Zune VS iPod: No Contest This Year

Nov 6th, 2006 | By | Category: Digital Music, iPods & Portable Media Players

Zune Ipod

Another research group is predicting a slow start for Microsoft’s Zune portable media player. According to Gartner, the Zune is unlikely to find much success during the 2006 holiday season.

“Microsoft‚Äôs claimed differentiation for Zune is based on applying Web 2.0 community concepts to the music experience,” notes Gartner. “With the inclusion of an integrated Wi-Fi/antenna, Zune users can exchange or share songs by transferring them to each other. Whilst Gartner believes this is a good, high level strategy that is potentially market leading, it is not clear that the scenario Microsoft describes is all that compelling. Consumers will not be able to buy songs or videos from the Zune Marketplace direct from the device. Instead users ‚Äúshare‚Äù songs and shared songs do not remain on the receiving device permanently; rather they can be played three times in three days.”

Gartner notes that Microsoft has failed to put a dent in Apple’s content lead.

“Most notably absent are any deals with studios for content, whether audio or video,” they note. “The lack of video in particular is surprising given Microsoft‚Äôs early lead in video support with its portable media centre (PMC). The company has some content on MSN Video, which is not being leveraged by Zune.”

Gartner goes on to note that Microsoft’s scorched-earth approach to compatibility means that Zune’s won’t be able to play tracks that users have previously purchased.

“Microsoft is starting from square one with a music service that will be incompatible with existing Plays For Sure-based services such as Napster. The company is also preventing Plays For Sure hardware made by companies such as Creative, Samsung and SanDisk, among others, from working with the Zune Marketplace.”

Because of these issues, Gartner is pessimistic about the near-term prospecs for the Zune.

“By the end of the year, there will be the iPod/iTunes, a diminished Plays for Sure and the Sony Connect/Walkman ecosystems and a very immature Zune MP3 player,” according to Gartner. “Microsoft will consolidate the Plays For Sure market share under Zune. However, there are doubts that it can generate enough excitement in the marketplace to create a real Christmas season race with Apple. Beyond this period though, Microsoft has a chance.”

via IT Wire

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