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New Zune on Monday? [updated x2, confirmed]

We’re hearing that Microsoft’s holding an event in Redmond on Monday to preview/announce a new Zune - most likely the flash-based one the company’s been hinting at for a while. No other details yet; if there’s something worth telling you about on Monday, we’ll let you know. (originally posted May 4, 2007, 4:09PM)

Updated May 7, 2007: The rumor turned out to be true. From what we understand, Microsoft previewed the new Zune to its favorite people (developers) today; the actual product rollout is coming at a later date. While we don’t yet know exactly what was shown, it appears to be on an excitement level roughly parallel to the first Zune: “not bad,” rather than “cool” or “wow.” This isn’t surprising, as Microsoft reserved the “wow” for Windows Vista; we’ll have to see whether any additional updates trickle out from the preview later today.

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Comments

1

In my best Matt Foley voice….

Well, whoop-de-freaking-do! :)

Posted by lancetx on May 4, 2007 at 8:30 PM (CDT)

2

If there’s something worth telling us about in Redmond, it would have to be Apple buying Bungie from MS and commandeering Halo 3 to fill the role that Halo 1 should have oh so many years ago. ;)

Realistically, does Microsoft think they have a chance in this market? They’re beginning to be seen as the corporate evil of technology (by those of us who don’t use Macs yet, I mean), and now they’re going to try and compete with Apple on Apple’s own turf?

If this sort of stuff keeps up, I wish Ballmer a long life and a long term as CEO of Microsoft.

Posted by Jeremy Avalon on May 4, 2007 at 10:24 PM (CDT)

3

First Jeremy i think everyone would agree it would be a fatal mistake for them to not try to compete with apple on their own turf after all i seem to remember an ad about a guy named mac and a fat old guy named PC. Second to be perfectly fair no one in their right mind wouldnt want to grab some of the market share from apple so do us a favor let’s get real.

Posted by Travis Pope on May 5, 2007 at 12:14 PM (CDT)

4

Your comments remind me of the smug remarks made by Netscape fans when Microsoft released Internet Explorer and by console gamers when Microsoft announced the X-Box. 

Well, boys, when Microsoft throws their corporate muscle (and money) into something, you better take it seriously.  They can afford to release one portable media player after another until one of them gets popular.  And when, not if, that happens, Apple has a serious fight on their hands.

Posted by Fred Maxwell on May 5, 2007 at 2:41 PM (CDT)

5

Let me guess. Zune Mini or Zune Nano.

Lets see how MS has innovated this time.

Posted by Gobo on May 5, 2007 at 4:02 PM (CDT)

6

I dont think Xbox has made MS any money yet…..

Posted by Chaz on May 5, 2007 at 4:19 PM (CDT)

7

I just bought two shuffles as birthday presents.  My wife likes hers.  She also has an older mini.  My daughter will probably be next in line for the shuffle (she also has a 60 GB video iPod). 

Any company can get into the fray.  But since the Zune was a bust; Vista was also a bust (MS increased their profits on Vista by going into their reserves); can we expect anything but something crappy from MS?  I hear that MS still loses money on the XBox.  Remember no company has deep enough pockets for continuous blunders.  Remember IBM?

Sorry Fred, MS muscle has turned to flab.  Big fat, slow, flabby MS.

Posted by Alan Smith on May 5, 2007 at 6:11 PM (CDT)

8

Any leakes on the zune Phone!

Posted by TheDon on May 5, 2007 at 8:55 PM (CDT)

9

Alan: MS also helped iRiver develop the current Consumer Reports flash-based DAP champ, the clix.

The Zune UI (formerly the lauded Toshiba Gigabeat S series UI) relying on Portable Media Center, is also robust enough to warrant more development. The overall product may have been a bust financially, and it definitely needs improvement, but it’s a heck of a great starting point.

Not everything they get involved with is ‘crappy’. coughXBoxcough ;)

Posted by Bunty on May 5, 2007 at 10:40 PM (CDT)

10

lol Alan Smith is clearly a fanboy. Vista is not a bust it is doing better than XP did and people that actually use the product usually like it. Of course you will get that, this is an apple site but I think it is sad that you are letting the apple group down by being so arrogant and stupid.lol
I will just like to see what would happen if say apple release another video games console, would all microsoft people say “oh just trying to cash in on microsofts success” I really doubt it.

Posted by greeny on May 6, 2007 at 9:15 AM (CDT)

11

MS might be loosing money on the xbox, but i guarantee that they are making money on the games and periferals

Posted by Loren on May 6, 2007 at 10:35 AM (CDT)

12

Microsoft is much more interested in owning a market than making a short-term profit.  That’s why they put so much effort into Internet Explorer - a product that they gave away in a successful bid to unseat Netscape as the #1 browser.

The iPod product line is great—I have a 60GB iPod with video and I love it.  But I would never be so foolish as to smugly assume that Microsoft’s efforts in this market will be unsuccessful.  They have a long history of successfully entering new (to them) markets.

Posted by Fred Maxwell on May 6, 2007 at 12:48 PM (CDT)

13

hopefully this next version will support rss feed enclosures for podcasts

Posted by kosso on May 6, 2007 at 6:46 PM (CDT)

14

Fred: When Microsoft throws their money at something, what they end up doing is making sure people know about it, not much else. Apple floundered under Sculley and Amelio primarily due to their (meaning Sculley’s) attempts to suck as much profit out of the Mac as possible. Microsoft provided a low-cost alternative that basically did anything the average consumer would have wanted to do on a Mac, whereas the Macintosh was geared towards high-tech, graphically intensive tasks, such as design or video processing. Ever since Jobs came back into power, Apple has been more consumer-oriented, and is beginning to utilise that to its advantage for Mac sales. I could point out several articles showing the present-day price differences between Apple and Dell hardware (in favor of the Macs, of course).

Microsoft does not have a history of entering new markets successfully (WinCE has less than 1% market share, I think?), it has a history of entering nonexistent markets… with the exception of Internet Explorer unseating Netscape, yes, but then what about Justice Department v. Microsoft? IE did not become top dog strictly by legal means.

The Xbox is not a runaway hit either - 10 million Xbox 360s in a year and half does not compare favorably to 4 million Wiis in two months.

Microsoft has always been purely a software company - Apple has always sold both software and hardware.

Loren: Yes, Microsoft’s profits on the Xbox are tied to its rather outrageous development licensing fees and its first-party peripheral management. The licensing has often been quoted by developers as being one of the banes of Xbox development, and is partially why the “killer apps” - namely, Halo and Gears of War - have been developed in-house at Microsoft Game Studios. Sony is in a similar, although less dire, predicament. (They are more receptive to third-party games.) Nintendo, on the other hand, is actively pursuing third-party development, especially indicated by their working with Unity.

Posted by Jeremy Avalon on May 6, 2007 at 7:09 PM (CDT)

15

Reading over what I’ve just posted, I should clarify the bit about software vs. software and hardware. Microsoft is attempting to compete with several companies at once in different areas, all of which are more focused and cohesive on their specific products. Apple sells computers and iPods (and now phones), Nintendo sells game systems, and Google sells advertising and provides Internet services. All three companies focus on what they do best, while Microsoft is attempting to match wits with all of them at once.

Posted by Jeremy Avalon on May 6, 2007 at 7:12 PM (CDT)

16

I’m looking forward to the 2nd Generation Zune. I would buy one now because I think the promise is there, but it’s still lacking something. I do not own an iPod.

Posted by Civisi on May 6, 2007 at 11:38 PM (CDT)

17

Also, I keep hearing how the iPod is so much better than the Zune. What gen iPod are we on now? 5th?  Give it a couple of generations and MS can have a good product…

Posted by Civisi on May 6, 2007 at 11:40 PM (CDT)

18

Whatever it is…... PLEASE have built-in Stereo Bluetooth….. PLEASE…. This is 2007 already!!

Posted by D on May 7, 2007 at 4:53 AM (CDT)

19

I saw “limited edition” pink Zunes for $220 this weekend.

Posted by Aceon6 in New England, USA on May 7, 2007 at 1:05 PM (CDT)

20

I bought a Zune this weekend because I’m sick of the Apple focus on phones and MACs. I’ve been patiently wanting for the 6g video Ipod, but still have no idea when it will be available.  When it is I’ll probably buy it, but I will have a benchmark to compare it to this time.  I wanted video and I don’t like the Video iPod.  I had no problems getting the Zune software installed and all the AAC files in my ITunes directory were sucked into the Zune library so quickly I didn’t realize it even happened. A few minutes later I was synced and listening to Pink Floyd.  The sound rivaled the iPod shuffle I have and was better than the 4th gen Ipod Photo I bought three years ago.  Later I dragged a few episodes of Scrubs into the Zune sync Window and they converted to Zune format in about 12 minutes per episode including the sync time to the Zune.  The 3” screen made viewing video a pleasure. Later I converted the Steve Jobs keynote speech video form the January MacWorld and watched it for the first time.  Apple (Steve) and all you fanboys do not underestimate the capability of the Zune as a platform.  Its not all there yet and I certainly have a wishlist, but I am impressed.  BTW, I got mine for $219 at CC.  For the price its a bargain.

Posted by audioguyBOB on May 7, 2007 at 1:42 PM (CDT)

21

Remember, that for every Zune sale, the music label Universal gets some cash. More cash from you after you already purchased music from the same music label. Who’s your daddy?

Posted by ikelleigh on May 7, 2007 at 2:50 PM (CDT)

22

I don’t buy it. First pronouncing the DJ-function and when the product arrives, it’s left out. That would have been an awesome feature! Guess they haven’t figured out how to compete against the iPod.

Posted by DJQubic on May 7, 2007 at 3:07 PM (CDT)

23

If they would ask me, I would know how! But on the other hand they don’t ask me. Perhaps they are constantly researching without getting the right specs to the market.

Posted by DJQubic on May 7, 2007 at 3:14 PM (CDT)

24

When I read the headline all I could think of was MS borrowing a certain Duran Duran song for the event ;)

Posted by David on May 7, 2007 at 3:36 PM (CDT)

25

“They can afford to release one portable media player after another until one of them gets popular.”

How is that any different than what Creative has done?  They must have released dozens of Zen models in the last five years.  Sooner or later one will get popular, right?

Just because you have money to waste doesn’t mean that it’s smart to waste it.

Posted by Mike on May 7, 2007 at 4:13 PM (CDT)

26

Can Microsoft compete in this market?  If you limit the scope of the market to hdd-based players, MSFT captured about 9% of the market in the first 6 months.  And, Apple had a 5-year head start.  Any company would be happy to have those kind of stats for just about any product release.

Posted by Dubya on May 7, 2007 at 6:10 PM (CDT)

27

“Your comments remind me of the smug remarks…”

When somebody points out a smug remark, why do they always follow that up with an even more smug remark of their own?

Posted by DBL on May 7, 2007 at 8:53 PM (CDT)

28

“Can Microsoft compete in this market?  If you limit the scope of the market to hdd-based players, MSFT captured about 9% of the market in the first 6 months.”

Was this the actual digital player using market, or the same channel stuffing market that they’ve been “selling” Windows Vista to?

If the Zune is REALLY selling that well, then why are most big box retail outlets displaying on the most out of the way shelf in the basement past a collapsed stairway in the bottom of filing cabinet marked ‘Beware of the Leopard’? :) (Thanks to Douglas Adams.)

Posted by DBL on May 7, 2007 at 8:58 PM (CDT)

29

“The Xbox is not a runaway hit either - 10 million Xbox 360s in a year and half does not compare favorably to 4 million Wiis in two months.”

Actually, that’s 5.84 million Wiis ending in the March Quarter :)

Posted by Jago on May 7, 2007 at 9:16 PM (CDT)

30

Reminds me of an amusing moment at the CompUSA liquidation last week.

So… last three days of the sale, which had been running for about six weeks. The MP3 section had been picked over. All the iPods were gone. All the Sansas were gone. All the Samsungs were gone. All of those funky Centon flash-based cubes were gone. All the Creative Zens were gone. *Everything* was gone…

...except for a stack of 6-7 Zunes that had been sitting there throughout the liquidation. Price had dropped to $176 each, and still no one was buying them.

Posted by Travis on May 8, 2007 at 12:52 PM (CDT)

31

Travis, I think that says it all!

Posted by Japester on May 9, 2007 at 11:00 PM (CDT)

32

AudioguyBOB: You have no idea what you’re talking about do you? You sucked in your AAC files so fast didn’t you! Not a chance. Do you know why I know that didn’t happen? Because the Zune Marketplace software converts the original AAC file into a Zune DRM form and it is incredibly slow - I know because I tested the functionality thoroughly. No way is this a leap forward. BTW - have you tried taking the converted files off the Zune Marketplace and played them on something other than the Zune - LOL

Posted by podacious on May 10, 2007 at 2:48 AM (CDT)

33

“...would all microsoft people say “oh just trying to cash in on microsofts success” I really doubt it.”

That is exactly right.  I don’t know where all of this negative energy comes from towards Microsoft.  Just because one if an iFan doesn’t mean they need to automatically trash talk everything Microsoft has to offer.  What no one seems to understand is that these companies aren’t out there to make you feel better about yourself they are there to make money.  I can’t believe some of you are so childish as to think that Apple making more money on the iPod is a personal victory.  Grow the hell up, in the end it just comes down to who has the better product and who wants to buy it.  I personally like the iPod. I really do, but it is NOT without its share of flaws and because this is an Apple website it seems that none of these flaws are mentioned.  It just seems like everyone here wants to bash Microsoft’s attempt at entering this market just because they are Microsoft.

Finally, Vista was not a bust.  It is a much better product than XP, and I prefer it to OSX.  I own a MacBook Pro that I choose to run Vista on, not because I think apple has a crappy product but because it really has more to offer. Just my opinion.

Posted by Adonis on June 16, 2007 at 4:24 PM (CDT)

34

Adonis,
”...because this is an Apple website it seems that none of these flaws are mentioned. “

iLounge is an independent site and we will point out flaws in any Apple product as we have done in the past.

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on June 16, 2007 at 5:09 PM (CDT)

35

I understand that it is an independent site, but it is an independent site geared towards apple.  Therefore the people posting are more often than not, Apple users.

I am not criticizing the website here, just that the users represented in this thread are generally biased.

Posted by Adonis on June 16, 2007 at 9:57 PM (CDT)

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