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September 17 2006

How does Microsoft keep getting it so wrong?

Back in July, I told you all of Microsoft’s entry in to the MP3 player market with the Zune, well, now more details have surfaced.

Remember that back on the 12th, Apple unveiled all their new iPod goodness, and in usual Steve Jobs fashion, you could buy the items that same day via the Apple Store or their retail outlets. This is almost always how it goes and it demonstrates amazing planning and logistics.

On the 14th, Microsoft officially unveiled the Zune. No release date. No final price. But hey, it’ll be out some time this holiday season…maybe. (lets remember this is the same company that has given us how many release dates for Vista?) Yes, it does support a good range of file formats (h.264, MP3, AAC and WMA), has built in WiFi for sharing data between Zune units, will (maybe) support Live Anywhere, and could have lots of nifty features down the road…maybe. There is one nifty feature where you can do a Zune-to-Zune transfer of a full-length track for 3 plays or 3 days, whichever comes first, so they can try it out.

What we have here is an amazing example of different corporate identities. Apple presents a hip, on time, well planned, in touch friend to the consumer. Microsoft shows an out-of-touch, ivory tower, corporate decesions making process. When Apple has a press conference, you know the items are ready to go, the information has been controlled and the majority of the news is truly exciting. Microsoft seems to have a press conference for the hell of it, has no clue when items will come out and we almost always know all the features before hand.

Apple gives us snazzy colored iPods.
iPod Nanos

Microsoft gives us black, white and…brown?
Zune Colors

Is it just me, or does this thing look like really cheap plastic?
Zune look

The short version of all this? I’m sticking to the iPod as far as I can tell. There is nothing to the Zune to make me excited enough to jump ship. I don’t like the look, I hate the name, and oh yeah, they kept that god awful logo.

Zune Logo

Even the box bores me!
Zune box



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