updated 11:35 am EDT, Fri May 9, 2008
MS Sells 2m Zunes
As part of its recent Zune update, Microsoft has revealed that it has sold two million of the music players since their launch in November 2006, revealing relatively flat growth for the device lineup. Although the company originally promised and slightly exceeded a target for its first million sales between the original launch date and June 2007, the company has largely remained silent on its data for its players in nearly a year.
The sales still give Microsoft a slight gain in overall US marketshare from three to four percent, according to figures published by the NPD Group.
However, the figures also indicate fragmentation in Microsoft's sales in the wake of the company's second-generation Zune players. The electronics maker had sold its first million using solely the pioneering 30GB model but since November has been selling two inexpensive flash-based models as well as two hard drive players, with the Zune's slow growth indicating little effect on the market for its broader product range.
Such slowdowns have been partly attributed to current and predicted drops in spending on MP3 players triggered both by a US economic downturn as well as saturation of the market, as few purchases are being made by first-time buyers regardless of the brand.
The results nonetheless leave Microsoft with just a fraction of Apple's US share and with comparatively slow development. The company has primarily affected marketshare of Creative, who has dropped from four to two percent marketshare year-over-year, but has been unable to dislodge second-place SanDisk (at 11 percent) or the top-selling iPod. Apple in its latest quarter sold 10.6 million iPods, or more than five times Microsoft's cumulative sales to date.
Critics have sometimes attributed the lack of success for the Zune in its relatively slow development. The Zune has typically obtained features later than the iPod and some other opponents, including podcast support received in late 2006 as well as smart playlist support obtained earlier this week.