Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Is Microsoft's Zune the iPod killer? Probably not.

Coming up in November, just in time for that wonderful Christmas buying season, Microsoft will have available what they are referring to as "the iPod killer." Actually, "iPod Killer" is a much better name, in my opinion, but they are calling it the ever edgy-- Zune. Why is it edgy? It has a "z" in it, that's why.

I'm not quite sure that Microsoft really knows what they are doing with this. They are about five generations late as in Apple has already updated the iPod five times not including adding new models like the mini, nano and shuffle. That tells me that they didn't quite see the writing on the wall when the iPod crashed through it.

And in reality the problem that Microsoft is facing isn't the iPod, it's iTunes. The fact of the matter is that iTunes is what got me to buy an iPod. I couldn't listen to all of the cool songs that I had purchased unless I had an iPod. So a shuffle was mine.

See, iTunes is like a crack dealer. Every week it gives you a little taste with a free song. Then while you are listening to your satellite radio(terrestrial radio is so over) you hear a song on the 80's channel that you remember loving but never knew who performed it. You need that fix again and iTunes pops up on your desktop with exactly what you need, baby.

So the iPod is half the battle. But wait, some believe that Microsoft might buy you out of iTunes. To me that tells me that they are admitting a bit of a defeat, but that also means they are going to have to work super hard at creating a service similar to iTunes in quality but in much less time. Apple has been developing it for... Well, they just released version 7.

Personally, I don't think it will beat out the iPod or iTunes. I almost think that it's impossible. The only thing this Zune contraption has over the iPod is WiFi as in Bluetooth capability. What Microsoft is raving about is the capability of two users connecting to one another and swapping a song and from that song the user who didn't pay for it can play it three times so they can figure out if they want to buy it.

Cool ideas but neither of them are things that Apple can't do with the iPod. I've also heard rumors that Apple has patented a possible design for a music player that has a full face touch screen. Meaning that when playing music the buttons will be on the screen, but when watching a video, the whole screen would be showing the video. Think about the possible screen size on an iPod if you could eliminate the scroll wheel.

The bottom line with music players and iTunes and podcasting (which Microsoft mentions nothing about), Apple is on the cutting edge of creativity. Their computers are hot, their operating systems make you want to spend the day poking around inside them and when it comes to artistry and creativity, Microsoft is trying to figure out that math. And that's not what it's about.

The only thing Microsoft could do to get into the market is sell the Zune for $99 instead of what is projected to be $250-$399. Sell it for a loss and hope to make it up with your iTunes-like music service and hope the public doesn't go nuts when the second version of the device is three times the price.

Let's not forget that Apple just updated the iPod Shuffe and Nano, but not the big dog iPod video. Who knows, by the time Microsoft unleashes the Zune, Apple could slip in a new iPod with similar features and crush it. And, man, would that crush it.


Travis said...

My goodness, you are the biggest geek I know.

Does Apple pay you for this?

BRATCH said...

Think about it, it's just common sense. Besides, you don't even own an Apple computer or an iPod so you have no opinion.

The whole point of this is that Microsoft is trying to come out with a device to overthrow a device and service that has been around for like eight years or something like that.

And in order to possibly beat the service and device that has been around for that long, they are going to buy you out of that service because they have enough money too.

If you can do it, I guess that's fine, but it's a little silly.

Travis said...

Yep, it's silly. It's never worked for Microsoft before.

or has it...

You're right, I don't have an opinion about Apples or iPods. I just have an opinion that you're a geek.

By the way, I caught Weird Al's newest video this morning White and Nerdy, set to "Ridin' Dirty." I have to admit that I'm a geek because I still find Weird Al funny.

And I HATE, H A T E, "ridin' Dirty." In fact I just loathe rap music altogether. It gets worse all the time.

BRATCH said...

Never heard of Ridin' Dirty, I listen to XM radio and it's Ridin' Dirty free.

Travis said...