Five Reasons The Zune is a Disappointment

Sep 14th, 2006 | By | Category: iPods & Portable Media Players

Microsoft Zune Music Player in Brown

Microsoft released official details earlier today on its upcoming Zune platform, the company’s attempt to create an iTunes/iPod killer.

The Zune portable media player is a 30GB, iPod-like device that features wireless technology, a built-in FM tuner and a 3-inch screen for pictures and video. Microsoft plans to have the Zune available for holiday shopping.

There were no real surprises in today’s announcement – the announcement makes the Zune appear to be a well-funded me-too attempt to create an iPod killer. Based on what they’ve delivered today, it looks like the success of the Zune platform is going to depend primarily on Microsoft’s abiity to buy its way into your pocket, through free music and videos and exclusive deals with record labels and online music stores eager to break Apple’s shold on the online music market.

Here are five reasons that Microsoft’s official announcement of the Zune is a disappointment.

  • Microsoft made no mention of podcast support. Microsoft is missing in action in the world of podcasting, which has let Apple dominate. Microsoft’s inaction is leaving PC users behind and limiting the growth for podcasts to a certain degree. Unless Microsoft comes through with strong podcast support, the Zune platform will be severely handicapped.
  • Microsoft’s wireless plans for the Zune miss the mark. According to Microsoft, Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, listen to the three times over three days and then buy the track if you like it. It should be a red flag when Microsoft refers to you as a “consumer” rather than a person! Their wireless plans seem like something tailored to pushing their music store, rather than a truly useful wireless implementation. And what about the wireless DJ feature? Who wants to let somebody else control the remote? Let’s hope that it’s their marketing that is clueless, rather than their wireless plan.
  • The Brown Zune. It’s ugly! How about brushed aluminum, a trendy color – anything but dog-poop brown!
  • It comes at a premium. There wasn’t a price in Microsoft’s official announcement – so we’re assuming it’s still up in the air. Nevertheless, it’s expected to be about $300, which would put it $50 over Apple’s 30GB iPod. For $50 ($350), you can get a 80GB iPod. While the Zune will include wireless capabilities and a tuner, it’s only got a 30GB hard drive. Microsoft will need to sharpen its pencil if it wants to make this more attractive.
  • The most important reason the Zune is a disappointment, though, is that they forgot to make it exciting. The system is a 1.0 attempt to make an iPod killer, while iPods are in their fifth generation and iTunes is at version 7. The Zune itself is uninspiring. It’s the Zune we previewed last month, a iPod-shaped media player with iPod-like controls. It’s Windows only. The Zune looks like it will be functional, but we were hoping for something unexpected and exciting.

In short, the primary innovation of the Microsoft Zune, based on their announcement, appears to be that it will be available in brown. It’s something new that Apple hasn’t done – because Apple, somehow, just knew better.

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No Responses to “Five Reasons The Zune is a Disappointment”

  1. Total FUD says:

    Who the hell said the Zune was going to be $400? If you believe the iPod is superior, fine, but use factual information to prove it. If you have to make up crap, your arguement is a failure.

  2. info says:

    Total Fud

    There’s no pricing in Microsoft’s official announcement, and we’ve seen reports putting it at 300-400. We’ve updated this to reflect the predominant reports.

  3. SportsUnit says:

    You’re right about the podcasting. That is unfortunate. But, brown IS slick. Your analogy was to compare it to something rather disgusting, but it’s the color of my people. You don’t know anything about the price so stop specualting. And, you have no idea about their future wireless plans beyond music sharing so why even bother discussing it. The fact is that they are disrupting the game a little with new technologies while the Apple Ipod lemmings can’t see beyond their disposable little white boxes.

  4. Mathew says:

    [It‚Äôs Windows only] … What do you mean by that? How can someone expect Microsoft or for that matter any company to create something for the section that is less than 10% in the world (read Mac Users) …

  5. info says:


    No offense meant – but I still think that people, regardless of color, are going to pass by the Brown Zune.

  6. coolguy says:

    I think it’s funny that SportsUnit, had to bring race into a conversation about MP3 players. Sure people will buy it, sure it’s going to fail at bringing down the ipod. But life moves on and you get over it.

  7. pooty says:

    podcast is just a prerecorded mp3 of a broadcast.
    any mp3 player can play podcasts .. moron

  8. MACS ONLY says:

    Get over it… color doesnt make a difference but gimme a break brown… maybe your people should choose another color cause brown is not gonna be in this season… whoopdi do. Microsoft is just trying o find a way to capture more people… Im not saying that apple is all it… trust me … try customer service… it totally sucks for the past few years… I just think its all the I hate apple conspiracy… whenever apple moves forward or tries too all the superior PC dorks who like thier virus i mean operating system. start bashing them… get over it.. let apple profit… well they have… just stop the apple bashing… i hope microsoft does great with this… maybe we can start beaming viruses to each other and freeze up all the zunes.

  9. DJMac says:

    He He … don’t know how I got here, but it was worth the click. I got a good laugh from all the comments. Great job.

    Less than 10% of the world drives a Porche too … but that leaves 90% who wish they did.

    Brown is an OK color, and I agree, it’s SICK. It looks very nice on delivery trucks.

    What the heck does “Zune” mean anyway? Whatever it is ‚Äî even if it was $100 dollars ‚Äî I wouldn’t replace my iPod with it, even if I was a PC/Windoz user.

    Thanks for the laugh. Doubt if I will ever be back here, but it was fun.

  10. info says:


    A podcast is not just any random MP3 file.

    A podcast is a collection of MP3 files that are published with an RSS 2.0 newsfeed. The RSS feed makes it possible to subscribe to a podcast.

    The iTunes/iPod combination has very good podcast support, because you can subscribe to a podcast with iTunes, and they just show up on your iPod.

    By the way – why are you signing your posts “..moron”?

    Microsoft hasn’t said anything about podcast support. Without it, Zune buyers will be stuck managing the files manually or turning to third-party solutions.

  11. jason says:

    mac only, windows only, blah blah blah. cmon people why do we have to resort to liking only people in our club? I think its fairly telling that microsoft is on the defensive right from the begining, when they set about to create an “ipod killer” why not try to make an mp3 player that that focuses on ideas that have not been adressed by apple or others. Microsoft is setting itself up for failure with this one, they will alway be triing to play catch up. And not all browns are ugly but this version of brown is rather sickly looking.

  12. Name says:

    This is cool. I just want to know

    What formats it supports (hopefully not everything has to be wma or wmv) HOpefully MP3/MP4 FLAC and AAC support at least, as well as perhaps DivX/XviD would be pretty awesome.

    How long the battery life is.. If there is an equalizer
    and if the battery is replaceable.

  13. anon says:

    lol, well said FUD


  14. biofusion says:

    This post is so biased it is truly beyond. You have no idea what the cost will be yet you just ASSUME. Then you say WiFi is off the mark? Well buddy at least my Zune has WiFi, exactly what does the iPod have?

    Also you don’t understand certain markets, brown is a very hot color especially for the urban market.

    It also has been confirmed that there will be podcast support, what are you complaining about?

    You stupid Apple morons can’t take a hit that’s all. I can’t wait to be enjoying a better player this Christmas, in brown just to piss you off. I have an iPod (black video 30gb), and it’s not impressive at all. Constantly freezing and it scratches so much that I can barely read the screen.

  15. info says:


    sorry that you have problems with your iPod – have you done anything about it? Try resetting it and then resyncing it. If it still gives you troubles, take it back and b#tch.

    There may be markets where dog-poop brown is hot. We shall see.

    If anybody can point us to an official word on Zune podcast support, please do.

    Based on your last comment, it sounds like you haven’t read our take on the latest Apple iPods. We weren’t wowed by them either.

    – Stupid Apple Moron

  16. biofusion says:

    Just a small update for you, it has been officially announced that the Zune will not be undercut by the iPod’s price. This directly indicates that the Zune will be $249 or cheaper. What now?

  17. info says:


    There’s still no official pricing – but we’ve seen a note on a Zune guy’s blog that they won’t be underpriced by Apple.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft tries to seriously undercut Apple. Microsoft already has said it is willing to lose hundreds of millions of dollars on this thing.

    If the final price turns out to be fair – then Microsoft will only have four more reasons the Zune is a disappointment to work on.

  18. True Zune Owner says:

    I own a Zune… cost $225, but then we all know this now huh? Not the $300-$400 speculated by the un-informed. Podcasts? What’s the big deal, has nothing to do with the player. I still use iTunes and can subscribe to podcasts, and my Zune software will automaticaly sync these podcasts to my Zune… so there is no fuctional difference here either. Navigation is easy, unless you don’t have fingers or are completly retarded. The Wifi is limited, but its there none the less, and may become more usefull (or not) with future firmware upgrades and/or accessories. One note here… Apple computers can and have gotten viruses. Viruses are typicaly targeted at affecting the masses, thus at Microsoft users. If Apple OS was big, they would be the target. But they’re not, good for Apple that iPods are keeping them alive and kicking, if they only had the computers and OS they would have been dead already.

  19. I’ve seen them both inside and out, and I can say they all have a valid purpose. If you’re gonna work out with it, buy the iPod Nano, but watch out, because the iPod screen will break really easily! If you need massive storage, and want it to look sleek, but don’t watch much video, get the 80GB iPod Video, but the iPod Hard Drive may break! Finally, if you think you actually want to watch video on it, or like some of the additional features the Zune offers like an FM tuner, then by all means, go with the Zune! So far Zune Repair has been limited to the Zune LCD screen, everything else on it seems solid, but for the enthusiasts we can upgrade your Zune hard drive or your Zune battery.

  20. Neil says:

    @ ‘iPod Repair’:

    Don’t drive your car to work man, it may break down.

    @ ‘True Zune’:

    OSX is running at ZERO viruses in the wild dude, ZERO.
    XP has 140,000.

    Also, here we are in May 2007 and we find the ‘Zune’ has lost money from day one, as has the Xbox.

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