Sunday, 26 November 2006

Zune halo?

Apple keeps going on about the "iPod halo effect".

I wonder if Microsoft is going to launch Vista as the operating system from the company that brought you Zune?

Those who see Zune as following the Windows model of being lame and barely usable up to Windows 95, then wiping out the competition are missing the key fact that Apple already dominates its market and understands its clientele in a way Microsoft can’t match. The business market bought Microsoft because it had IBM behind it, and wasn’t ready to take Apple seriously. The music market is driven by a totally different dynamic. Style, cool, a huge range of accessories, working a familiar way – yet with frequent innovation … these are things Microsoft would battle to match even without a lame launch.

Comparing Zune with Xbox needs care. It took some major errors by Sony to give Xbox 360 the edge. Playstation 3 introduced too many new technologies at once – Blu-ray and the Cell processor both needed significant hardware innovation to bring up, as well as new software. Cell also has significant disadvantages in ease of programming – around 20 new titles at time of launch is a very sorry total for a new platform with so much invested in it.

iPod on the other hand is a very focused product. Apple has been extremely conservative in introducing new functionality and has instead focused on making it work better. That's a really hard model to beat.

Much of what Microsoft has tried to do has been based on record label dislike of the deal they made with Apple, on the erroneous assumption that Apple would never be a big player. All of the new ideas are lame not only because they are not wanted by customers, but they are not very good.

What’s more, some of the ideas, like subscription, have been tried before and failed.

Since the launch, Zune’s position on the Amazon best seller has been plummeting, with only one model in the top 25. If that's an indication of the market, not only has Zune failed to dent Apple’s market share, but it hasn’t done much to the established competition.

Let’s face it.

Apple has cool.

Microsoft has lame.

Maybe that’s not an issue in the corporate market, but it’s everything in the music market.


Dan Charles said...

M$ can't "launch Vista as the operating system from the company that brought you Zune" for one simple reason...

The Zune software is INCOMPATIBLE with Vista

Great job.

Anonymous said...

Apple has never once mentioned the iPod "Halo Effect". This is something drummed up by the media.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, the "Apple iPod USB Power Adapter" is at No. 76 on the Amazon best seller list. No mention of a Zune until No. 93.

Philip Machanick said...

I should have said in the Amazon best seller list for MP3 players... use the link in the article.

I know that Zune is incompatible with the current version of Vista, but that adds to my point, doesn't it?