Microsoft Zune in depth

Last time I was at Microsoft I met with the Zune team and got this in-depth look at Zune (the iPod competitor).

I have some strong thoughts on Zune, but I want to keep them to myself until tomorrow. It’s better for you to just watch the video and give your two cents first.

What do you think now that you’ve had a good chance to hear from the Zune team? I asked all the hard question in this interview.

Comments

  1. I think Zune will fail. Not necessarily because the product is poor – because Microsoft won’t be able to market the product effectively. They’re especially bad an marketing to the “iPod Generation.” Just look at the way the product manager talks about the thing – I was falling asleep. “Black” “Brown” device … snore. “Experience” “content” … falling asleep. Zune = snore.

    Side note Robert. Ditch PodTech. I love watching your content but they’re serving it up too slow and your site at http://www.podtech.net/scobleshow/ is hard to navigate. How do I get to your previous shows – the ones that aren’t on the main page? Where’s the archive? Seriously, they need to work on usability. Channel 9 was a much better usability experience and Microsoft always dished up fast. Get a better sponsor! Or, go out on you own and live on sponsorship and advertising revenue. Is your stuff on Google Video / YouTube?

    Question: How is PodTech helping you?

  2. I think Zune will fail. Not necessarily because the product is poor – because Microsoft won’t be able to market the product effectively. They’re especially bad an marketing to the “iPod Generation.” Just look at the way the product manager talks about the thing – I was falling asleep. “Black” “Brown” device … snore. “Experience” “content” … falling asleep. Zune = snore.

    Side note Robert. Ditch PodTech. I love watching your content but they’re serving it up too slow and your site at http://www.podtech.net/scobleshow/ is hard to navigate. How do I get to your previous shows – the ones that aren’t on the main page? Where’s the archive? Seriously, they need to work on usability. Channel 9 was a much better usability experience and Microsoft always dished up fast. Get a better sponsor! Or, go out on you own and live on sponsorship and advertising revenue. Is your stuff on Google Video / YouTube?

    Question: How is PodTech helping you?

  3. I think the lack of anything resembling podcasting support will doom the device. It’s one thing to leave it out of WMP – still beyond stupid, but WMP doesn’t matter anyway – but to leave it out of a portable media player is pretty much inexcusible.

  4. I think the lack of anything resembling podcasting support will doom the device. It’s one thing to leave it out of WMP – still beyond stupid, but WMP doesn’t matter anyway – but to leave it out of a portable media player is pretty much inexcusible.

  5. Cale: we’re working on the Web site. It’s a startup. At Microsoft I had millions of dollars and great developers to help out.

    Get a better sponsor? Seagate is a great one. They make a very large percentage of the world’s storage devices.

    As for archives, we’re working on that.

    As for speed? My videos are at least twice as large as at Microsoft. I just hired an editor to help with that. And we’re working on other ways to distribute my video that’d be good and fast.

    Google Video and YouTube are being considered.

    What does PodTech bring to the table? They closed a sizeable sponsorship deal for me. They are bringing lots of other things to the table too. More to come on that front.

  6. Cale: we’re working on the Web site. It’s a startup. At Microsoft I had millions of dollars and great developers to help out.

    Get a better sponsor? Seagate is a great one. They make a very large percentage of the world’s storage devices.

    As for archives, we’re working on that.

    As for speed? My videos are at least twice as large as at Microsoft. I just hired an editor to help with that. And we’re working on other ways to distribute my video that’d be good and fast.

    Google Video and YouTube are being considered.

    What does PodTech bring to the table? They closed a sizeable sponsorship deal for me. They are bringing lots of other things to the table too. More to come on that front.

  7. I am not sure if it will “fail” – only time will tell. Microsoft has been successful in capturing markets in the past, and there is no reason why it could not do that again.

    Couple things:
    1) Scoble – great questions. I particularly liked some of your questions regarding parental control, etc. It would be nice to have parental filters based on metadata, even for the zune-to-zune sharing. Also good to see the “Who are you” question :)
    2) FM tuner is a good addition – iPod misses it right now.
    3) Is the zune-to-zune using bluetooth to transfer files? I would really like to know if one of your reader knows the answer.
    4) Since this is likely a windows CE-based device, could developers like custom .net compact framework programs (like we can on other CE-based handheld devices)? That would definitely be a nice feature.
    5) I like the landscape view for browsing pictures, but if I want to view certain photographs in potrait mode, do the buttons detect that and change the button settings?

    Finally, I know this is only going to be introduced in USA, but I was curious if they are going to have language packs down the road.

    Good video – nice to see this video :) Great work Robert!

  8. I am not sure if it will “fail” – only time will tell. Microsoft has been successful in capturing markets in the past, and there is no reason why it could not do that again.

    Couple things:
    1) Scoble – great questions. I particularly liked some of your questions regarding parental control, etc. It would be nice to have parental filters based on metadata, even for the zune-to-zune sharing. Also good to see the “Who are you” question :)
    2) FM tuner is a good addition – iPod misses it right now.
    3) Is the zune-to-zune using bluetooth to transfer files? I would really like to know if one of your reader knows the answer.
    4) Since this is likely a windows CE-based device, could developers like custom .net compact framework programs (like we can on other CE-based handheld devices)? That would definitely be a nice feature.
    5) I like the landscape view for browsing pictures, but if I want to view certain photographs in potrait mode, do the buttons detect that and change the button settings?

    Finally, I know this is only going to be introduced in USA, but I was curious if they are going to have language packs down the road.

    Good video – nice to see this video :) Great work Robert!

  9. nice interview. zune looks very cool. i think many of your readers are msft-haters and will find plenty to nit-pick, but i think the general public is less kneejerk msft-phobic.
    it’s good to finally see a real alternative to the ipod and zune does have some features that are unique and potentially cool. it’s easy to dis something before the market has had a chance to try it out. give it a chance! worst case, the competition will push apple to improve the ipod and itunes experience which is far from perfect.

  10. nice interview. zune looks very cool. i think many of your readers are msft-haters and will find plenty to nit-pick, but i think the general public is less kneejerk msft-phobic.
    it’s good to finally see a real alternative to the ipod and zune does have some features that are unique and potentially cool. it’s easy to dis something before the market has had a chance to try it out. give it a chance! worst case, the competition will push apple to improve the ipod and itunes experience which is far from perfect.

  11. I really like the product and that there’s finally some competition to Apple. On the one hand, I really admire what Apple of done – but their reluctance to introduce a subscription service and the whole apple snobbery really puts me off. But the guy msft had talk to you about the product was reaaaaaallly boring. Considering your large viewership, you figure they’d put in some effort and find someone with at least a slight sense of humor to keep the interview watchable.

    I also look forward to some really good firmware upgrades. Podcasts, the ability to share music to multiple Zunes at once, and integration with other msft software would all be great. As would a digital camera, USB host functionality (to allow download of photos from cell phones/cameras), and sharing of video. They’ve got lots of space to improve, but I for one will be buying one of these when they come out next month.

  12. I really like the product and that there’s finally some competition to Apple. On the one hand, I really admire what Apple of done – but their reluctance to introduce a subscription service and the whole apple snobbery really puts me off. But the guy msft had talk to you about the product was reaaaaaallly boring. Considering your large viewership, you figure they’d put in some effort and find someone with at least a slight sense of humor to keep the interview watchable.

    I also look forward to some really good firmware upgrades. Podcasts, the ability to share music to multiple Zunes at once, and integration with other msft software would all be great. As would a digital camera, USB host functionality (to allow download of photos from cell phones/cameras), and sharing of video. They’ve got lots of space to improve, but I for one will be buying one of these when they come out next month.

  13. The Zune as it stands on day 1 will probably not threaten iPod. I don’t think MS is trying to beat iPod with this first device at all. The first generation tries to get the basics right. I think it’s a nice start. If handled right it can be a success. From the first generation onwards its all going to be about how MS handles the new features and updates to software along with some good marketing.
    Remember MS does not have to be number one to be either successful or give some serious problem to iPod. If after 5 years if they have 35% of market share, that would be good enough.
    The WiFi is something about which MS will have to educate the consumer. Again even if it’s not compelling today it can be tomorrow.
    For me subscription music is its biggest draw. I will buy one for that and the fact that it will have a lot of accessories.
    It’s a long battle and I am happy there is some competition in market now.

    Rohit
    PS – I don’t think they will target the iPod audience from day one. MS will go after the other people who are not taken by the cool factor. Idea is to create marker rather than get it from iPod.

  14. The Zune as it stands on day 1 will probably not threaten iPod. I don’t think MS is trying to beat iPod with this first device at all. The first generation tries to get the basics right. I think it’s a nice start. If handled right it can be a success. From the first generation onwards its all going to be about how MS handles the new features and updates to software along with some good marketing.
    Remember MS does not have to be number one to be either successful or give some serious problem to iPod. If after 5 years if they have 35% of market share, that would be good enough.
    The WiFi is something about which MS will have to educate the consumer. Again even if it’s not compelling today it can be tomorrow.
    For me subscription music is its biggest draw. I will buy one for that and the fact that it will have a lot of accessories.
    It’s a long battle and I am happy there is some competition in market now.

    Rohit
    PS – I don’t think they will target the iPod audience from day one. MS will go after the other people who are not taken by the cool factor. Idea is to create marker rather than get it from iPod.

  15. I say, the more competition, the better.
    I don’t see Zune failing, unless by that you mean that it won’t take down the iPod. But I can see it having a larger market share than that Mac does, which would mean that if Zune “fails”, then the Mac “failed” too. (Not to mention Linux, which web usage stats show is at 0.4%, 10 times lower than that of the Mac).

    I don’t like the 3 days/3 plays thing. I understand the reasons, and I’m not a zealot; I realize that having no limits would simply permit wide-open piracy. I just think that the limit should be increased to say, 14 days and 15 plays, whichever comes first (or whatever, but something higher than 3/3 but lower than 30/30).

    But I think the Zune is pretty cool; cooler than my iPod (but my iPod is one of the earliest models, so that’s not saying much).

  16. I say, the more competition, the better.
    I don’t see Zune failing, unless by that you mean that it won’t take down the iPod. But I can see it having a larger market share than that Mac does, which would mean that if Zune “fails”, then the Mac “failed” too. (Not to mention Linux, which web usage stats show is at 0.4%, 10 times lower than that of the Mac).

    I don’t like the 3 days/3 plays thing. I understand the reasons, and I’m not a zealot; I realize that having no limits would simply permit wide-open piracy. I just think that the limit should be increased to say, 14 days and 15 plays, whichever comes first (or whatever, but something higher than 3/3 but lower than 30/30).

    But I think the Zune is pretty cool; cooler than my iPod (but my iPod is one of the earliest models, so that’s not saying much).

  17. Robert,

    Shame, shame. Just think if your Dad could have limited your exposure to Ozzy or NIN.

    I still think the Zune should have gone micro in size with attachments for a Titanium bullet proof screen which could be carried in a back pocket without fear of being damaged. Envision, the mini-shuffle as a base unit. The unit would plug into a screen and have additional attachments to plug into a standard TV screen or computer for use of the full size displays. The base unit could be used for music without the screen attached or you could use a friends screen or computer to auto view. Kick the memory up 3 gigs beyond apple and you may, just may have a snatcher.

    I don’t have a way to insert a sketch into your blog, but I think you can see the concept. Screens now exist for GPS displays which the proto-type team could easily implement for proof of concept. Standard USB double plug with covers would yield a unit 1/2 the size of a standard NANO. Do you still use a cell phone the size of a normal hand set? I think not.

    Besides the size, all interfaces should be a no brainer. Market test on Grandma and then you will know for a fact anyone can use the system. You could even call it the Banana. Eddy Murphy could do the commercial. The apple guys could say ” were not gonna fall for the Banana in the tail pipe”. Banana yellow with a Banana scratch and sniff packaging. Scoble’s Naked conversations could buy advertising on the all yellow box.

    Just a thought.

  18. Robert,

    Shame, shame. Just think if your Dad could have limited your exposure to Ozzy or NIN.

    I still think the Zune should have gone micro in size with attachments for a Titanium bullet proof screen which could be carried in a back pocket without fear of being damaged. Envision, the mini-shuffle as a base unit. The unit would plug into a screen and have additional attachments to plug into a standard TV screen or computer for use of the full size displays. The base unit could be used for music without the screen attached or you could use a friends screen or computer to auto view. Kick the memory up 3 gigs beyond apple and you may, just may have a snatcher.

    I don’t have a way to insert a sketch into your blog, but I think you can see the concept. Screens now exist for GPS displays which the proto-type team could easily implement for proof of concept. Standard USB double plug with covers would yield a unit 1/2 the size of a standard NANO. Do you still use a cell phone the size of a normal hand set? I think not.

    Besides the size, all interfaces should be a no brainer. Market test on Grandma and then you will know for a fact anyone can use the system. You could even call it the Banana. Eddy Murphy could do the commercial. The apple guys could say ” were not gonna fall for the Banana in the tail pipe”. Banana yellow with a Banana scratch and sniff packaging. Scoble’s Naked conversations could buy advertising on the all yellow box.

    Just a thought.

  19. As an Apple fan, I hope that Zune puts more pressure on Apple to innovate. I think that they should offer some sort of radio functionality. FM is lame, IMHO. The whole reason we wanted walkmans and cd players was because FM radio sucked so hard. But I do want better batteries that can easily be removed and better QA and protection against scratches. Those are brain dead things that Apple should have already provided.

    As for DRM, the only people who care about that are those locked out of iPods or people who frankly, aren’t buying.

  20. As an Apple fan, I hope that Zune puts more pressure on Apple to innovate. I think that they should offer some sort of radio functionality. FM is lame, IMHO. The whole reason we wanted walkmans and cd players was because FM radio sucked so hard. But I do want better batteries that can easily be removed and better QA and protection against scratches. Those are brain dead things that Apple should have already provided.

    As for DRM, the only people who care about that are those locked out of iPods or people who frankly, aren’t buying.

  21. I have to agree with Sina with the comments about the msft guy who was the Zune product manager. No sense of humor at all. I think he just says whatever he thinks we want to hear, with all the buzz words he used about a gazillion times. If Microsoft believes just repeating “community” “interaction” and “experience” will do the trick, good luck to them. Wrong person for the job. And he doesn’t know the resolution? Come on.

    The main differentiation factor between the iPod and the Zune is the wifi capability of the Zune, pretty cool but will it be used? How popular will it actually be? The number one reason I’m happy Microsoft is launching the Zune is to bring some decent competition to the market.

  22. I have to agree with Sina with the comments about the msft guy who was the Zune product manager. No sense of humor at all. I think he just says whatever he thinks we want to hear, with all the buzz words he used about a gazillion times. If Microsoft believes just repeating “community” “interaction” and “experience” will do the trick, good luck to them. Wrong person for the job. And he doesn’t know the resolution? Come on.

    The main differentiation factor between the iPod and the Zune is the wifi capability of the Zune, pretty cool but will it be used? How popular will it actually be? The number one reason I’m happy Microsoft is launching the Zune is to bring some decent competition to the market.

  23. I disagree that WiFi is the “main differentiation” bewtween Zune and iPod.
    What about these?
    Zune supports more audio formats (MP3, WMA, AAC).
    Zune supports more video (H264, WMV, (I forget the rest)).
    Zune has larger screen (and better quality screen; last month ExtremeTech.com has a portable player display quality shootout, and iPod came in last with washed out picture, poor color saturation, and horrible contrast).
    Zune’s UI (which seems to be a successor to the already very good PMC 2.0 UI) blows the iPod’s away.

  24. I disagree that WiFi is the “main differentiation” bewtween Zune and iPod.
    What about these?
    Zune supports more audio formats (MP3, WMA, AAC).
    Zune supports more video (H264, WMV, (I forget the rest)).
    Zune has larger screen (and better quality screen; last month ExtremeTech.com has a portable player display quality shootout, and iPod came in last with washed out picture, poor color saturation, and horrible contrast).
    Zune’s UI (which seems to be a successor to the already very good PMC 2.0 UI) blows the iPod’s away.

  25. I have 3 iPODs, so why not buy a ZUNE? I love the fact that it has an FM tuner. And I don’t think iPOD shows slide shows. IMHO, the device that does the most for me is the one to buy. I could care less if it’s MSFT.

  26. I have 3 iPODs, so why not buy a ZUNE? I love the fact that it has an FM tuner. And I don’t think iPOD shows slide shows. IMHO, the device that does the most for me is the one to buy. I could care less if it’s MSFT.

  27. Amen to the last comment by Adam. I don’t know if it’s fair to consider that msft guy representative of the Zune team, but he’s the embodiment of why people hate msft. They may as well have rolled out PC from those Apple commercials to do this movie.

    His mind-numbing repetition of the buzzwords, and complete lack of any passion or excitement nearly made the video unwatchable. He sounded like a sociologist trying to scientifically understand a “strange, foriegn people”, not an actual member of that community. It was only Scoble’s excitement that got me through the video.

    And not knowing the resolution? Clearly, that guy has ZERO passion for his zune.

    I was gonna give zune a chance, but this guy has me worried…
    Great products come from

  28. Amen to the last comment by Adam. I don’t know if it’s fair to consider that msft guy representative of the Zune team, but he’s the embodiment of why people hate msft. They may as well have rolled out PC from those Apple commercials to do this movie.

    His mind-numbing repetition of the buzzwords, and complete lack of any passion or excitement nearly made the video unwatchable. He sounded like a sociologist trying to scientifically understand a “strange, foriegn people”, not an actual member of that community. It was only Scoble’s excitement that got me through the video.

    And not knowing the resolution? Clearly, that guy has ZERO passion for his zune.

    I was gonna give zune a chance, but this guy has me worried…
    Great products come from

  29. Scoble – I’m betting that you’ll be hugely successful at PodTech, but I’d also bet you could make a small fortune giving corporate drones like that guy a few simple pointers on how to speak credibly in a movie like this. He reeks of corporatespeak and inauthenticity. I hate to say it, but I’ll bet his “performance” on this video loses more sales than it gains.

  30. Matt and Adam are both right on. If Microsoft really seems to want to improve their image, then this is the perfect example of what needs to change. There was barely a hint of passion for the product, it was dry dry dry.

  31. Scoble – I’m betting that you’ll be hugely successful at PodTech, but I’d also bet you could make a small fortune giving corporate drones like that guy a few simple pointers on how to speak credibly in a movie like this. He reeks of corporatespeak and inauthenticity. I hate to say it, but I’ll bet his “performance” on this video loses more sales than it gains.

  32. Matt and Adam are both right on. If Microsoft really seems to want to improve their image, then this is the perfect example of what needs to change. There was barely a hint of passion for the product, it was dry dry dry.

  33. Is is really that tough to add an FM Tuner to your existing iPod? How hard can that be? The wireless functionality is misleading. You can’t connect to your network and pull down songs you own. Who cares if you can only connect to another Zune….Snooze….

    If it doesn’t ship with support for podcasts the person who made the decision should be fired immediately.

    I’ve had the chance to spend some time with the Zune and for $250 it’s not bad if I was into portable video. The screen is really nice. But it doesn’t have the cool factor like the iPod and people will pass. I thought the Xbox team was supposed to bring the coolness. I’d only get one if it was hackable like the first Xbox.

  34. Is is really that tough to add an FM Tuner to your existing iPod? How hard can that be? The wireless functionality is misleading. You can’t connect to your network and pull down songs you own. Who cares if you can only connect to another Zune….Snooze….

    If it doesn’t ship with support for podcasts the person who made the decision should be fired immediately.

    I’ve had the chance to spend some time with the Zune and for $250 it’s not bad if I was into portable video. The screen is really nice. But it doesn’t have the cool factor like the iPod and people will pass. I thought the Xbox team was supposed to bring the coolness. I’d only get one if it was hackable like the first Xbox.

  35. Some observations:

    • Robert said: “My videos are at least twice as large as at Microsoft.”

    THAT is the problem. The Zune video is both too large and too long. Take it from a former reporter, anything that needs to be said about the Zune for a general audience can be said in 15 minutes or less.

    • Zune does NOT offer more formats than iTunes.

    • One can buy an optional FM tuner for the iPod.

    • The iPod has done slide shows since its first generation, ie., five years.

    • Zune does NOT have a brighter screen than the most recent video iPods. Its screen is comparable to the one on my 60 GB iPod. (Which, btw, is just fine unless you have to be on the cutting edge.)

    • Russ Henry’s idea is the worst possible. Further complication is the last thing the Zune needs. Though M$ is impervious to getting it, the key to iTunes and the iPod is simplicity.

    I doubt that Podtech will last more than a year guys. So, your hope that Robert do something else (toothpaste commercials?) will likely be fulfilled.

  36. Some observations:

    • Robert said: “My videos are at least twice as large as at Microsoft.”

    THAT is the problem. The Zune video is both too large and too long. Take it from a former reporter, anything that needs to be said about the Zune for a general audience can be said in 15 minutes or less.

    • Zune does NOT offer more formats than iTunes.

    • One can buy an optional FM tuner for the iPod.

    • The iPod has done slide shows since its first generation, ie., five years.

    • Zune does NOT have a brighter screen than the most recent video iPods. Its screen is comparable to the one on my 60 GB iPod. (Which, btw, is just fine unless you have to be on the cutting edge.)

    • Russ Henry’s idea is the worst possible. Further complication is the last thing the Zune needs. Though M$ is impervious to getting it, the key to iTunes and the iPod is simplicity.

    I doubt that Podtech will last more than a year guys. So, your hope that Robert do something else (toothpaste commercials?) will likely be fulfilled.

  37. Podesta: I’m not doing videos for a general audience. I am doing them for smart people who want to really know more about a product and don’t want to read some reporter’s bullet list. Thanks for noticing!

    As for lasting only a year, want to bet on that?

  38. Podesta: I’m not doing videos for a general audience. I am doing them for smart people who want to really know more about a product and don’t want to read some reporter’s bullet list. Thanks for noticing!

    As for lasting only a year, want to bet on that?

  39. The first time, that i saw Robert on video and i liked it. While he obviously had a lot of fun asking questions, the other guy had no sense of humor, doesn’t know the product he is talking about and just can’t communicate the whole idea…

    As for showing the “killer” wifi-feature: Why not just take the second unit from the suitcase (Timecode 00:06:07)?

  40. The first time, that i saw Robert on video and i liked it. While he obviously had a lot of fun asking questions, the other guy had no sense of humor, doesn’t know the product he is talking about and just can’t communicate the whole idea…

    As for showing the “killer” wifi-feature: Why not just take the second unit from the suitcase (Timecode 00:06:07)?

  41. Never mind. You’ll see it in a few years anyway (everything never changes).
    It usually takes a miracle for the blind to see.
    Besides your baby is not that ugly.

    Robert, Just bought your book. 6001

  42. Never mind. You’ll see it in a few years anyway (everything never changes).
    It usually takes a miracle for the blind to see.
    Besides your baby is not that ugly.

    Robert, Just bought your book. 6001

  43. Is that a plastic case? And brown? Doesn’t look good at all. On the sides it looked like some unsightly seam on the case.

    And the directional pad is lame. I like when he says “it feels natural” when referring to the control. The scrollhweel on the iPod is natural. Not a 1980′s Nintendo pad control.

  44. Is that a plastic case? And brown? Doesn’t look good at all. On the sides it looked like some unsightly seam on the case.

    And the directional pad is lame. I like when he says “it feels natural” when referring to the control. The scrollhweel on the iPod is natural. Not a 1980′s Nintendo pad control.

  45. I did like when the guy goes looking for another Zune to show the syncing. He can’t find one. :) And he asks some woman, does this one have charge on it? Suffering from bad battery life already? :)

  46. I’ve been hearing impaired most of my life (70% loss of hearing left ear, 20% right) and in the last 6 months my right ear has become worse. I’ve come to hate podcasts. Indeed, as much as I hate lawyers and lawsuits, just this weekend I found myself talking to a lawyer about hearing issues and he opined that podcasters who don’t also provide transcripts could be in violation of anti-discrimination laws. Please! Provide transcripts for those of us who don’t hear well – or at all.

  47. I did like when the guy goes looking for another Zune to show the syncing. He can’t find one. :) And he asks some woman, does this one have charge on it? Suffering from bad battery life already? :)

  48. I’ve been hearing impaired most of my life (70% loss of hearing left ear, 20% right) and in the last 6 months my right ear has become worse. I’ve come to hate podcasts. Indeed, as much as I hate lawyers and lawsuits, just this weekend I found myself talking to a lawyer about hearing issues and he opined that podcasters who don’t also provide transcripts could be in violation of anti-discrimination laws. Please! Provide transcripts for those of us who don’t hear well – or at all.

  49. I have to agree that the Microsoft marketing guy was BORING. He seemed as excited about the Zune as most people are about getting a patch from Micrsoft. Marketing people need to MARKET, have an upbeat personality, KNOW EVERYTHING about what they are showing. I had the feeling after the interview he put this thing back in the drawer and started surfing the web.

  50. I have to agree that the Microsoft marketing guy was BORING. He seemed as excited about the Zune as most people are about getting a patch from Micrsoft. Marketing people need to MARKET, have an upbeat personality, KNOW EVERYTHING about what they are showing. I had the feeling after the interview he put this thing back in the drawer and started surfing the web.

  51. Microsoft’s push to provide “connected entertainment” looks good on paper, but I don’t think it’ll catch the attention of consumers early on. What I would look forward to is the 2nd generation Zune because by then Microsoft will have learned a trick or two on what desperately needs to be improved both from a development perspective and a sales perspective. Right now, Microsoft is just playing catch up just like any industry it goes into. If the 2nd generation zune lacks innovation, then I think it’s downhill from there.

    The reviews I’ve heard for this first generation product aren’t great, but they aren’t bad either. However, it won’t get me to switch from my iPod.

    Scoble, I think you should do a piece on the “connected entertainment” concept, especially on how large can it get or what products/services would be integrated.

  52. Microsoft’s push to provide “connected entertainment” looks good on paper, but I don’t think it’ll catch the attention of consumers early on. What I would look forward to is the 2nd generation Zune because by then Microsoft will have learned a trick or two on what desperately needs to be improved both from a development perspective and a sales perspective. Right now, Microsoft is just playing catch up just like any industry it goes into. If the 2nd generation zune lacks innovation, then I think it’s downhill from there.

    The reviews I’ve heard for this first generation product aren’t great, but they aren’t bad either. However, it won’t get me to switch from my iPod.

    Scoble, I think you should do a piece on the “connected entertainment” concept, especially on how large can it get or what products/services would be integrated.

  53. I thought the Zune video was great except for the Microsoft drone being interviewed. I am very interested in the capability Zune has to interact with xbox 360. How cool would it have been if they allowed the two devices to communicate wirelessly instead of having to plug the Zune in the the xbox.

  54. I thought the Zune video was great except for the Microsoft drone being interviewed. I am very interested in the capability Zune has to interact with xbox 360. How cool would it have been if they allowed the two devices to communicate wirelessly instead of having to plug the Zune in the the xbox.

  55. I don’t care either way for the wifi/bluetooth connection: I don’t want some guy down the line to be able to wirelessly hack into my mp3 player and steal my music, remotely add a virus to try to add to my pc (which I lack, got Linux thank you…), or whatever. iPod is…ok, if you want to be like the masses. I’m fine with my old, monochromic Zen Micro from Creative.

  56. I don’t care either way for the wifi/bluetooth connection: I don’t want some guy down the line to be able to wirelessly hack into my mp3 player and steal my music, remotely add a virus to try to add to my pc (which I lack, got Linux thank you…), or whatever. iPod is…ok, if you want to be like the masses. I’m fine with my old, monochromic Zen Micro from Creative.

  57. Dang, someone buy that guy an Energy Drink, Red Bull, Monster or Rock Star him up. He’s a walking sleeping pill. Microsoft never seems to get the mix right, hyperactive slap-dancing dim-witted Valley Girlisms on one-side (see On10) and canned-script Rip Van Winkle inducers on the other.

  58. Dang, someone buy that guy an Energy Drink, Red Bull, Monster or Rock Star him up. He’s a walking sleeping pill. Microsoft never seems to get the mix right, hyperactive slap-dancing dim-witted Valley Girlisms on one-side (see On10) and canned-script Rip Van Winkle inducers on the other.

  59. great video. however, as with the sun one, sound is still terrible on both my mac and pc. im not talking about general sound quality. im talking about the thing that happens when someone speaks to loud and the mic cant handle it (dont know the english word). that seems to happen pretty often in this video aswell :(

  60. great video. however, as with the sun one, sound is still terrible on both my mac and pc. im not talking about general sound quality. im talking about the thing that happens when someone speaks to loud and the mic cant handle it (dont know the english word). that seems to happen pretty often in this video aswell :(

  61. Jonas: hmmm, sorry about that. It sounds great here on my Mac and PC. I am not riding the audio inputs, though, so sometimes they might get overdriven, but in general they are OK.

  62. Jonas: hmmm, sorry about that. It sounds great here on my Mac and PC. I am not riding the audio inputs, though, so sometimes they might get overdriven, but in general they are OK.

  63. It was never about the Ipod. It was about itunes and ipod. What good is a portable device that does not have the software to go with it?Clearly, this an advantage that Apple will always have over Microsoft.

    Most of the time people just want something that works.

  64. It was never about the Ipod. It was about itunes and ipod. What good is a portable device that does not have the software to go with it?Clearly, this an advantage that Apple will always have over Microsoft.

    Most of the time people just want something that works.

  65. I got the opportunity to see a few Zune(s)? in action at the Educause 2006 conference. 2 things really struck me. First was the ring that looked like the iPod scroll wheel. Since it functions more like up-down-left-right buttons and doesn’t scroll at all, it’s very frustrating for current iPod junkies. Second thing that struck me was the principle Microsoft used when they developed it. I think that they were on track when they focused on getting the “community” aspect of the Zune right first, but I think that they’re really locked in to the premise of the end-user as a consumer and not as a content creator. The ad-hoc wireless access point is great, the awareness of other Zune devices is great, but the fact that the only distribution is the “sample and then buy later” model is where Microsoft really distinguishes themselves from Apple.
    You can’t give someone an audio or video file that you’ve created via the device (without the DRM applying). You can’t subscribe to podcasts via the Zune desktop client (or the device). You can’t share playlists over your LAN like you can with iTunes (which is very popular in residence halls, for one thing). “Community” basically seems to mean sending someone a song that they can listen to for up to 3 times… flag it, and then go to Microsoft’s store to buy it. I don’t know if there was similar restrictions placed on sharing photos or if it was possible at all with video.
    I was very impressed and disappointed all at the same time.

  66. I got the opportunity to see a few Zune(s)? in action at the Educause 2006 conference. 2 things really struck me. First was the ring that looked like the iPod scroll wheel. Since it functions more like up-down-left-right buttons and doesn’t scroll at all, it’s very frustrating for current iPod junkies. Second thing that struck me was the principle Microsoft used when they developed it. I think that they were on track when they focused on getting the “community” aspect of the Zune right first, but I think that they’re really locked in to the premise of the end-user as a consumer and not as a content creator. The ad-hoc wireless access point is great, the awareness of other Zune devices is great, but the fact that the only distribution is the “sample and then buy later” model is where Microsoft really distinguishes themselves from Apple.
    You can’t give someone an audio or video file that you’ve created via the device (without the DRM applying). You can’t subscribe to podcasts via the Zune desktop client (or the device). You can’t share playlists over your LAN like you can with iTunes (which is very popular in residence halls, for one thing). “Community” basically seems to mean sending someone a song that they can listen to for up to 3 times… flag it, and then go to Microsoft’s store to buy it. I don’t know if there was similar restrictions placed on sharing photos or if it was possible at all with video.
    I was very impressed and disappointed all at the same time.

  67. “If video becomes important to people in the future ..”

    What The!!! Has this guy heard of YouTube? Man alive, who made the decision to not give some time to the sharing of video?

    I guess there might be some other issues than this guy mentioned .. but seriously.

  68. “If video becomes important to people in the future ..”

    What The!!! Has this guy heard of YouTube? Man alive, who made the decision to not give some time to the sharing of video?

    I guess there might be some other issues than this guy mentioned .. but seriously.

  69. So far it seems like a weak, fluffball interview. Where are the hard questions?

    1. You say something like: “It appears that this is intended to compete with some other company…” and lead him to what HE wants to say. Why didn’t you ask: “Why are you abandoning your 4 year strategy? Are you competing with your partners or that other company?”

    2. You say: “I notice that you are using a different color than that other company”; why didn’t you ask: “If you are trying to be original with this brown thing, why are you copying the “other company” with white and black?”

    3. You say: “I notice it’s got a bigger screen than that other company” (Real tough interview: you are afraid to mention the competition so far…) Why didn’t you ask: Doesn’t a bigger screen at the same pixel dimensions mean that it’s a lower quality screen with poor image quality? Why did you decide on that trade off?”

    4. You say: “How does that control work, it looks round….” (Yeah, a question that we all already know the answer to is a hard one.) Why didn’t you ask: “If you think the D-pad is superior navigation, why did you mask it behind a wheel-like button? Isn’t that poor design? Isn’t it obvious what you are trying to suggest here?”

    5. When he doesn’t know the rez of the video, why don’t you ask: “How can you not know the resolution of your OWN demo?!”

    6. When he says: “We aren’t the XBox team, we are the Zune team”, why don’t you ask: “So why do you claim to have the expertise and experiences of the XBox team if you are completely distinct from it?”

    7. Why is it “an interesting point” that the Zune has upgradeable firmware when almost every DAP has had it for 4 years now? Are you propping him up?

    8. When he says future features are dependent on getting the product into users hands and waiting for feedback, why don’t you ask him: “Hasn’t this market existed for over five years? Don’t most of these ‘future’ features already exist in other products? What is this R&D you have been doing for a year if you still don’t know what the customer wants”?

    9. When he can’t find another Zune device, why do you say “okay” (I’ll wait for you to find another one) instead of asking “If Zune is so much about community, if everyone is wandering around open spaces and loves playing music and sharing it, why can’t you find another device in a wired building dedicated to the Zune?”

    10. When he says it takes fifteen seconds, why didn’t you say, “I just saw you navigate to the first song and click through 3 screens and that took about 8 seconds, NOT finding any devices took 3 seconds, then the device gets prompted and the transfer must be accepted which would probably take at least 15 seconds in itself… so really, your claim of 15 seconds is probably pretty idealistic (or rather absurd), isn’t it?”

    11. When he walks away to get another one, why didn’t you ask: “Weren’t you prepared for this? Why do you have that rather expensive case with 2 empty slots? Isn’t it kind of unprofessional to enter this interview to talk about sharing without having another discoverable device?”

    12. When he says, “I don’t have our other device to show you” (exact quote), why don’t you ask: “Seriously, you only have 2 Zunes in this entire office? Really? And you don’t even have those 2?”

    13. When he explains that your “parental controls” are limited to just wireless on/off (in terms of sharing), why don’t you say: “That’s not what is commonly known as parental controls, where the control is specific to types of content, is it? That’s just turning it completely on or off.”

    14. When he claims “Zune” is a part of the common vernacular, how can you let that stand. Shouldn’t that prompt the question: “Do you really believe that people have not only accepted the name “Zune” but it is now a part of the vernacular? Are you trying to make me laugh?”

    15. Since we’ve had the discussion here that clearly a sub does not allow you to listen to an infinite amount of music, why do you prop him up with an absurd claim and probably the biggest failing advertisement of Super Bowl history a couple of years ago (Napsters silly claim of a million songs for 15 dollars)? I thought you were being tough, asking hard questions…

    16. When he claims that importing from other sources is something that doesn’t exist in the market, why don’t you ask: “Do you know this market at all? Other software/devices can import playlists, ratings, art, etc.. In fact, they have for a while now.”

    17. “Do I get any music on the device…?” Wow, that’s a hard question!!! Were you reading from the Zune box or his list of talking points?

    18. When he says, “The radio has the ability to flip through stations…”, why don’t you ask, “Really, is that what a RADIO is? It’s not just ONE station?”

    19. When he says, “we certainly could look at adding that feature in the future” for about the 30th time, why don’t you ask, “Why haven’t you looked at any of these features in the PRESENT?”

    20. Boy, didn’t see that XBox question coming… He lit up for the first time in the entire interview… His eyes were saying, “Thank God you’ve finally mentioned something that is concrete, everyone knows about, and everyone agrees is good. I like answering the questions that are easy, I know the answer to, and I’m allowed to answer without nonsensical marketing bullsh!t.” But why don’t you ask, “Why is it a ‘CORD THING’? Why can’t I utilize the WiFi that is supposed to be a differentiating feature in both products?”

    21. When he claims that the resolution limitations aren’t “limitations but OPTIMIZATIONS”, why didn’t you call him on that?

    22. Why do you claim that it’s lighter than the “competitor’s product” when you know that that is not true? How is making a false statement that benefits him asking a tough question?

    23. When he clearly tells you that podcast syncing must be performed by other software, why do you instantly and fortuitously misinterpret this as the Zune player and/or software doing the syncing when he clearly says this is not so, allowing him to then meander on talking about how the Zune will auto sync content it can autosync? This is supposed to be an informing interview, not a confusing, misrepresenting advertisement for Zune, isn’t it?

    24. (Yay, you finally said the dirty word.) Why do you pretend that you can’t use third party headphones with “the other product from the competitor”. Why don’t you ask, “Are your headphones as good as these third party headphones so I don’t have to buy another set?” (You really have to do something about that spastic laughter directly into the mic, btw.)

    25. You spend the last 2 minutes talking about the Microsoft Advertising video and spastically laughing; is this a “hard question”?

    As I see it, you didn’t ask any of the significant hard questions. And your interview does not appear to be for “smart people.” I can think of many, many hard questions. Primarily centered around a key topic that EVERYONE else thinks about and would ask about. I’ll give you a hint since you appear to be the only person unaware of it: it’s three words but one word, it’s a killer but it’s dead.

    “ALL THE HARD QUESTIONS”, my ass. You asked 2 or 3 minorly difficult questions that Microsoft has already prepared its marketing speak and/or evasions for. The rest was fluff.

  70. So far it seems like a weak, fluffball interview. Where are the hard questions?

    1. You say something like: “It appears that this is intended to compete with some other company…” and lead him to what HE wants to say. Why didn’t you ask: “Why are you abandoning your 4 year strategy? Are you competing with your partners or that other company?”

    2. You say: “I notice that you are using a different color than that other company”; why didn’t you ask: “If you are trying to be original with this brown thing, why are you copying the “other company” with white and black?”

    3. You say: “I notice it’s got a bigger screen than that other company” (Real tough interview: you are afraid to mention the competition so far…) Why didn’t you ask: Doesn’t a bigger screen at the same pixel dimensions mean that it’s a lower quality screen with poor image quality? Why did you decide on that trade off?”

    4. You say: “How does that control work, it looks round….” (Yeah, a question that we all already know the answer to is a hard one.) Why didn’t you ask: “If you think the D-pad is superior navigation, why did you mask it behind a wheel-like button? Isn’t that poor design? Isn’t it obvious what you are trying to suggest here?”

    5. When he doesn’t know the rez of the video, why don’t you ask: “How can you not know the resolution of your OWN demo?!”

    6. When he says: “We aren’t the XBox team, we are the Zune team”, why don’t you ask: “So why do you claim to have the expertise and experiences of the XBox team if you are completely distinct from it?”

    7. Why is it “an interesting point” that the Zune has upgradeable firmware when almost every DAP has had it for 4 years now? Are you propping him up?

    8. When he says future features are dependent on getting the product into users hands and waiting for feedback, why don’t you ask him: “Hasn’t this market existed for over five years? Don’t most of these ‘future’ features already exist in other products? What is this R&D you have been doing for a year if you still don’t know what the customer wants”?

    9. When he can’t find another Zune device, why do you say “okay” (I’ll wait for you to find another one) instead of asking “If Zune is so much about community, if everyone is wandering around open spaces and loves playing music and sharing it, why can’t you find another device in a wired building dedicated to the Zune?”

    10. When he says it takes fifteen seconds, why didn’t you say, “I just saw you navigate to the first song and click through 3 screens and that took about 8 seconds, NOT finding any devices took 3 seconds, then the device gets prompted and the transfer must be accepted which would probably take at least 15 seconds in itself… so really, your claim of 15 seconds is probably pretty idealistic (or rather absurd), isn’t it?”

    11. When he walks away to get another one, why didn’t you ask: “Weren’t you prepared for this? Why do you have that rather expensive case with 2 empty slots? Isn’t it kind of unprofessional to enter this interview to talk about sharing without having another discoverable device?”

    12. When he says, “I don’t have our other device to show you” (exact quote), why don’t you ask: “Seriously, you only have 2 Zunes in this entire office? Really? And you don’t even have those 2?”

    13. When he explains that your “parental controls” are limited to just wireless on/off (in terms of sharing), why don’t you say: “That’s not what is commonly known as parental controls, where the control is specific to types of content, is it? That’s just turning it completely on or off.”

    14. When he claims “Zune” is a part of the common vernacular, how can you let that stand. Shouldn’t that prompt the question: “Do you really believe that people have not only accepted the name “Zune” but it is now a part of the vernacular? Are you trying to make me laugh?”

    15. Since we’ve had the discussion here that clearly a sub does not allow you to listen to an infinite amount of music, why do you prop him up with an absurd claim and probably the biggest failing advertisement of Super Bowl history a couple of years ago (Napsters silly claim of a million songs for 15 dollars)? I thought you were being tough, asking hard questions…

    16. When he claims that importing from other sources is something that doesn’t exist in the market, why don’t you ask: “Do you know this market at all? Other software/devices can import playlists, ratings, art, etc.. In fact, they have for a while now.”

    17. “Do I get any music on the device…?” Wow, that’s a hard question!!! Were you reading from the Zune box or his list of talking points?

    18. When he says, “The radio has the ability to flip through stations…”, why don’t you ask, “Really, is that what a RADIO is? It’s not just ONE station?”

    19. When he says, “we certainly could look at adding that feature in the future” for about the 30th time, why don’t you ask, “Why haven’t you looked at any of these features in the PRESENT?”

    20. Boy, didn’t see that XBox question coming… He lit up for the first time in the entire interview… His eyes were saying, “Thank God you’ve finally mentioned something that is concrete, everyone knows about, and everyone agrees is good. I like answering the questions that are easy, I know the answer to, and I’m allowed to answer without nonsensical marketing bullsh!t.” But why don’t you ask, “Why is it a ‘CORD THING’? Why can’t I utilize the WiFi that is supposed to be a differentiating feature in both products?”

    21. When he claims that the resolution limitations aren’t “limitations but OPTIMIZATIONS”, why didn’t you call him on that?

    22. Why do you claim that it’s lighter than the “competitor’s product” when you know that that is not true? How is making a false statement that benefits him asking a tough question?

    23. When he clearly tells you that podcast syncing must be performed by other software, why do you instantly and fortuitously misinterpret this as the Zune player and/or software doing the syncing when he clearly says this is not so, allowing him to then meander on talking about how the Zune will auto sync content it can autosync? This is supposed to be an informing interview, not a confusing, misrepresenting advertisement for Zune, isn’t it?

    24. (Yay, you finally said the dirty word.) Why do you pretend that you can’t use third party headphones with “the other product from the competitor”. Why don’t you ask, “Are your headphones as good as these third party headphones so I don’t have to buy another set?” (You really have to do something about that spastic laughter directly into the mic, btw.)

    25. You spend the last 2 minutes talking about the Microsoft Advertising video and spastically laughing; is this a “hard question”?

    As I see it, you didn’t ask any of the significant hard questions. And your interview does not appear to be for “smart people.” I can think of many, many hard questions. Primarily centered around a key topic that EVERYONE else thinks about and would ask about. I’ll give you a hint since you appear to be the only person unaware of it: it’s three words but one word, it’s a killer but it’s dead.

    “ALL THE HARD QUESTIONS”, my ass. You asked 2 or 3 minorly difficult questions that Microsoft has already prepared its marketing speak and/or evasions for. The rest was fluff.

  71. I’m left with a few key takeaways. First, the lack of colors/styles could be a problem. Brown, black and white seem pretty weak. Of course, the main competitor has had, or the most part, even fewer.

    I like the larger screen size. Being able to customize the background with your phots will be cool.

    Full album art is alright; yet doesn’t excite me. However, this might be something that goes well with the target demographic.

    Photos and video will be much better on this device than on an iPod. The shifting screen/landscape mode is ok; not exciting, but cool. I like jumping to landscape on my iPaq. I don’t do so often, but there are times that it’s really helpful.

    I don’t know if I the Zune to Zune thing is something I want. I can see some clown inventing a virus that propogates with this. This could be a popular feature. I’m glad that the file must be “accepted.”

    Can’t import stuff from the other WMP stores? That’s going to hack some folks off, and prevent sales.

    To all the folks complaining about Matt’s personality; he’s the project manager, not a marketer (yeah, that shines through). Cut the chap a bit of slack.

    Will the Zune be a smash hit? I’m not sure, but I’m not getting the “wow” factor. Quite a few nice features, even a few great ones, but I’m still not seeing anything amazing. I guess we’ll see.

  72. I’m left with a few key takeaways. First, the lack of colors/styles could be a problem. Brown, black and white seem pretty weak. Of course, the main competitor has had, or the most part, even fewer.

    I like the larger screen size. Being able to customize the background with your phots will be cool.

    Full album art is alright; yet doesn’t excite me. However, this might be something that goes well with the target demographic.

    Photos and video will be much better on this device than on an iPod. The shifting screen/landscape mode is ok; not exciting, but cool. I like jumping to landscape on my iPaq. I don’t do so often, but there are times that it’s really helpful.

    I don’t know if I the Zune to Zune thing is something I want. I can see some clown inventing a virus that propogates with this. This could be a popular feature. I’m glad that the file must be “accepted.”

    Can’t import stuff from the other WMP stores? That’s going to hack some folks off, and prevent sales.

    To all the folks complaining about Matt’s personality; he’s the project manager, not a marketer (yeah, that shines through). Cut the chap a bit of slack.

    Will the Zune be a smash hit? I’m not sure, but I’m not getting the “wow” factor. Quite a few nice features, even a few great ones, but I’m still not seeing anything amazing. I guess we’ll see.

  73. I’ll also give my predictions. In 3 years, it will hardly be making money if at all. It will have 5% marketshare at best. It will actually make the also rans look more attractive as devices, despite hurting their manufacturers’ bottomline. MS will actually release some decent software though with some cool new features, but users will be plagued by confusion for years over whether or not they are supposed to use WMP or Zune Software (great f’in name). Microsoft will do a horrible job managing their catalog of content: lagging in TV, movies, and other areas. They will expect better treatment from studios despite their lack of expertise in the field, lack of volume and market power, and commitment to a particular direction. MS will actually further limit the Zune in future updates as much as they expand features because of privacy/security concerns, the affects on battery, and the objections of copyright holders. Games will go undeveloped for more than 2 years despite the claims of an XBox heritage, and PIM apps will be missed. The Zune Software will be hampered by Microsoft’s attempts to chase Google as much as Apple when they incorporate advertising and/or other links to their disjointed family of purchased or internally developed competing social apps, blog tools, XBox services, etc… Despite claims of many devices, a Nano competitor will not be released for more than a year because of their inability to miniaturize the necessary components down to an attractive, competitive size. After 5 years, they establish a firm spot in the market (maybe 10%), not because of any true success but rather the failure of Creative, Samsung, and others. Apple will use Zune in any attempts to attack them legally, either with respect to monopoly or fair use. (And, ultimately, Zune poses a better parallel to the MS Antitrust case than the iPod does: create a platform, let others build on this platform, learn from others, replace them, and lock them out, try to gain marketshare…) and ultimately, if by some miracle they do rapidly gain marketshare from Creative or Real or Urge or Napster or whomever, such an antitrust claim will be brought against Zune (not for having a monopoly but for attempting to acquire one through anticompetitive means). Financially, all of this has little impact on Microsoft, but the apparent failure of Zune, the lack of focus, leads MS stockholders and/or insiders to oust Ballmer. Apple’s iPhone strategy takes 3-5 years to blossom, but shows greater integration than MS can provide with existing smartphones, DAPs, XBoxes, and Windows… making it apparent that the Zune was a boutique project primarily composed of marketers and music geeks, with the real guts of the project outsourced, and completely lacking in true integration with the WMP or mobility teams, that it was an attempt to distract from their media failures and an attempt to hurt their competitors (rather than an attempt to improve their own strategy significantly). This is my 3 to 5 year prediction. After 5 years, they do another upheaval and redevelop a new media strategy, trying to salvage whatever they can, claiming that PlaysForSure and Zune were both successes.

  74. I’ll also give my predictions. In 3 years, it will hardly be making money if at all. It will have 5% marketshare at best. It will actually make the also rans look more attractive as devices, despite hurting their manufacturers’ bottomline. MS will actually release some decent software though with some cool new features, but users will be plagued by confusion for years over whether or not they are supposed to use WMP or Zune Software (great f’in name). Microsoft will do a horrible job managing their catalog of content: lagging in TV, movies, and other areas. They will expect better treatment from studios despite their lack of expertise in the field, lack of volume and market power, and commitment to a particular direction. MS will actually further limit the Zune in future updates as much as they expand features because of privacy/security concerns, the affects on battery, and the objections of copyright holders. Games will go undeveloped for more than 2 years despite the claims of an XBox heritage, and PIM apps will be missed. The Zune Software will be hampered by Microsoft’s attempts to chase Google as much as Apple when they incorporate advertising and/or other links to their disjointed family of purchased or internally developed competing social apps, blog tools, XBox services, etc… Despite claims of many devices, a Nano competitor will not be released for more than a year because of their inability to miniaturize the necessary components down to an attractive, competitive size. After 5 years, they establish a firm spot in the market (maybe 10%), not because of any true success but rather the failure of Creative, Samsung, and others. Apple will use Zune in any attempts to attack them legally, either with respect to monopoly or fair use. (And, ultimately, Zune poses a better parallel to the MS Antitrust case than the iPod does: create a platform, let others build on this platform, learn from others, replace them, and lock them out, try to gain marketshare…) and ultimately, if by some miracle they do rapidly gain marketshare from Creative or Real or Urge or Napster or whomever, such an antitrust claim will be brought against Zune (not for having a monopoly but for attempting to acquire one through anticompetitive means). Financially, all of this has little impact on Microsoft, but the apparent failure of Zune, the lack of focus, leads MS stockholders and/or insiders to oust Ballmer. Apple’s iPhone strategy takes 3-5 years to blossom, but shows greater integration than MS can provide with existing smartphones, DAPs, XBoxes, and Windows… making it apparent that the Zune was a boutique project primarily composed of marketers and music geeks, with the real guts of the project outsourced, and completely lacking in true integration with the WMP or mobility teams, that it was an attempt to distract from their media failures and an attempt to hurt their competitors (rather than an attempt to improve their own strategy significantly). This is my 3 to 5 year prediction. After 5 years, they do another upheaval and redevelop a new media strategy, trying to salvage whatever they can, claiming that PlaysForSure and Zune were both successes.

  75. @23. Niche marketing. That’s great! Hope it works out for you. I’m sure your sponsors appreciate your company’s desire to reach as few people as possible.

  76. @23. Niche marketing. That’s great! Hope it works out for you. I’m sure your sponsors appreciate your company’s desire to reach as few people as possible.

  77. ROFL WITH Goebbels. What he is saying ain’t pretty, but it is largely true. Back when I was reporter when you applied for a job at a different newspaper, you would be sent at least a week’s worth of that paper’s content and told to critique it. He would be great at that. Scare the hell out of an M.E., though.

    Tough house, eh, Robert? And, yes, we can make a wager about whether Podtech will still exist in November 2007. Your brother or Rory can act as intermediary.

  78. ROFL WITH Goebbels. What he is saying ain’t pretty, but it is largely true. Back when I was reporter when you applied for a job at a different newspaper, you would be sent at least a week’s worth of that paper’s content and told to critique it. He would be great at that. Scare the hell out of an M.E., though.

    Tough house, eh, Robert? And, yes, we can make a wager about whether Podtech will still exist in November 2007. Your brother or Rory can act as intermediary.

  79. [...] The first warning was this video where Robert Scoble interviewed a member of the Zune team who demonstrated the product. Although the Zune looked nice, nothing earth shattering was shown. Like myself, Robert seemed to have imagined a featureset greater than that offered. The early reviews appear to back this up. Is the Zune a good product? Yes. Is it going to revolutionize the portable media market? No. Will the general public choose one over an iPod? Unlikely. [...]

  80. I am pretty excited about the Zune but not because of this guy. I actually wanted to buy one MORE before I heard this waste of space babble. A complete lack of a sense of humor and a completely monotone voice makes me want to buy an Ipod. Somebody fire this guy!

  81. I am pretty excited about the Zune but not because of this guy. I actually wanted to buy one MORE before I heard this waste of space babble. A complete lack of a sense of humor and a completely monotone voice makes me want to buy an Ipod. Somebody fire this guy!