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  1. #1
    Suspended atomicAdam's Avatar
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    Zune, about a common as a blue moon?

    Anyone here actually own a Zune or know anybody who does?

    Looks like the Zune HD could be a good lead into portable gaming - a portable XBox, which would be sweet!

    http://reviews.audioreview.com/blog/...e-integration/

  2. #2
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    I've got a Zune 80 gig abd the wife has a 120 gig unit and we both love 'em but we're underutilzing thir capabilities. I store music and pictures but that's about all.

    GUI is great (particularly after coming from Sandisk M200 series units) but the lack of aftermarkert gadgets,a ala Ipod, is staggering.

    One thing I don't like about the setup is that I must use Zune software where before I could use WMP.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Problem with the Zune is that they're trying to replicate the iPod ecosystem without a large base of users, and without a product that offers compelling advantages over the iPod.

    The iTunes store didn't appear until the iPod was already in its third year, and the iTunes app store didn't open up until more than a year after the iPhone and iPod touch made their debuts. The iTunes store now as more than 10 million songs and 25,000 applications available. The Zune has consistently been in a reactive mode, and this Zune HD is basically a reaction to the iPod touch two years after the fact.

    The Zune's Xbox Live integration is merely a gateway to the audio and video content -- has nothing to do with gaming from how I read it. This is something that MS could and should have done from the outset. It made no sense to create a separate Zune Marketplace when they already had Xbox Live up and running.

    Offering up a "me too" touchscreen product that matches the iPod touch's technical specs and adds a couple of new features simply isn't good enough, especially if the OS is yet another mobile Windows variant. Sure, it has an OLED screen, but it uses a lower resolution than the iPod touch screen. Yeah, the new Zune can display 720p HD video, but only after you buy an optional dock and attach a HDMI cable to the dock (if you're tethered to a HDMI cable anyway, wouldn't it make more sense to plug it into a HDTV or even a computer monitor?).

    Just about the only decent Zune HD feature that the iPod touch cannot match is the HD Radio tuner. Otherwise, I don't see a compelling reason to go with the Zune HD, unless you're already a Xbox Live member or need something for WMP media.

    It just seems that the market decisions behind the Zune continues to resemble checkers, while the iPod keeps playing chess.
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  4. #4
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    I love my Zunes, and I'm so thankful I never have to suffer with another iPod. Ugh.

    Zune Pass = Audio Bliss. $15 for all you can stand to download.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Kevio's Avatar
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    What is insufferable about the iPod?

  6. #6
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    Zune Pass = Audio Bliss. $15 for all you can stand to download.
    All good until MS decides to pull the plug on this service like they did with the MSN music service on their PlaysForSure devices.
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  7. #7
    nightflier
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    One thing that has always bothered me about the iPod (we now own two - peer pressure made us do it) is the nearly exclusive dependence on iTunes for file transfer and the lack of removable memory. It really does seem like Apple is trying to keep a strangle-hold on input/ouput and that's very big-brother-ish.

    Does the Zune HD support removable memory?

  8. #8
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    One thing that has always bothered me about the iPod (we now own two - peer pressure made us do it) is the nearly exclusive dependence on iTunes for file transfer and the lack of removable memory. It really does seem like Apple is trying to keep a strangle-hold on input/ouput and that's very big-brother-ish.

    Does the Zune HD support removable memory?
    Huh? There's lots of programs out there that work with the iPod?

    Re the removable memory. Fair point, though from experience I can say the cost of upgrading memory sticks often rivals the cost of a new media player itself depending what you're looking for.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Kevio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Huh? There's lots of programs out there that work with the iPod?
    What do you mean by "work with iPod"? Amazon and EMusic work with iPod but they do it through iTunes.

    Can you use an iPod without using iTunes?

    I'm frustrated with my iPod lately. Although all my music fits on my 60 GB device, I feel my music library has outgrown the touch wheel interface. I get frustrated traversing up and down deep menu structures and scrolling through huge lists.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular Kevio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Does the Zune HD support removable memory?
    Doesn't look like it but I'm sure your smart phone does (iPhone excepted). Portable players are going to disappear as phones become more capable. Who wants to schlep multiple devices? Who wants to leave their phone at home? Apple figured this out 3 or 4 years ago. Most of the mobile service providers got it a a year or two ago. Microsoft still does not get it apparently.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    All good until MS decides to pull the plug on this service like they did with the MSN music service on their PlaysForSure devices.
    They will pull the plug on it the day Apple goes out of business. I don't look for either to happen any time soon.

  12. #12
    nightflier
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    Kex, that's why I added the word "nearly" to my statement. That said, Kevio has a good point about the online services having to work through iTunes as well.

    I also agree that if you have thousands of songs, the scroll wheel becomes a hassle to use as well, although I guess that can be said for just about any interface, even Soloos (I sampled it at a local store recently).

    Say what you will, but the fact that the iPod is not seen as a regular USB-attached device is a pain in the arse for me. And I also don't like the way iTunes organizes music. Since I don't rip complete albums (just the songs I like) I had my collection in neatly ordered and named folders and iTunes wanted none of that.

    Then there's the removable memory nonsense. Every other phone supports removable memory, but Apple won't play nice that way. I guess that this would allow people to load music and circumvent the iTunes bottle-neck and thus Apple's golden egg-laying goose. I think for all the other phones out there, this is a small window of opportunity here, not to mention that iPhones only work on AT&T's network.

    Now if Microsoft were to actually make a Zune-based phone, then we'd have something to seriously compare. My guess is they would probably go with Verizon... and a new format war would be on.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevio
    Doesn't look like it but I'm sure your smart phone does (iPhone excepted).
    Removable memory (as well as another missing feature -- user-replaceable batteries) would make the device thicker. That was obviously something Apple was looking to avoid. They made the calculation that most iPod owners have zero interest in prying their devices open to switch out the internals, and focused instead on making the iPods smaller and sleeker. Given that other device manufacturers have followed Apple's lead, it looks like their choice was the correct one for the majority of buyers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevio
    Portable players are going to disappear as phones become more capable. Who wants to schlep multiple devices? Who wants to leave their phone at home? Apple figured this out 3 or 4 years ago. Most of the mobile service providers got it a a year or two ago. Microsoft still does not get it apparently.
    An underreported story is how the iPod touch, which was released more or less as an afterthought without nearly as much hype or marketing or swooning from the typically jaded tech press, now outsells the iPhone. Smartphones are the future, but there obviously remains a place for portable audio devices that don't require a contract and a monthly service fee.

    Quote Originally Posted by N.Absentia
    They will pull the plug on it the day Apple goes out of business. I don't look for either to happen any time soon.
    I see it happening a lot sooner if the current sales trends hold up. The Zune had a year-to-year sales decline last quarter, not exactly a promising sign. And this is happening after MS has already burned through more than $1 billion in losses on the Zune. Unlike with the iTunes store, which also supplies apps to the growing iPhone market, MS does not have a similar synergy going for its music service.

    The MP3 player market has begun to level off, and Apple has stated in the past that it's becoming a mature and saturated market. That's why they focus so much attention to the iPhone, because that's where future growth is going. MS introduced the Zune just as the standalone music player market growth had already begun to level off. Entering a market that's already maturing and getting saturated does not create good odds to build an all-new music service.
    Last edited by Woochifer; 05-31-2009 at 03:15 PM.
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  14. #14
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Say what you will, but the fact that the iPod is not seen as a regular USB-attached device is a pain in the arse for me. And I also don't like the way iTunes organizes music. Since I don't rip complete albums (just the songs I like) I had my collection in neatly ordered and named folders and iTunes wanted none of that.
    But, most consumers don't want a music player that functions like a regular USB-attached device. MS' PlaysForSure devices worked exactly like that, and they were a complete market failure.

    I thought that if you had your own order for music folders, you could just import them into iTunes. That's how I moved everything from my laptop PC over to my iMac.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Then there's the removable memory nonsense. Every other phone supports removable memory, but Apple won't play nice that way. I guess that this would allow people to load music and circumvent the iTunes bottle-neck and thus Apple's golden egg-laying goose. I think for all the other phones out there, this is a small window of opportunity here, not to mention that iPhones only work on AT&T's network.
    As mentioned above, removable memory would also increase the size and bulk of the device. Consumers have already spoken loud and clear -- they want their portable media players simple, and they like sleek designs. If removable media means that much to a consumer, then other options are out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Now if Microsoft were to actually make a Zune-based phone, then we'd have something to seriously compare. My guess is they would probably go with Verizon... and a new format war would be on.
    There would be no serious comparison if MS tries to base it on any of their mobile Windows OS', which have lagged in the market and fallen behind competing smartphone OS'. Not to mention, if MS comes out with a Zune phone, they might as well kiss their existing mobile Windows partners (and 12% market share) goodbye. They already screwed over their PlaysForSure partners in the media player market by coming out with the Zune and abandoning the MSN music service. Doing the same thing to their mobile Windows partners by coming out with a Zune phone would hand deliver those partners straight over to Symbian or Android or RIM.

    We'll see how they implement basic functions like multitouch with the Zune HD, since that would offer up a clue as to how they'd go forward with a Zune phone. Apple is already on version 3.0 for the iPhone/iPod touch OS, and its development feeds off of the work they do on OS X, since they share many of the same application frameworks. My understanding is that mobile Windows does not have that same level of interoperability with desktop Windows.
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  15. #15
    RGA
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    I bought an Apple iPod 80gig and I would assess it as "ok" - certainly a nice screen and better sound than I had read about.

    Problem is I much prefer the WMP interface over the itunes one which to me is a total piece of crap in comparison. Which would have been fine but for whatever reason incomprehensible to me - all of the lossless compression of a lot of my CD's on the computer has to be converted "again" through the itunes program before it will install on the ipod. If I try to get the songs from another computer it tells me it will only allow for that if I delete everything on the ipod - so essentially you are tied to recording to the ipod from one and only one computer.

    Yes there is a way around it but certainly no instructions for it from Apple.

    My old flash disk Sandisk was far easier as it works likes a hard drive and read practically every music file type. Simpley right click on the folder and say send to "drive E Sandisk" and poof your music is there ready to play. Plus it used one single AAA battery that lasted 30 hours. Run out of power stick a new battery in - it is less than half the size and weight of the Apple.

    Problem? 512mb capacity though it does take SD cards. To me this system was far better if they could have increased the size capacity I preferred it overall to the Apple.

    I wish the Apple had a USB output which would be nice to get rid of some of the grunge and connect up to the Total Bithead headphone amp/DAC or the bigger but still portable tube headphone amp and Dac from Trends.

  16. #16
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    I can say exactly the same thing about the Zune

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    My old flash disk Sandisk was far easier as it works likes a hard drive and read practically every music file type. Simpley right click on the folder and say send to "drive E Sandisk" and poof your music is there ready to play. Plus it used one single AAA battery that lasted 30 hours. Run out of power stick a new battery in - it is less than half the size and weight of the Apple.
    I went from a Sandisk m200 to a Zune and hav ethe same two issues. I must use the Zune software for this, and it "marries" the unit to the computer. Likewise, I do miss the replacable AAA battery. Recharging is a pain.

  17. #17
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevio
    What do you mean by "work with iPod"? Amazon and EMusic work with iPod but they do it through iTunes.

    Can you use an iPod without using iTunes?

    I'm frustrated with my iPod lately. Although all my music fits on my 60 GB device, I feel my music library has outgrown the touch wheel interface. I get frustrated traversing up and down deep menu structures and scrolling through huge lists.
    I use Linux operating systems at home for personal use, iTunes isn't available on Linux to my knowledge. I use various open source software programs that support iPod including Exhaile, Amarok, Banshee, and Songbird. Songbird is the only one off the top of my head that is made for windows as well, but I know there's others out there.

    Perhaps I'm wrong and on Windows the ipod is locked specifically to iTunes? I will have to look into that and get back to you...Songbird I'm almost 100% sure has ipod connectivity add-ons...

  18. #18
    Suspended atomicAdam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    It really does seem like Apple is trying to keep a strangle-hold on input/ouput and that's very big-brother-ish.
    Don't tell me you are just figuring that one about Apple out now?

  19. #19
    nightflier
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    Apples & Oranges

    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    Don't tell me you are just figuring that one about Apple out now?
    No, but every new "development" from Apple brings it back to the forefront.

  20. #20
    nightflier
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    I don't think it's that simple....

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    But, most consumers don't want a music player that functions like a regular USB-attached device.
    Who says most consumers don't want it to work like a USB-attached device. It seems to me that most of us here, do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    MS' PlaysForSure devices worked exactly like that, and they were a complete market failure.
    I seriously doubt that is the reason it was a failure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    I thought that if you had your own order for music folders, you could just import them into iTunes. That's how I moved everything from my laptop PC over to my iMac.
    Nope, iTunes doesn't want to do it that way. It wants everything based on the ID tags and preset music categories. That kind of sucks for those of us who like to put together our own mixes of styles and bands. So much for that freedom of choice they keep touting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    As mentioned above, removable memory would also increase the size and bulk of the device. Consumers have already spoken loud and clear -- they want their portable media players simple, and they like sleek designs. If removable media means that much to a consumer, then other options are out there.
    So how large is a mini-SD card again? Yeah, OK that'll add to the bulk....

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    There would be no serious comparison if MS tries to base it on any of their mobile Windows OS', which have lagged in the market and fallen behind competing smartphone OS'.
    I'm not so sure they are lagging that far behind. They probably still have the lion's share of the corporate market because of the Outlook-Exchange integration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Not to mention, if MS comes out with a Zune phone, they might as well kiss their existing mobile Windows partners (and 12% market share) goodbye.
    How's that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    They already screwed over their PlaysForSure partners in the media player market by coming out with the Zune and abandoning the MSN music service.
    No disagreement there, but I'm going to guess they made that decision thinking they thought they could absorb the blowback.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Doing the same thing to their mobile Windows partners by coming out with a Zune phone would hand deliver those partners straight over to Symbian or Android or RIM.
    I don't think that's the same thing. And then that's also a leap to suggest those partners will jump to Simbian, Android, or RIM: there's a lot more to making a move like that then a little competition from a product (a Zune-phone) that most people see will have a significant up-hill battle from the start.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    We'll see how they implement basic functions like multitouch with the Zune HD, since that would offer up a clue as to how they'd go forward with a Zune phone.
    Well it does look like they've done the multitouch pretty well. Now whether they can suvive the copyright infringement lawsuits, that's a whole other question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Apple is already on version 3.0 for the iPhone/iPod touch OS
    That has never stopped Microsoft. This reality never kept them from jumping with both feet into the competition with established products & markets. Now whether they'll continue to compete will have to be seen, but it never kept them from starting something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    and its development feeds off of the work they do on OS X, since they share many of the same application frameworks.
    Or you could just as well say: "...and Micrisoft's development feeds off of the work they do on Windows, since they share many of the same application frameworks...."

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    My understanding is that mobile Windows does not have that same level of interoperability with desktop Windows.
    As much as I dislike Microsoft, I have to say that in this, they are way ahead of Apple, not to mention the legions of developers out there that would completely overshadow anything Apple could field. Development is the one area where Apple still struggles against every one of its competitors.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Who says most consumers don't want it to work like a USB-attached device. It seems to me that most of us here, do.
    But, people posting here don't necessarily represent the mainstream consumer, most of whom will not ever own a component-based audio system.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I seriously doubt that is the reason it was a failure.
    Never said it was "the reason" -- simply that the PlaysForSure devices failed in the market, despite the fact that they provided that very USB-attached device utility that you feel is so essential.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Nope, iTunes doesn't want to do it that way. It wants everything based on the ID tags and preset music categories. That kind of sucks for those of us who like to put together our own mixes of styles and bands. So much for that freedom of choice they keep touting.
    While iTunes does leave a lot to be desired, I question how many people out there want the degree of customizing and tweaking that you're talking about. While the utility is lacking at times, I've never had huge issues with getting iTunes to do what I want with my iPod. I can see how iTunes' limitations would be an issue with a larger capacity iPod Classic, but not for the smaller capacity Shuffle, Nano, and touch models.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    So how large is a mini-SD card again? Yeah, OK that'll add to the bulk....
    It's not just the card dimensions. It's the space both inside and outside of the device required by the reader that's at issue. Considering how crowded the innards of the iPhone already are, it's that trade-off of whether you're willing to bump up the bulk of the device in order to provide that utility. Apple obviously isn't. If you really want a card reader on your media player or smartphone, there are other options on the market.

    Apple's exclusion of a memory card reader is no different than the design edict that drove the MacBook Air, which completely dispenses with the optical drive in order to make the computer as thin as possible. You can dispute the merits of this kind of design-driven product development, but it is consistent with how Apple has done their product lineup across the board. They were the first company to drop support for the 3.5" floppy disks. They abandoned their ADB devices in favor of USB back when USB's survival as a standard was in question. They abandoned hard drives on their smaller iPods in favor of flash memory, even though the iPod mini was their best selling player.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I'm not so sure they are lagging that far behind. They probably still have the lion's share of the corporate market because of the Outlook-Exchange integration.
    But, the ability to integrate with an Exchange server is what the RIM and iPhone OS' already provide. Windows Mobile is not the only mobile OS that can integrate with an Exchange server. Where Windows Mobile lags in the user interface, which most reviewers now regard as outdated, cumbersome, and overly derivative of desktop Windows.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    How's that?
    If MS decides to use the Zune model and come out with their own MS-branded Zune phone, they would basically go into competition with their existing Windows mobile partners.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I don't think that's the same thing. And then that's also a leap to suggest those partners will jump to Simbian, Android, or RIM: there's a lot more to making a move like that then a little competition from a product (a Zune-phone) that most people see will have a significant up-hill battle from the start.
    Problem though would be if those partners perceive MS as diverting resources away from future Windows mobile development. The current version is already considered outdated, and the new version is not expected until well into next year.

    Another rumor is that the Zune phone would simply slap a revised multitouch user interface onto the existing Windows mobile platform, and allow existing partners to co-brand their Windows mobile phones as Zune phones. Question though is whether MS can successfully port that optimized touchscreen interface onto an existing smartphone OS without bogging the device down.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    That has never stopped Microsoft. This reality never kept them from jumping with both feet into the competition with established products & markets. Now whether they'll continue to compete will have to be seen, but it never kept them from starting something.
    Hasn't stopped them, but the problem here is that they haven't even begun yet. This ZuneHD announcement just smacks of a classic Microsoft FUD campaign. They made the announcement two weeks before Apple is expected to release the final version of the iPhone/touch 3.0 OS, as well as rumored updates to the iPhone and iPod touch. Yet, the ZuneHD isn't even expected to arrive in stores until September at the earliest. Also, Microsoft has yet to recoup the billions of dollars they've already spent on the video game and music player markets.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Or you could just as well say: "...and Micrisoft's development feeds off of the work they do on Windows, since they share many of the same application frameworks...."
    But, not to the same degree that the iPhone/touch OS draws from OS X and vice versa. My understanding is that Windows Mobile uses a separate code base from 2000/XP/Vista, whereas the iPhone/touch use a scaled down version of OS X.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    As much as I dislike Microsoft, I have to say that in this, they are way ahead of Apple, not to mention the legions of developers out there that would completely overshadow anything Apple could field. Development is the one area where Apple still struggles against every one of its competitors.
    That would be true in the desktop space, but that's not as much the case in the mobile market where MS is weaker. The app store is really where Apple leaped far ahead of the competition by providing both consumers and developers with a simple one-stop-shop for finding and downloading applications. It's not without its faults (i.e., Apple's often arbitrary app approval process), but nobody else's offerings are even close to what the app store has brought.
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  22. #22
    nightflier
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    Far be it for me to be a Microsoft fanboy, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    But, people posting here don't necessarily represent the mainstream consumer, most of whom will not ever own a component-based audio system.
    But the people here also don't necessarily represent the fringe, either. In this case we're talking about a device that is of equal interest here and in the mainstream, so the people here could very well be representative of the sentiment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Never said it was "the reason" -- simply that the PlaysForSure devices failed in the market, despite the fact that they provided that very USB-attached device utility that you feel is so essential.
    Well that's a clever play on the topic. But the fact remains that PlaysForSure's failure or success had little to do with the fact that it supported USB-attached devices. The bottom line is that Apple either wants to control access to it's players and media or is irritatingly dumbing it down so that those who do know their way around files and folders are increasingly frustrated with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    While iTunes does leave a lot to be desired, I question how many people out there want the degree of customizing and tweaking that you're talking about. While the utility is lacking at times, I've never had huge issues with getting iTunes to do what I want with my iPod. I can see how iTunes' limitations would be an issue with a larger capacity iPod Classic, but not for the smaller capacity Shuffle, Nano, and touch models.
    Well, OK, so you like it. There are millions of people who don't and who want more control. Apple pissed those people off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    It's not just the card dimensions. It's the space both inside and outside of the device required by the reader that's at issue. Considering how crowded the innards of the iPhone already are, it's that trade-off of whether you're willing to bump up the bulk of the device in order to provide that utility. Apple obviously isn't. If you really want a card reader on your media player or smartphone, there are other options on the market.
    That's nonsense. I've seen controllers for SD and MiniSD that are smaller than the card itself. And the innards of the iPhone are no more crowded than those of other phones or the Zune for that matter, and most competitors do have the expandable memory. This has nothing to do with size, but everything to do with one of the two issues I mentioned above:

    (1) Control or
    (2) Dumbing down

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Apple's exclusion of a memory card reader is no different than the design edict that drove the MacBook Air, which completely dispenses with the optical drive in order to make the computer as thin as possible. You can dispute the merits of this kind of design-driven product development, but it is consistent with how Apple has done their product lineup across the board.
    I'm not disputing that Apple is engineering these things out of their products or that they are trend-setters, but I'm disagreeing with their reasons for doing so. I actually owned an Air for a while and ended up giving it to one of my employees. Why? because its' pure unadulterated lock-in. Nothing is upgradable, nothing is standard, and most of it's capacity is too quickly outdated. They've taken Detroit's motto of the disposable 5-year car and put it on steroids. The Air is already obsolete. Every PC manufacturer out there makes a better more compatible laptop, netbook, or ultralight and it shows because sales of the Air aren't exactly stellar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    But, the ability to integrate with an Exchange server is what the RIM and iPhone OS' already provide. Windows Mobile is not the only mobile OS that can integrate with an Exchange server. Where Windows Mobile lags in the user interface, which most reviewers now regard as outdated, cumbersome, and overly derivative of desktop Windows.
    As someone who oversees several Exchange integrations with Blackberry Enterprise Server and iPhones, not to mention the support for the users who use these devices, I can tell you with no uncertainty that this isn't as easy, convenient, simple, or inexpensive as you make it sound. As a matter of fact, our corporate policy is for our users to use Windows mobile and only with very special exceptions the other OSes. No, that is one thing that Apple definitely does not do well. Now whether that's Microsoft's fault for keeping competition out or not, that's a different discussion, but for now the integration is a PITA, and will remain so as long as Exchange rules the roost of email, calendaring, and document exchange.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    If MS decides to use the Zune model and come out with their own MS-branded Zune phone, they would basically go into competition with their existing Windows mobile partners.
    They would start off as a very minor player and grow slowly from there. And I'm not convinced those other partners wouldn't jump on-board with their own Zune-OS based phones. From past experience, there is one thing that no other company can compete with Microsoft on and that is price. They will give product away if they have to, to enter a new market. I'm not saying this is competing on a fair playing field, but I am saying that we've seen this happen over & over again. As evil as we want to describe it, that's Microsoft's way and it's worked for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    The current version is already considered outdated, and the new version is not expected until well into next year.
    Microsoft's customers will wait, they have always done so. Even if they have to skip a generation, they'll wait it out and eventually join the borg. We saw that with Windows Me, Windows Vista, several generations of IE, and with the first generation Zune.

    Ironically, with the latter, the #1 complaint was also about control. If Microsoft wants to compete in this market, they need to provide more freedom that Apple. The built-in HD tuner is a nice side-step to provide more content for the consumer without having to cow-tow to the draconian RIAA rules on compressed music. If they also include a slick media player that can stream internet radio more conveniently than Apple, then they will expand on that goal even more. But I digress.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Another rumor is that the Zune phone would simply slap a revised multitouch user interface onto the existing Windows mobile platform, and allow existing partners to co-brand their Windows mobile phones as Zune phones. Question though is whether MS can successfully port that optimized touchscreen interface onto an existing smartphone OS without bogging the device down.
    It's a question that has been answered. Yes they can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    This ZuneHD announcement just smacks of a classic Microsoft FUD campaign. They made the announcement two weeks before Apple is expected to release the final version of the iPhone/touch 3.0 OS, as well as rumored updates to the iPhone and iPod touch. Yet, the ZuneHD isn't even expected to arrive in stores until September at the earliest. Also, Microsoft has yet to recoup the billions of dollars they've already spent on the video game and music player markets.
    It's not FUD, it's a product that reviewers are already working with. September isn't that far off considering the slow economy and the summer months ahead. If they get it out to stores in the fall, they will not only capture the returning student youth population, but be in a good position to compete with Apple this x-mas season.

    And as far as recouping millions, Microsoft is one company that has enough cash reserves to outlast several Apples in any market. Yes, they are also hurt by this economy, but that is one company that knows how to survive, even in the face of huge market failures like Vista.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    But, not to the same degree that the iPhone/touch OS draws from OS X and vice versa. My understanding is that Windows Mobile uses a separate code base from 2000/XP/Vista, whereas the iPhone/touch use a scaled down version of OS X.
    That is true, but the skills required are very similar. Moreover, the number of Microsoft developers on both Windows and Windows Mobile is much greater than those who specialize in either Apple software. The number disparity is much greater than would have an impact in this scenario.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    That would be true in the desktop space, but that's not as much the case in the mobile market where MS is weaker. The app store is really where Apple leaped far ahead of the competition by providing both consumers and developers with a simple one-stop-shop for finding and downloading applications. It's not without its faults (i.e., Apple's often arbitrary app approval process), but nobody else's offerings are even close to what the app store has brought.
    I think you're confusing iPods with iPhones. Apple's market share for iPhones isn't that large. Now I'm not saying that this confusion is unwarranted - after all Apple's done a great job to blur the line itself. The fact remains that Apple does not dominate the mobile phone market and Windows Mobile is still the dominant platform in the corporate sector, most likely because of it's cozy integration with Exchange.

    Now I'm no fan of Microsoft by any stretch, but I also can't ignore that the 800lb gorilla exists and that Apple is still just a little fox terrier by comparison. Granted, the terrier is cuter, more portable, and easier to love, but when that Gorilla makes a move there isn't anyone who should ignore it. And the terrier, well he's also hard to train, very picky about who he plays with, and likes to do things his own way. One the other hand, he's simple to keep around. To each his own.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    But the people here also don't necessarily represent the fringe, either. In this case we're talking about a device that is of equal interest here and in the mainstream, so the people here could very well be representative of the sentiment.
    Anyone who buys a component-based audio system is in a small niche market. That's simple fact. I'm part of the audio hobby, but I don't think that my preferences and purchasing choices reflect anything other than a small portion of the overall market, which like it or not is dominated by mobile and portable devices.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Well that's a clever play on the topic. But the fact remains that PlaysForSure's failure or success had little to do with the fact that it supported USB-attached devices. The bottom line is that Apple either wants to control access to it's players and media or is irritatingly dumbing it down so that those who do know their way around files and folders are increasingly frustrated with it.
    But, the USB-attached device support that you feel is so important has not had a bottomline impact on the market. It's important to you, but don't try and generalize it to everybody else.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Well, OK, so you like it. There are millions of people who don't and who want more control. Apple pissed those people off.
    See above.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    That's nonsense. I've seen controllers for SD and MiniSD that are smaller than the card itself. And the innards of the iPhone are no more crowded than those of other phones or the Zune for that matter, and most competitors do have the expandable memory. This has nothing to do with size, but everything to do with one of the two issues I mentioned above:

    (1) Control or
    (2) Dumbing down
    Believe what you want to believe. I'm simply indicating that the iPhone/touch design is very consistent with how Apple designs all of their current products. They add and subtract ports and connectors seemingly at will with all their products, and these decisions are frequently based on aesthetics. If you don't like Apple's approach, then there are plenty of alternatives out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I'm not disputing that Apple is engineering these things out of their products or that they are trend-setters, but I'm disagreeing with their reasons for doing so. I actually owned an Air for a while and ended up giving it to one of my employees. Why? because its' pure unadulterated lock-in. Nothing is upgradable, nothing is standard, and most of it's capacity is too quickly outdated. They've taken Detroit's motto of the disposable 5-year car and put it on steroids. The Air is already obsolete. Every PC manufacturer out there makes a better more compatible laptop, netbook, or ultralight and it shows because sales of the Air aren't exactly stellar.
    The sales rankings I see on various websites indicate that the Air outsells the Mini and the Pro, which puts it right in the middle of Apple's current offerings.

    Check the news out of WWDC. The Air has already been upddated. Has no appeal to me, but then again neither does a netbook or ultralight.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    As someone who oversees several Exchange integrations with Blackberry Enterprise Server and iPhones, not to mention the support for the users who use these devices, I can tell you with no uncertainty that this isn't as easy, convenient, simple, or inexpensive as you make it sound. As a matter of fact, our corporate policy is for our users to use Windows mobile and only with very special exceptions the other OSes. No, that is one thing that Apple definitely does not do well. Now whether that's Microsoft's fault for keeping competition out or not, that's a different discussion, but for now the integration is a PITA, and will remain so as long as Exchange rules the roost of email, calendaring, and document exchange.
    Yes, it's your policy to use Windows mobile, but that doesn't mean that Windows mobile commands the "lion's share" of the market as you claimed. Windows mobile market share been running behind RIM, is barely ahead of the iPhone, and has been in decline for the last couple of years. I never said that the integraton is "easy, convenient, simple, or inexpensive," so don't try to manufacture an argument out of something I never said or implied.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Microsoft's customers will wait, they have always done so. Even if they have to skip a generation, they'll wait it out and eventually join the borg. We saw that with Windows Me, Windows Vista, several generations of IE, and with the first generation Zune.

    Ironically, with the latter, the #1 complaint was also about control. If Microsoft wants to compete in this market, they need to provide more freedom that Apple. The built-in HD tuner is a nice side-step to provide more content for the consumer without having to cow-tow to the draconian RIAA rules on compressed music. If they also include a slick media player that can stream internet radio more conveniently than Apple, then they will expand on that goal even more. But I digress.
    But, the Zune is a totally different market from the OS market because they don't have any contractual tie-ins with manufacturers. Most importantly, this is a market that MS is entering by themselves, without benefit of partners. They already tried to replicate their PC model with the media player market, and failed. Right now, they are trying to compete with the iPod by basically copying the iPod model and slapping on a couple of new features, and they lack the ecosystem that has built up around the iPod over the last 8 years.

    You're complaining about the iPod lackof "freedom," but the ZuneHD does absolutely nothing to address these issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    It's not FUD, it's a product that reviewers are already working with. September isn't that far off considering the slow economy and the summer months ahead. If they get it out to stores in the fall, they will not only capture the returning student youth population, but be in a good position to compete with Apple this x-mas season.
    It's also a product that lacks a working web browser, and has numerous features missing or in a very preliminary state -- how a reviewer comes to the conclusion that they're looking at an iPod killer just doesn't pass the smell test. Apple is already locking up the student population, like they do every year, with their annual back-to-school promotion (free iPod Classic or touch with the purchase of any Mac).

    And they update their iPod lineup every year around September. The reviewers praising the ZuneHD to no end were comparing a non-production ZuneHD with an iPod touch running the iPhone 2.2.1 OS. By the time the ZuneHD hits stores, a new version of the iPod touch will be either already out or announced, and the iPhone 3.0 OS will have had 3 months on the market.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    And as far as recouping millions, Microsoft is one company that has enough cash reserves to outlast several Apples in any market. Yes, they are also hurt by this economy, but that is one company that knows how to survive, even in the face of huge market failures like Vista.
    In actuality, Apple's cash reserves right now are higher than MS'. Only Cisco is sitting on a bigger cash reserve than Apple. MS has been spending money right and left and sustaining huge losses on its consumer products, while Apple has been stockpiling.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I think you're confusing iPods with iPhones. Apple's market share for iPhones isn't that large. Now I'm not saying that this confusion is unwarranted - after all Apple's done a great job to blur the line itself. The fact remains that Apple does not dominate the mobile phone market and Windows Mobile is still the dominant platform in the corporate sector, most likely because of it's cozy integration with Exchange.
    There is no confusion since the app store provides applications to both the iPhone AND iPod touch, which incidentally outsells the iPhone.

    In the mobile market, there is no dominant player. You're confusing the Windows monopoly in the desktop space with the mobile market. Just about everybody I know accesses their corporate e-mail using a Blackberry. I hardly know anyone who uses a Windows Mobile device nowadays.

    Windows Mobile's market share is only 12%, while the iPhone has somewhere around 11%. RIM and Symbian outsell both of them. The difference is that the iPhone market is growing and Windows Mobile is declining. Plus, Apple makes a helluva lot more off of each iPhone sale since they make the hardware, they develop the OS, and they get a cut off the top from the phone companies. Add the millions more iPod touch devices out there, and you have a much larger market reach that the iPhone/touch OS has built for itself via the app store. The Zune would be starting from ground negative, given that MS hasn't even announced a Zune phone.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Now I'm no fan of Microsoft by any stretch, but I also can't ignore that the 800lb gorilla exists and that Apple is still just a little fox terrier by comparison. Granted, the terrier is cuter, more portable, and easier to love, but when that Gorilla makes a move there isn't anyone who should ignore it. And the terrier, well he's also hard to train, very picky about who he plays with, and likes to do things his own way. One the other hand, he's simple to keep around. To each his own.
    And MS is not the 800 lb gorilla in every market that they enter. Right now, in the media player market, Apple IS the 800 lb gorilla, as the iPod lineup has a 70% market share and outsells the entire home audio industry by more than 3-to-1. And unlike MS' other ventures, they are not entering an unsettled and rapidly growing market. The media player market has plateauing growth and declining margins. This is why Apple is blurring the line between their iPod and iPhone products. The smartphone market is poised for huge growth, while the media player market is maturing. And Apple's iPhone OS development carries over to the iPods, which helps them maintain market share with media player

    The markets for mobile devices, video games, and media players do not benefit from MS' desktop monopoly. No matter how much cash MS throws into those markets, they don't have a monopoly position that they can use to bully their way in. They actually have to compete on their own merits, and the results so far have ranged from mixed (video games) to downright abysmal (the Zune).

    The ZuneHD is MS' first foray into a touchscreen device of any kind, and they'll already be more than two years behind by the time it hits stores. In order for that device to succeed, it cannot merely be an iPod with a few extra features. It has to be much better than the iPod in multiple areas. The reviewers salivating over the ZuneHD mistakenly presume that the iPod is a stationary target. Next week's release of iPhone OS 3.0 already moves the goal posts.

    Plus, we don't know what the iPod lineup will look like by September. MS' FUD strategy has time after time been to overpromise and underdeliver, but make those announcements in order to freeze the market in the interim. The ZuneHD just smacks of that strategy given how incomplete it is. Apple is almost the exact opposite in how secretively they operate. With the iPod, Apple has always had a surprise or two that keeps them ahead of the competition.
    Last edited by Woochifer; 06-10-2009 at 04:54 PM.
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  24. #24
    nightflier
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    Look we can continue this debate point for point, but what you're saying simply isn't true. For example Microsoft's cash reserves are much greater that Apple's (unless you're considering ratios to the whole company, but that's not exactly fair now, is it?). Oh and by the way, Cisco has cash, but again, nothing like Microsoft, not to mention that Cisco is also sitting on considerable debt, a lot more compared to the debt that Apple or Microsoft are carrying now. Yes, it's nice to know that the Air is outselling Apple's own offerings, but that's not to the point. Let's compare sales figures to anything that HP or Dell puts out, instead.

    You say that you don't know anyone who doesn't use Blackberry, but that's not representative. Ironically, that's the same argument you've used against me in several other threads. As a matter of fact, you came back with the same rebuttal in trying to downplay my company's policy about Windows Mobile & Exchange. Clever, but you can't have it both ways, so I'll be polite and ignore that example entirely. And regarding marketshare, it all depends on what market you're looking at. Microsoft still rules the roost in the corporate sector. And the reason I mention that is because that's where it matters: they buy 100 or 1000 phone contracts at a time, which is a lot more significant than your typical finicky fad-chasing college kid. Microsoft's agreement with LG from last February should also not be ignored. It all comes down to an 800lb gorilla that has the muscle to make these kinds of deals. Sure, when Apple makes a deal that size it's on every blog, but let's stick to an accurate comparison. When Microsoft makes that kind of deal, it's just not that groundbreaking for such a large company, but that conveniently ignores that the value of the deal is just as great. How convenient.

    I have other examples, but I'll stop there. I'm not a fan of Microsoft, have no interest in promoting their products, and frankly dislike the company for many reasons. I always admired Apple, but my irritations with iTunes really tested that. I've also been concerned at how Apple's been playing the closed-technology game in much the same way that past bullies have (IBM & Microsoft, especially). That kind of vendor lock-in is in no one's interest, whether it's from Microsoft, Apple, or Sony and this is ultimately what turns the consumer away from a product at the first viable alternative that comes along.

    Apple is treading on very thin ice with new iPod sales slumping, prices that are always too high, feeble attempts at redefining themselves out of the desktop, hobbling products by not including SD memory slots, and forcing music listeners to buy a sub-par sounding product. Some of Apple's forays are still marketplace failures like their server platform and their Display-port efforts. While Apple has a few products that have considerable marketshare (basically the iPhone/iPod), it's still too many eggs in one basket. What if someone offered a free and open-source one (i.e. Google)? It's inevitable that sooner or later someone will invent a better mouse trap than their cash cow. Maybe it won't be Microsoft, but it's only a matter of time before someone does.

    So let's pick this up again at the end of the year, when all the predictions and FUD will have given way to actual numbers.

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    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Look we can continue this debate point for point, but what you're saying simply isn't true. For example Microsoft's cash reserves are much greater that Apple's (unless you're considering ratios to the whole company, but that's not exactly fair now, is it?). Oh and by the way, Cisco has cash, but again, nothing like Microsoft, not to mention that Cisco is also sitting on considerable debt, a lot more compared to the debt that Apple or Microsoft are carrying now. Yes, it's nice to know that the Air is outselling Apple's own offerings, but that's not to the point. Let's compare sales figures to anything that HP or Dell puts out, instead.
    Again, your points about the cash reserves are flatout wrong. Apple is currently sitting on $29 billion, and the company paid off its long-term debt back in 2004. Apple's cash reserves surpassed MS' back in October. The quote below was pulled from an eWeek article.

    Apple has nearly $29 billion of cash on hand, a pile of money exceeded only by Cisco Systems among IT companies. However, that large reserve of cash offers no hint of future plans from the company that has brought consumers the Mac, the iPhone and the iPod.
    During all the speculation about MS taking over Yahoo!, analysts kept pointing out that MS no longer had enough cash to do the acquisition and would have to take on billions in debt. MS has been acquiring companies, buying back stock, increasing its dividend, and bleeding billions with its consumer products -- all of which has cut deeply into its cash reserves. Apple has spent far less, and is operating a similarly tight ship as when the company was on its death bed.

    BTW, Dell had a year-to-year sales decline of more than 30% last quarter, while Apple held steady.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    You say that you don't know anyone who doesn't use Blackberry, but that's not representative. Ironically, that's the same argument you've used against me in several other threads. As a matter of fact, you came back with the same rebuttal in trying to downplay my company's policy about Windows Mobile & Exchange. Clever, but you can't have it both ways, so I'll be polite and ignore that example entirely.
    My example is also supported by the market trends, which show RIM and Symbian outselling Windows mobile and continuing to gain market share at MS' expense. You keep claiming that Windows mobile has the "lion's share' of the market and cite your own corporate policies as proof of that. Your corporate policies are merely your own, and not indicative of what's going on in the broader market, where Windows mobile is becoming less and less relevant. If anyone's trying to have it both ways, it sure ain't me.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    And regarding marketshare, it all depends on what market you're looking at. Microsoft still rules the roost in the corporate sector. And the reason I mention that is because that's where it matters: they buy 100 or 1000 phone contracts at a time, which is a lot more significant than your typical finicky fad-chasing college kid. Microsoft's agreement with LG from last February should also not be ignored. It all comes down to an 800lb gorilla that has the muscle to make these kinds of deals. Sure, when Apple makes a deal that size it's on every blog, but let's stick to an accurate comparison. When Microsoft makes that kind of deal, it's just not that groundbreaking for such a large company, but that conveniently ignores that the value of the deal is just as great. How convenient.
    And again, the market share and trends don't support your claims. You can try and parse it with anecdotes and wishful thinking, but the bottomline is that Windows mobile is in decline and has been for the last couple of years. Even parsing the market to exclude the consumer market, RIM's sales far outpace Windows mobile. RIM's growth has been fueled by the corporate sector, not "finicky fad-chasing" college kids (where the hell do you come up with these presumptions?). RIM and the iPhone have upward momentum, Windows mobile does not.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I have other examples, but I'll stop there. I'm not a fan of Microsoft, have no interest in promoting their products, and frankly dislike the company for many reasons. I always admired Apple, but my irritations with iTunes really tested that. I've also been concerned at how Apple's been playing the closed-technology game in much the same way that past bullies have (IBM & Microsoft, especially). That kind of vendor lock-in is in no one's interest, whether it's from Microsoft, Apple, or Sony and this is ultimately what turns the consumer away from a product at the first viable alternative that comes along.
    And this is important to you, but evidently not a whole lot of others given the iPod's 70% market share. Apple has always been about taking the walled garden approach, dating all the way back to the original Mac. Anyone who buys into Apple does so knowing that you take the innovations in their products along with their often frustrating drawbacks.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Apple is treading on very thin ice with new iPod sales slumping, prices that are always too high, feeble attempts at redefining themselves out of the desktop, hobbling products by not including SD memory slots, and forcing music listeners to buy a sub-par sounding product. Some of Apple's forays are still marketplace failures like their server platform and their Display-port efforts. While Apple has a few products that have considerable marketshare (basically the iPhone/iPod), it's still too many eggs in one basket. What if someone offered a free and open-source one (i.e. Google)? It's inevitable that sooner or later someone will invent a better mouse trap than their cash cow. Maybe it won't be Microsoft, but it's only a matter of time before someone does.
    Slump? Sure, the iPod's sales growth has leveled off, but Apple has never had a year-to-year decline in iPod sales. They sold 23 million iPods in just the last quarter.

    Contrast this with MS, which saw a year-to-year sales DECLINE with the Zune. As I said before, Apple recognizes that the media player market is becoming a saturated and mature market, and is looking to the smartphone market as its new growth path. In the media player market, it's probably too late for any of the bigger players to have much interest in coming up "with a better mouse trap." The profit margins are getting squeezed and the sales growth is leveling off. Commodification of the media player market simply means that future competitive pushes will likely have more to do with lower prices than higher product quality.

    Would I like to see someone fix the iPod's shortcomings? Of course I would. But, compared to the shortcomings I've seen with other media players, the iPod still has more strengths than weaknesses. Given that I'm not an open source zealot, that part of the equation has less relevance for me. If you want a more open player, there are options out there. It's not like Apple uses its market share to contractually lock out other hardware manufacturers. Anyone who wants to create a better media player can do so. At this point though, the incentive is waning, and MS seems content to merely copy the iPod, along with all of its perceived faults.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    So let's pick this up again at the end of the year, when all the predictions and FUD will have given way to actual numbers.
    The past is prologue, and in the media player space MS has done nothing to counter what Apple is currently doing (basically the same thing that they have done over the last three years), nor does their current move with the ZuneHD come from a different script than the one has played out the last few years.

    MS announces a Zune months in advance of the product actually coming out. Months later, Apple makes its own announcement of an improved iPod that one ups the Zune, and puts it on sale immediately afterwards. MS counters by lowering prices, and sales still sputter. Repeat and repeat and repeat yet again.

    Their ZuneHD announcement is nothing more than a response to the iPod touch more than two years after the fact, and indicates that they still don't get it. The irony is that the iPhone development allowed Apple to create the iPod touch almost as an afterthought, while MS seems to be prepping the Zune to somehow spur momentum for its floundering efforts in the smartphone market.
    Last edited by Woochifer; 06-13-2009 at 02:50 PM.
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