I got last weekend and reviewed the rest of the comments on
my Zune posts from the week before and realized that I needed to clarify a few
First of all, I still believe that the Zune is no iPod
competitor. Why? It really doesn’t
matter what features are there for the Zune, it is not an iPod. As I have said in the past, the iPod is 25% a
great digital audio player and 75% a product of Apple marketing. The sales of the iPod didn’t come from the
features. Sure, they helped but overall
that is not why the iPod is what it is today.
The name “iPod” is generic now; it is an interchangeable term that
millions of people use to describe an MP3 player. Zune will never match, and therefore Zune
will never be a true iPod competitor in my opinion.
Having said that, I look back at some of my previous
comments and I want to note that while Zune will never overtake the iPod, I
think the best thing Microsoft can do is appeal to niche crowds in order to
sell it. There are features of the Zune
that a lot of iPod owners would likely never use, however those same features
will bring in niche crowds. Wireless is
an example. Great feature, but if I buy
a Zune for my Dad, an iPod owner, it would never get used. Same with the social features, same with the
FM tuner, same with recorded TV syncing, etc.
All of those features might put the Zune over the top of the iPod based
on pure features, but in this iPod world today they become niche features.
Zune v2 is almost what Zune v1 should have been. But, the lack of integration between
Microsoft products is driving me nuts, and it does start to turn me off
products from Microsoft even though competing products don’t integrate how I
So the question is would I buy an iPod over a Zune? The more I think about it, it depends. I was tempted when I saw those $99 Zunes on
Woot yesterday until I saw they were referbs.
The wireless sync is a very nice feature, and depending on how it works
for everyone else that might put a Zune in my hands next. The fact that it still doesn’t integrate with
Media Center just plain sucks. They can
call importing recordings into the Zune Software “integration” all they want,
but when I pull out a Portable Media Center and can sync using a 10” UI that is
what I call integration. Give me that
with the wireless sync and I’ll buy.
Being able to create playlists in Media Center, my main way of listening
to music, and then being able to sync that wirelessly with the Zune is what I
want. This needs to work from Extenders too.
Also, I generally go with two players in my collection. One is for working out (flash based), and one
for the car/plane trips/normal listening/etc.
The Zune has no match for the iPod Shuffle yet and it really needs
one. Another one of the iPod strength
comes from the fact that there really is one for every member of the house.
If the Zune can
continue to increase features in software (and not require new hardware to get
the majority of them) and integrate better with Microsoft’s own software, then
I’ll consider it for my next player.
Edit: Aaron posted in the comments, but I wanted to point
out his post on The Green Button about his converting to a Zune because of
the $99 Woot deal and liking it, at the original price he said he wouldn’t have gone for it.