updated 04:10 pm EST, Mon December 11, 2006
Zune Flounders on Launch
Microsoft's Zune media player is struggling to meet expectations since it launched in mid-November, according to separate business reports. While the company has already been derided for its heavily promoted jukebox slipping to fifth place in marketshare after only two weeks in stores, the player is facing further erosion of its popularity, BusinessWeek's Stephen Wildstrom reports. As of this weekend, the most popular Zune color at online vendor Amazon's site, black, ranked a distant 19th amongst music players. "[It] was outsold not only by 13 iPod models... but by five non-Apple music players," Wildstrom says.
The author is also quick to note that other Zune, especially white, suffer from far lower sales rankings. "If you want to sell a white music player, it had better be an iPod," he writes.
Criticism from Jupiter Research follows after the jump.
More scathing is the response to the launch by Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. The expert observes that several key aspects of the Zune release were flawed and will likely hurt Microsoft's ability to reach its target of one million units sold by June 2007. The Zune is described as "clunky" relative to the full-sized iPod and misses out on the increased popularity of the flash player market, failing to challenge the dominant iPod nano.
Gartenberg adds that the perceived quality of the player is in part due to Microsoft's reckless approach to marketing its handheld. "Microsoft let others take the Zune message to the media," he says, referring to an incident on CNN in which its device was openly dismissed in favor of the iPod shuffle. The Jupiter analyst suggests that Microsoft's unwilligness to provide the Zune a public defense has cost it an important early chance at luring attention away from Apple's lineup.
A video of the event is available below.