Welcome to the Unsocial

Microsoft Updates the Zune Player | New York Times

Shockingly, Microsoft’s update of the Zune media player more like the iPod. Streamlined interface, more vibrant colors, and simpler graphical menus. Whether it will sell enough for it to become a “sociable” remains in serious doubt.

The Zune’s advertising slogan is “welcome to the social” because it allows one to listen to songs on nearby Zune players wirelessly. This “social” exercise has almost certainly never been experienced by anyone because the Zune’s paltry sales (only about 1.2 million units, compared with more than 300 million iPods) guarantees that one will never encounter another Zune player within the range of Zune’s wireless capabilities.

Now, of course, the new iPod touch has complete wireless connectivity, a fully functional browser and the capability to buy and download songs anywhere. These capabilities are positively better selling points than the Zune’s “new” features. If the Zune player is ever going to sell substantially enough for it to become “the social”, it had better start competing with the iPod. Zune 2.0 is still hopelessly behind the iPod. If Zune 3.0 is not released soon, it may cease to be altogether. 

Bill Gates’ investment in his foundation seems to be a wiser move than any further investment in this ill-conceived product. 

 

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