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Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer: Zune can beat iPod

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2006
News Categories: iPod

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says he can break the dominance of the iPod with the Zune media player that hits stores today. “We can beat them, but it’s not going to be easy,” Ballmer said. “The market will have two big players for a long time, us and Apple. Obviously we’re the David in this one. Apple’s the Goliath.” Analysts, however, say Microsoft will struggle to win sales. “They’re not going to take a lot of share from Apple,” said Matt Rosoff, an analyst at Directions. “If they get double-digit market share overall in a year they’ll be very pleased.” Microsoft may take 5 to 10 percent of the market in the first year, said Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray. Meanwhile, UBS AG analyst Benjamin Reitzes expects Apple to sell 15.6 million iPods this quarter, topping the record 14 million sold in the 2005 holiday season.

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Comments

21

I look at my 8gb red Nano and I can’t picture MS doing anything like it in three years, let alone one.

Posted by Brian English on November 14, 2006 at 1:57 PM (PDT)

22

Where are the Zune™ defenders? C’mon, I’m sure y’all’s got somethin’ 2 say!

Posted by ahMEmon on November 14, 2006 at 2:13 PM (PDT)

23

“Challenging Apple’s iPod, which controls 75 percent of the U.S. market for digital music players, may be tougher than it was for Microsoft to break Sony Corp.‘s hold on the video-game console market, said Microsoft Vice President J Allard, who owns nine iPods and is leading the effort to sell Zune.”

That was one of the statements taken from the Bloomberg article. This is from a guy who owns NINE iPods!! How much faith does he REALLY have in this project? And Steve Ballmer is just totally living on some other planet somewhere when he talks about Microsoft and Apple being the two big players in the market for “a long time”. Don’t know what drug he is taking but I’d say he should find another doctor.

Posted by Tenchi211 in California on November 14, 2006 at 2:16 PM (PDT)

24

If MS wants to beat the iPod they’ll have to do much more than Zune. Most people I talk to have not heard of it as of yet. Microsoft is making even more of a fool of themselves. The only player out there other than the iPod that I think would be worth getting is the Zen Vision. But I’d much rather have an iPod. There’s nothing like it. MS justs needs to figure that out and try fixing the bugs that’ll soon, if not already, be plaguing Vista.

Posted by ddsd on November 14, 2006 at 3:09 PM (PDT)

25

I think what Steves Jobs said were the wisest words said. He stated that the iPod is still to this day a great concept being that it is all so simple. He then commented on the Zune saying it didn’t pose too much of ta threat “I don’t like the idea of the bluetooth feature in the Zune, by the time you have the transfer going i bet theat girl on the other table will have finished her coffee and walked out.”

It is biased coming from the CEO of Apple however if you ask me, an average consumer, I would buy the iPod because of its simplicity and style; the ideas on the Zune seem a bit false.

Posted by Eddie '92 on November 14, 2006 at 3:26 PM (PDT)

26

God, I hope in 5 years time we don’t end up like people on a forum 5 years back just after they released the first iPod, saying it’ll never take off :D

Posted by Will on November 14, 2006 at 4:54 PM (PDT)

27

God, I hope in 5 years time we don’t end up like people on a forum 5 years back just after they released the first iPod, saying it’ll never take off :D

BINGO!

Posted by iJay on November 14, 2006 at 5:12 PM (PDT)

28

ZUNE will get pop because it’s not the only ZUNE 30GB version Microsoft releasing. Possibely it(ZUNE) will come in small form factor like ipod mini or nano. I beleive people will attract to buy this. BTW this 30GB ZUNE is not that bad what peoples thinking(remember it’s come with it’s own music download store). To me sound quality is plus and wifi,fm radio, large screen(also monthely subscription service is great). Now welcome to ZUNE and it will grab some market share(maybe 25% to 30%).

Posted by Eskay on November 14, 2006 at 5:36 PM (PDT)

29

From TUAW, this is funny:

http://www.tuaw.com/2006/11/14/found-footage-zune-upstaged-by-a-shuffle/

Posted by bee on November 14, 2006 at 5:38 PM (PDT)

30

The Zune reminds me of an exhibit at the Smithsonian of a US space capsule that was docked with a Russian capsule. The US station was high tech and sleek looking for it’s time, (like an iPod) and the Russian station, while it probably did it’s job, looked low tech, clumsy like a boiler (Zune).

Posted by birdkeeper on November 14, 2006 at 5:47 PM (PDT)

31

Oh yeah, I can’t wait for the Zune Micro or whatever they’re going to call it. How big will it be this time, five times as big as the 1G iPod, and this time it comes in puke green too, right?

Big whoop, larger screen, but same resolution. And what’s with the fact that you can’t use a Zune as an external hard drive?

Posted by Microsoftie on November 14, 2006 at 6:13 PM (PDT)

32

When’s the last time Ballmer actually had a clue much less an original idea?!

Posted by kaioslider on November 14, 2006 at 6:25 PM (PDT)

33

Went to the store today to visit the Zune in its early grave…while the rest of the DAPs have shrunken and gotten sleaker looking, it stands out all goofy-like and brown in the display. I almost felt sorry for it. But then I remembered it deletes my CC’d songs without permission….

Posted by Laer on November 14, 2006 at 9:34 PM (PDT)

34

“...there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

Posted by ahMEmon on November 14, 2006 at 10:33 PM (PDT)

35

Apple was just as bad with their first ipod, give it a few years.. Apples had 5 years of practice to make it this far and good.

Posted by Brad J on November 14, 2006 at 11:00 PM (PDT)

36

Whatever this guy is on it must be good. I just saw a Zune at Circuit City and tried to work it. All I have to say, is for an average guy, the controls are way too small and I found myself moving the thing around to get a decent grip of it. No name knockoffs have better controls than this.

Posted by rebel_519 on November 14, 2006 at 11:54 PM (PDT)

37

Ok…I admit it…tonight I played with a brown Zune at Best Buy.

Surprisingly, the brown wasn’t as bad as the JPEGs and web descriptions make it seem like it should be. With the matte-like finish and the greenish tinge along the edge of the face it has a sort of ethereal glow to the thing; not exactly pretty, but not dog-butt lookalike either. Actually, it’s kinda neat-looking. And thankfully not even all that ‘70s retro.

The UI isn’t bad (Windows Portable Media derived, so I’m a bit use to this variant from my own experiences with my latest iRiver and Gigabeat S players), but the round selection circle definitely sucks for this well-traveled iPod user; I kept wanting to scroll wheel the thing. Once I mentally told myself to stop trying to run the thing like an iPod, things got better. In general though, this selection control is pretty cheezy, IMO; cheap feeling plastic that doesn’t look very good. But the integral buttons to the left and right work well and are actually aesthetically pleasing to my eyes (surprised was I).

Sound quality is very good; I didn’t have comparable music to listen to (or my 5.5G iPod with me), but suffice to say that it certainly seems as great-sounding as the Gigabeat S is, and I think the Tosh is superior-sounding to my workhorse iPod. The sample vids actually look extremely good on this thing; the bigger screen IS far easier on my older eyes that the 5G’s too-puny screen. But it still doesn’t come close to my PSP’s LCD, even with that thing’s stupid dead pixel (ah, Sony…and now we find out that your brand-spankin’ new PS3 really DOESN’T work with lots of PS2 games like you promised…but I digress).

I didn’t try the Wi-Fi feature with the black Zune on display next to it (besides, I think they had preloaded the same media content anyways). But pics looked really, REALLY good, and frankly, I’ve now confirmed that I truly like having a background image better than the plain vanilla white on my HD iPods.

For a 1.0 product it’s really not all that bad. But it’s also not great enough to convince me to actually BUY one, at least not at this price point. My Gigabeat S is variety enough whenever I stray from my iPods. I have to admit I actually LIKE this hardware, but Ballmer dude, no way is this first-try going to be killing any iPods. But I do suspect iPod backlashers and anti-Apple luddites will find little issue with yer new device and flock to the Zune.

One more thing: with one hour left before closing at the Target store in the same complex, they were completely sold out of the brown Zunes(!?!), and only had one black version left in the storage case. They DID have about a dozen white ones still available. The floor rep at the Best Buy store said sales there were just as brisk. Sounds like the first day sales should be pretty good.

Now the hard part—keeping it going—comes next.

Posted by flatline response on November 15, 2006 at 1:01 AM (PDT)

38

STYLE OVER CONTENT
Ipod, that is!

Ipod sounds worse than any half decent MP3 player on the market.

reviewers push buttons. If they listened to music they would probably own a Meizu, iriver or such.

ipod is a style accessory for isheep. baaaaaa…..

Posted by telemachus on November 15, 2006 at 4:29 AM (PDT)

39

I think Microsoft is missing the point; The iPod might be the icon it is because of the hardware design, BUT the reason I bought one, and the reason it works so well is the software integration.

Until Microsoft can beat iTunes I doubt people are going to “switch” to Zune from iPod, so they’ll only be gaining market share from non-iPod players anyway.

As a Mac user I don’t have much choice, with the Zune being Windows only, so I don’t really care how good it is; it’s just not an option for me.

Posted by Levi on November 15, 2006 at 4:37 AM (PDT)

40

From Yahoo News:
“Zune music player’s slow first day no surprise”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061115/tc_nm/microsoft_zune_dc

Teehee

Posted by Laer on November 15, 2006 at 10:59 AM (PDT)

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