Zune Is No Apple, It’s a Lemon

    November 15, 2006

If you didn’t see any lines coming from your local electronics store and wrapping around the block, you weren’t the only one. Microsoft’s big debut of it’s Zune digital music player turned out to be an even bigger let down.

As expected, first day sales of Microsoft’s digital music player Zune did not shatter any records. The digital music player, which was touted to be Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iPod, was available for purchase as of yesterday in the United States.

Microsoft hoped to capitalize on the digital music player market, which has already been cornered by the Apple iPod. Apple has sold over 70 million iPods to date and features over 3, 000 accessories made specifically for it; it is by far the biggest name in MP3 players.

Zune, in hopes of competing with iPod, attempted to match its features. Zune plays downloaded movies and music, like the iPod, and has features which iPod does not.

Microsoft’s Zune boasts a 3.5″ screen, FM Radio, and WiFi connectivity, all of which the iPod lacks. Keeping those features in mind, Zune does not have the following or the advanced technology of the iPod. iPod also has iTunes, PodCasts, and connectivity to in-flight entertainment systems in airplanes and cars. iTunes, the music download for iPod, even has 1.5 million more songs available to customers than Zune’s program, Zune Marketplace.

While both screens have the same resolution, the iPod screen is 2.5″. Because of Zune’s larger screen size, the same number of pixels is stretched farther, making the image more distorted than iPod’s.

“I didn’t even know they were there until a customer pointed them out,” sales clerk Jake Brooks, of Virgin Megastore, said of Zune. The busy San Francisco Virgin store employees did not take notice of the Zune players because they had only sold two the entire day.

The scene was similar at electronic stores around the country, and some CompUSA stores did not receive any Zune players at all due to an oversight by Microsoft. Even in here Lexington, KY at Best Buy the sales were no different, “We sold a few”, said an employee.

Microsoft’s Zune digital music player was not expected to debut with large sale numbers, and has even acknowledged that “the Zune investment may take years to bear fruit”, which analysts supported. “Apple will not feel any bit of discomfort from Zune, certainly this holiday season and a good part of next year,” said IDC analyst Danielle Levitas.

Part of the lack of sales may be attributed to the fact that the public realizes this is first generation technology, and is not yet perfected like iPod’s. “I imagine Zune has some kinks to work out as iPod did,” Andrew Fisher said after purchasing an iPod.

Needless to say, Zune probably won’t be at the top of many holiday wish lists this year.

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Autmn Davis is a staff writer for WebProNews covering ebusiness and technology.