So, the Zune‘s out. And CNN pretty much shows every reason not to buy one. Strikes me that Microsoft’s decision to make the Zune totally inflexible (in terms of it not playing iTunes* or Napster songs, allowing beaming only of songs and only from Zune to Zune and only for 3 listens) will make it that much harder for it to have any significant impact. I mean, holy crap. Who’s gonna ditch their entire iTunes library for this thing? No, the way to bust onto the scene as an underdog isn’t to wave your arms to try to convince people that your (severely limited) product is better than the one they already know and love. It’s to bust onto the scene and do the things the current top-dog does – and do them better, with added features and better design. Strikes me as a fearful way to go about it – there’s a stunning lack of confidence that comes from the company not actually trying to do things better than Apple, but simply trying to close Apple out of their (Microsoft’s) currently non-existant market share. The Zune does look clunky, and even though portable video may be the future, I don’t think it’s the present enough for this to blow the iPod out of the water. Also, Microsoft doesn’t even come close to exhibiting Apple’s design prowess. The Zune site is fine, but nothing earth-shattering. And they clearly accept the power of the click wheel, since they didn’t go and make a better navigation tool. If you’re going to try to be innovative and earth-shattering, sticking to the same-old, been-there-done-that way of presenting information isn’t a good start.I’m basing all this only on the CNN report and a couple minutes poking around the Zune site. So yeah, I may be wrong. But dude, if I am, Microsoft’s probably in hyper-drive trying to combat that report.
* That’s according to the CNN report. The Zune website says you can import music and video from iTunes.