Analyst: Microsoft’s Zune player underwhelming | iLounge News

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Analyst: Microsoft’s Zune player underwhelming

Microsoft’s Zune digital media player appears to be “another classic case of overpromising and underdelivering” by the software giant, according to American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu. “While we have great respect for Microsoft, we are frankly underwhelmed by the much-hyped Zune device,” Wu said in a research note today. “Microsoft had hinted of an all-new design from the ground up, but from our analysis, it appears that the Zune is essentially a repackaged Toshiba Gigabeat that has seen limited success. Moreover, the software is similar to the Windows Mobile OS licensed to its hardware ‘partners’. At this point, we believe this could end up being another classic case of overpromising and underdelivering by Microsoft.”

Wu said Microsoft fumbled when not making the Zune’s control pad functional like the iPod’s click wheel. “Like the Chocolate phone from LG and other vendors, the Zune includes a fake click wheel that does not scroll nor is touch pressure sensitive making navigation difficult, particularly for users with large music, video, and photo libraries,” Wu said. “We find it interesting Microsoft also opted to replicate an iPod-look like most others, but failed in replicating one key piece of the unique iPod experience with its scrolling click wheel and powerful database engine. We believe this key ‘look-and-feel’ feature may be difficult to replicate without infringing on Apple’s extensive patent portfolio.”

Wu said he continues to believe that creating a complete device-software solution similar to Apple’s iPod and iTunes is nearly impossible. “Replicating the ease-of-use and experience of iPod + iTunes is a difficult endeavor, not to mention likely to infringe on Apple’s patents,” Wu said. “In our opinion, Sony has come the closest in creating a pleasant experience with its Walkman cell phones, but its success has had little to no impact on Apple (likely because customers use the Walkman phones mostly as cell phones).”

In addition, the Zune player will likely only have success against Microsoft’s own partners, according to Wu. “To us the portable media market is divided into two camps—iPod + iTunes (the de facto standard) and Windows Media,” he said. “We believe Zune will likely see some success due to Microsoft’s strong brand name and strong marketing effort. However, we believe its success will likely come at an expense and be limited by its lack of differentiation vs. other Windows players (CREAF, SNDK, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, iRiver, Archos, and others).”

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Comments

1

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - can someone please tell me where the job-board for ana-lysts is? The job basically seems to be centered around telling the obvious to people with too little time to look around for themselves.

Posted by Bad Beaver on August 30, 2006 at 11:08 AM (PDT)

2

iLound needs to modify its filters. Or is ANA_Lyst really such a dirty word? Mentioning it in the comment gets one the “no go” screen.

Posted by Bad Beaver on August 30, 2006 at 11:10 AM (PDT)

3

I love ana lysts.

Wow!  I always wondered why sometimes my comments couldn’t be submitted.  I didn’t realize that they were being restricted by filters.

Anyway, underwhelming, definitely seems to be the correct word.

Posted by dodo on August 30, 2006 at 11:15 AM (PDT)

4

Looking closely, Microsoft hasn’t had significant success in new products outside of Xbox. Everything else that sustains them is “old news” - Windows and Office, which only sell due to momentum and ubiquity - quality has little to do with it in 2006.

They have morphed into a company that is a prisoner of their past, now doomed to a life of eternal maintenance. Innovation? Don’t make me laugh.

Posted by BradPDX in Portland, OR USA on August 30, 2006 at 11:42 AM (PDT)

5

anti zune propaganda, never would have expected this, especially from a site starting with the letter i

Posted by Julie on August 30, 2006 at 11:56 AM (PDT)

6

Microsoft has a good chance of eventually succeeding at being on par with IPOD partly because IPOD is a very badly designed piece of hardware. Both from hardware and software point of view.(Especially the IPOD flash based players) The only real reason for its popularity is excellent visual design and marketing.
Which Microsoft is capable of, especially the makreting part.
So who knows maybe they’ll be successfull.

Posted by Nim on August 30, 2006 at 12:01 PM (PDT)

7

Well put, BradPX! ;0)

Posted by ahMEmon on August 30, 2006 at 12:09 PM (PDT)

8

Oh Nim, do us a favour and go shoot yourself in the backyard or something, but spare us your baseless trolling.

Posted by Bad Beaver on August 30, 2006 at 12:16 PM (PDT)

9

I can’t wait till ilounge can review this crap device that will be horrible and break!

Posted by Eric Lewis on August 30, 2006 at 12:18 PM (PDT)

10

Why should they review when they can bash it 3 months prior to release?

Posted by Julie on August 30, 2006 at 12:34 PM (PDT)

11

Nim (compoop?), Look at the brightside, if Microsquish releases the Zune by X-Mas then they will hit the clearance shelves just in time for the Valentines day rush…

Posted by VITO on August 30, 2006 at 12:53 PM (PDT)

12

va-por.

say it with me.

Posted by OnlyShawn on August 30, 2006 at 1:02 PM (PDT)

13

“Nim (compoop?), Look at the brightside, if Microsquish releases the Zune by X-Mas then they will hit the clearance shelves just in time for the Valentines day rush…”

LOL they can hit the clearance shelf at walmart and in a couple of years they will hit the dollar store!

Posted by Eric Lewis on August 30, 2006 at 1:09 PM (PDT)

14

I was amazed to read that the scroll wheel on the Zune or that new Chocolate phone dont actually work. What kind of crud is that.

I agree, this thing is gonna tank big time.

Posted by unreal on August 30, 2006 at 1:42 PM (PDT)

15

It’s quite obvious Julie/Nim are the same person, since both are trolls, and both are too ignorant to look around first. If you actually read, the analyst is not associated with iLounge #####. You can even find previews of the Zune and its interface in the Backstage area.

And Nim, since when was Microsoft good at visual design? Last time, I checked, Windows XP looks horrible (although Vista might look good)

Posted by Nobody on August 30, 2006 at 2:00 PM (PDT)

16

Now i know why these peoples known as ipod fans. BTW actual product is not released yet and CNET editor James Kim said in his note about zune. He said zune prod(Zune picture) showing as Toshiba ****** which is more like Toshiba Gigabeat S or Zune not Microsoft media device. So stay tune iam pretty sure it’s not the Microsoft media device it’s just another Toshiba Gigabeat. I think Microsoft media device will be more cool than upcoming ipod.

Posted by Eskay on August 30, 2006 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

17

Wow, how can you even say that, for all you know, Apple could make a new iPod that looks better and has more features than the Zune.

Posted by Nobody on August 30, 2006 at 3:17 PM (PDT)

18

I don’t think it will possible even with upcoming ipod because itunes won’t offer subscription service and synec with media center recorded tv prog. Also fm radio and synes with multiple pcs. It’s only possible with WMA side media players. So don’t understimate upcoming Microsoft media device and if the coolness is fact to sell more n more ipods. Then it’s always possible we will se more cool device than ipod.

Posted by Eskay on August 30, 2006 at 3:59 PM (PDT)

19

Who said the Zune will be able to sync with multiple computers? There’s a reason Apple made it so you can’t sync with multiple computers: to prevent filesharing. Omg, FM radio! That’s the reason why I got an iPod, so I can stop listening to the crap on the radio. Half of the sh*t I hear on the radio is rap/crap, either that, or it’s advertisments or talk shows. And out of all the people I know and my parents know, only one has a XP Media Center PC, so I highly doubt half the people out there care for syncing with Media Center when most people don’t even own a Media Center PC.

Posted by Nobody on August 30, 2006 at 4:18 PM (PDT)

20

has anyone stated how much a Zune is going to cost? I’ll be interested to see whether MS try to seriously undercut the iPod on price. If the Zune retailed for a decent amount of money less than an iPod, it’ll be appealing to the mom’n'pops. The fact that it’s all plastic means the components may be cheaper to manufacture.

Posted by Lawrence Mikkelsen in New Zealand on August 30, 2006 at 4:43 PM (PDT)

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