Top of mind

Nothing deep, just things on movies, advertising, tech and games

Will Microsoft Zune be the Apple iPod Killer?

Posted by topofmind on July 28, 2006

303317.jpgWho coined that ridicules clichéd “iPod Killer” term to being with anyway?

The tech blogs are abuzz with the confirmation from Microsoft that they will be launching Zune by the end of this year or some time around that. Anyway here are things we should know about the whole hullabaloo.

iPod cannot be killed. It already has a mass following, and they are fanatical about the iPod. Short of nuking it from orbit; just to be sure, it cannot be killed. It can be hurt – a little, maybe a small .. er prick. Besides, iPod will not sit still as Zune enters the market.

iPod literally popularized the digital music player, and made it attractive and cool to the masses. They know what they are doing when it comes to digital music. Yes, Creative was already there with it’s Zen players, but they never really attained the cult status of the iPod, even with a “open” music format. iPOD made it a success despite the fact that they had a “closed,” music format which everyone thought wasn’t so nice.

Having said that, what about Zune?

Zune, comes from Microsoft. Now that is a very bad thing – if you believe what the tech blogs are saying, mainly because it comes from Microsoft. Oh, and because it also is a “closed,” or proprietary format – which will not Play on other WMP devices.

Zune comes from Microsoft. Now that is a very good thing – for Microsoft. Other than some elitist views on all things tech, who by the way are very vocal, the general population of Tom, Dick and Harry will not really care if it comes from Microsoft or Apple.

Microsoft is an extremely valuable brand and Zune will definitely benefit from it, and also from the deep pockets that Microsoft has for mass media campaigns.

Zune is not just a digital music player, and we are not quite sure what it is. Rumors are flying around that it will allow you to share music, got Wi-Fi, watch videos, even hook-up somehow with XBOX. See a nice analysis here and an insider’s view here.. It would be cool to be able to do all of that, but then what the heck is a Zune? A Jack of all trades, and a master of none.

Personally, if this is the case, Microsoft is approaching it ass backwards. iPod started off as a simple, but extremely cool digital music player, then diversified into other things like video. It is generally easy for consumers to accept a product that does one thing well first, then expand functionality. Kinda like mobile phones, started off as a phone, then an address book, then a PDA and now a camera – but we can still choose to buy just the phone if we want to. Consumers don’t like confusion and that can hurt Zune.

So will Zune be the iPod killer when the time comes?

Most likely scenario is that Zune will repeated the PS2 Vs. XBOX fight. It will gain shares over-time against iPod, but the market dominance of iPod cannot and will not be overturned – unless in the extremely unlikely event that Apple decides to close shop. In time, it will become a respectable player in the category – just like the XBOX.

Personally I see another player (or more) entering the Mobile Digital Entertainment fray,whether it is Creative remains to be seen, and Zune will have to fight it out with that third or forth player.

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One Response to “Will Microsoft Zune be the Apple iPod Killer?”

  1. […] In the last couple of months, the upcoming launch of Wii and Zune have received a lot of attention from tech fans like me. I neither have a PS2 or an iPOD but as a matter of interest am keen to see what happens to these two new consumer electronic brands. I am also interested to see how each will turn out – considering the fact that both are from well known companies in their own field. I have written about the Wii and Zune previously, separately, but now is a good time to review it together. […]

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