mac OS users who use Microsoft products usually come up with ways to have the two communicate. One well-known example is Connect360 and the Xbox 360. Of course, the huge difference here is that one probably won't be able to purchase tracks off the Zune Marketplace, but if they really want to purchase tracks online, their only sensible option is the iTunes Store, and in this case, the iPod is a better fit.

David Tucker
11-03-2006, 06:16 PM
Sure his name isn't David Whiner?