Microsoft is releasing Zune any day now. Personally I have no plan to give up my Apple iPod just yet – although the bigger screen looks pretty nice.
I’m on my 3rd iPod now – a black video 60GB iPod. I’ve got iPod adapters for my home, my cars, and listen to 85+ GB of music through iTunes everyday at work.
Zune, from what I’ve read, is getting slammed. So far I’ve heard: it supports WiFi (neat, but so what), does not support WMA DRM9, can’t import from iTunes, and that there are no hardware adapters (these will come). As a consumer I’m sorry Microsoft, you’re going to have to make it unbelievably easy for me to change devices.
As someone on the outside that knows how Microsoft works I’m extremely jealous of what the Zune team gets to do. For example:
No market share – starting at zero means that doubling and tripling your market share is easy to do. Selling one is 100% more than zero.
No Expectations – everyone is pretty much writing off Zune; there are no high and mighty standards or expectation Zune has to meet. So in many ways they have more freedom to innovate. Anything innovative they do will be seen as just that: innovative and they’ll get credit for it. In some ways this may also mean their competitors ignore them (that’s a good thing).
Smart people – a lot of the same people that pulled off the Xbox are now working on Zune. We know what happened with Xbox…
Lots of reach – ok, lots of money to throw at marketing and different ways to talk to people.
Free Press – Sure much of the press is negative, but as has been said before: any publicity is good publicity.
In other words Zune has a huge opportunity here. As someone who is increasingly becoming more interested in the business of technology I can’t help but feel a pang of jealously. Zune is a fantastic opportunity for Microsoft and I’m personally excited to watch the story develop – not to mention that Microsoft has a pretty good track record of coming from behind in existing markets.