Lessons Of Zune

Dec 11th, 2006 | By | Category: Digital Music, iPods & Portable Media Players

Jupiter Research’s Michael Gartenberg has an interesting post with his thoughts on what Microsoft should learn from the Zune.

He makes four main points.

  • Zune lacks elegance ‚Äì It‚Äôs actually not bad looking device but put it next to a 30gb iPod as every reviewer has and it looks and feels clunky by comparison.
  • The Price is Wrong – While Microsoft priced Zune at $249 and losing money at that price all that did was bring them to Apple‚Äôs price point for a unit with no cachet. Let‚Äôs face it, Apple and iPod are strong premium brands for consumers. Zune is not. It‚Äôs hard to price yourself the same as a BMW when you‚Äôre an Hyundai.
  • Need for a Flash Player ‚Äì Nano is the most popular iPod sold so why take on the market with a 30gb hard drive player? There really needs to be a Zune flash player ASAP.
  • Zune doesn‚Äôt feel complete ‚Äì Zune needs to get some premium video content into Zune marketplace. Of course, there also needs to be an integrated podcast client. Lack of Vista support will no doubt be fixed before January 30th, but the reports that Zune didn‚Äôt work on Vista made Redmond look silly.
  • Get Someone From MSFT on the Road ‚Äì One of the worst parts of launch was watching Microsoft let others take the Zune message to the media.

Gartenberg’s points are excellent, but Microsoft needs to go further. Even before the Zune made its debut, it was clear that there were multiple things that Microsoft needs to do to fix the Zune. Several of these issues are very important for Microsoft to address, if they want the Zune to get anywhere.

Key among these are getting rid of the point purchasing system and making the wireless capabilities useful. As it is now, wireless capabilities are the key selling point of the Zune (Welcome to the Social….) but they are so limited as to be useless.

No Responses to “Lessons Of Zune”

  1. Mark says:

    Being in my late 40’s I can not but reflect on how the behavior of MicroSoft seems strangly familiar. In fact, they [MSFT] see to have become like the giant that they put down when they were David. This article sums up the problems with Zune nicely. However, this is only symptomatic of MSFT’s general state as a giant in the software industry. Time for MSFT to reread book on how they [MSFT] beat IBM and left Apple in their dust during the 80’s . Until they do some hard core sole searching they will continue to make similar errors … that is until the new David puts them down.

  2. Jane Quatam says:

    Zune will likely be remembered as the Edsel of mp3 players. Zune and Vista are 2 sides of the same coin, boring, inefficent and overpriced and underfeatured. Microsoft has peaked, the X-box flounders and is sold below cost to try to steal marketshare. No one wants Office 2007, MSN search is losing money. If the server business begins to slip to Linux in a serious way, they would need to change their business model in a hurry. The big 3 pillars that hold Microsoft afloat on a a sea of cash are Operating systems; Vista won’t be a big deal here, it will only pick up fees from new computer sales and a few geeks and a bunch of consultants who probably get it for free. Server software, probably its current strongest position. Office software – nobody wants to learn a new version of Office and pay for a new version of Office when the old one still works.

    So these will be interesting days for Microsoft, lets hope they can invent something new, but from the 5 year development cycle of Vista I’d say creativity is not a prized asset in Redmond.

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