Checks with retail stores show little Zune awareness

Salespeople are not consistently recommending Microsoft’s Zune player, and are overwhelmingly suggesting the iPod to customers, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. “We recently spoke with 40 big-box retailers to gauge which MP3 players salespeople were suggesting for more than $200 (i.e. the 30GB iPod, Zune or others),” Munster wrote in a report today. “We found that store clerks only recommended the Zune 8% of the time, while they recommended the iPod 75% of the time. In fact, some MP3 player salespeople had not even heard of the Zune, despite the fact that they sold it in their store.”

Munster also noted that the Zune has fallen down Amazon’s top-selling MP3 players list. “During the Zune’s launch week (on 11/16) the black model reached the 7th spot on Amazon’s top-selling MP3 players list,” Munster wrote. “But by 11/20 the player fell to the 13th spot, with the brown model at 22nd and the white model at 42nd. By 11/27 the black Zune was ranked 18th. The buzz that Microsoft was able to generate for the Zune’s launch clearly helped the player in its first week, but much of the publicity took the form of Zune/iPod comparisons… Due to the less than favorable reception, we believe the Zune will not materially impact iPod sales in the December 06 quarter.”

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