Analyst: Microsoft’s Zune player underwhelming | iLounge News


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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“I’ll be interested to see whether MS try to seriously undercut the iPod on price.”

Cost is going to be important. There’s a reason why Win95 equalled the death of MacOS as a major contender in the world of computers, and it boiled down to “good enough, cheap enough”. This could be their angle here.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on August 30, 2006 at 8:25 PM (CDT)


It’s not clear to me that this analyst has even seen or used the Zune.  He’s speculating based on nothing more than what each of us would be able to dig up via a quick Google of Zune.

I don’t have the highest of expectations for the Zune, but I’m looking forward to seeing what it has to offer.

Posted by Talking Madness in Los Angeles on August 30, 2006 at 8:39 PM (CDT)


How did Shaw Wu get hired as an anal.yst? I could do this myself for free as it doesn’t take much time to compile a few posts together.

Posted by Mike on August 30, 2006 at 9:44 PM (CDT)



Posted by brad on August 30, 2006 at 9:50 PM (CDT)


a) shaw wu is always wrong

b) the ipod is also overpromising and underdelivering. yes i have an ipod, but really only because at the time it was the best option for a 60gb player.

Posted by mrmojorisingi on August 30, 2006 at 10:28 PM (CDT)


one thing i actually really liked (according to pictures from ilounge) about the zune is the way it handles music organization.  rather than going to music, then going to album or artist or genre, you go to music, and you can scroll horizontally through those categories.  that seems really slick and streamlined.

im not all that excited about anything else it has to offer though

Posted by steve on August 31, 2006 at 12:28 AM (CDT)


Hi folks,

the comments from germany: I’ve have had a lot of mp3 players over the years since my first one in 1999 (Sony, Creative Jukebox, two iRiver, which still belong to me, Creative). The newest on is this list is an iPod Nano. It is the best one I’ve ever had. It is very easy to use (even my wife managed to ues it right away), its design is beautiful and the software very easy to use (Windows Mediaplayer anyone). Of cause, there a flaws, like the durability and the sound of the iRiver is better, but the overall package is great. If Microsoft isn’t able to provide something fancy (the Zune doesn’t look like that), change or improve the software (no WMP 11 is no major improvement) the Zune won’t be as good as the iPod - sorry to say. Even the Samsung YP-Z5 has limited success, although it is the better device (battery live, better screen, durable frame), but is not as easy to use (by far). I think the easy usage is the key to success…..

Posted by marc on August 31, 2006 at 4:20 AM (CDT)


“Microsoft fumbled when not making the Zune’s control pad functional like the iPod’s click wheel”

what? i’d imagine that they were trying to avoid being sued!!

Posted by sighte on August 31, 2006 at 5:05 AM (CDT)


For the love of all that is good, no more bloody Shaw Wu related newsposts, please!

Posted by diss on August 31, 2006 at 6:39 AM (CDT)


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

Funny how other people are idiots when they disagree with us and enlightened when they agree.

Nim’s tone may be a bit direct, but I agree with the gist of his post - the iPod’s success has more to do with marketing than with functionality.  By that I don’t mean it’s a bad design.  But I do believe that there are other players out there that probably surpass it for some specs.

Posted by Daniel on August 31, 2006 at 8:34 AM (CDT)


The reason why Nim is an idiot is the way he puts it, he makes the iPod sound like a piece of shit. Simply put, it’s not. Although, it could have better audio components, etc, overall, it’s a great MP3 player. Sure, there maybe other players that surpass the iPod in audio quality or some other aspect, but no other player has been able to beat the easy to use combo of iPod + iTunes.

Posted by Nobody on August 31, 2006 at 10:32 AM (CDT)


I think apple just want to make money and not offering such great features line on ipod for costumers. Because ipod+ itunes is symble to make money. Now we seeing all tv shows are only for U.S costumers none of for other countries costumers. It’s same with music videos like most are only for U.S. So to me if some peoples appericiate for great features added in itunes like tv shows and music videos and upcoming full length movies download service which will be avalaible for only U.S costumers. I don’t think so it’s huge advantages to buy ipod for other country peoples who get limited features in itune and the rest for only for U.S. Think about it which mp3 player and online music store are best for U.S and other countries?

Posted by Eskay on August 31, 2006 at 6:57 PM (CDT)


Apple has to do a little something called make an agreement to provide services such as TV shows and music videos in other countries. You can’t just magically sell TV shows all around the world. That’s why the iTMS started in the US, and once Apple made deals with record labels in other countries, it spread internationally.

Posted by Nobody on August 31, 2006 at 8:04 PM (CDT)


I love my iPod(s), but I agree with nim that the hardware is bad. I own 4 iPods and I have had serious problems with 3 (incl. battery and hard drive failures). I wish there was a good alternative, but I’ll probably end up buying another one. I just like smart playlists too much.

Posted by klwdallas on August 31, 2006 at 8:09 PM (CDT)


I also have a funny analyst story. Yesterday a well respected analyst in the mobile devices field asked me why we hide our password with asterisks. When I explained, he insisted that he didn’t agree with doing that.

Posted by klwdallas on August 31, 2006 at 8:12 PM (CDT)


Simply put, Ipod RULES, Microsoft & Zune SUCKS!! Long live Apple.

Posted by rob on September 1, 2006 at 10:12 AM (CDT)


Again it’s start from apple fav sites to rnu the ZUNE rptn which is not release yet and it’s very easy to do this way. Toshiba gigabeat S or ZUNE is rejected as Microsoft media device. Which is rdls because the pict we seeing it’s not Microsoft media device. It’s gigabeat S or Zune. Anyhow i will wait for Microsoft media device and i won’t buy ipod. Iam tired to see it’s only outlook grace and not very good on features side. I realy want compare this time before i buy.

Posted by Eskay on September 2, 2006 at 12:43 PM (CDT)


Eskay, you make no sense whatsoever. How is this not a Microsoft Media Device? It’s been confirmed by Microsoft, and it’s called the MICROSOFT Zune. That’s right, MICROSOFT Zune. Not Samsung Zune, not Creative Zune, not Sandisk Zune, but MICRO-freaking-SOFT Zune.

Posted by Nobody on September 2, 2006 at 4:12 PM (CDT)


LOL i think somebody didn’t read carefully because it’s registered as Toshiba 1089; the various photos of the Zune body and interface certainly ring of the Toshiba Gigabeat S.

Posted by Eskay on September 2, 2006 at 6:14 PM (CDT)


That’s because Toshiba is making the device for Microsoft. It’s not like Microsoft is going to make the thing themselves. It’s still called the Microsoft Zune, not the Toshiba Zune or whatever. Same thing with the iPod, the components are made from other companies, but it’s still called the Apple iPod.

Posted by Nobody on September 2, 2006 at 7:03 PM (CDT)

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