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Old 11-02-2006, 09:00 AM
Jason Dunn
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Default Does Not Supporting the Mac Matter? That Depends...


"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."

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 "elite" (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 really 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.

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 "we want cool underground music fan types" to "we want Joe Average to buy these". Is anyone else feeling confused about who the target market is for the Zune?
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