Microsoft Takes Aim at Apple with Zune Price Cuts, Software Push

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Khaled

What I don't get is, why haven't MS started selling the Zune worldwide?

I can't even visit the zuneoriginals.net site if I am not in the US:

Access Denied

Zune Originals is currently unavailable from your location. If you are using software that masks your IP address, you may need to deactivate it temporarily to access the site. Please visit Zune.net for the latest news and information.

 

Are they serious? 

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Wildebeast

It works great, and doesn't have the proprietary music formats.  I guess Ogg Vorbis is getting a bit long in the tooth, though.  I have an extra Karma that I bought broken --I'm waiting for CF cards in the size I want to hit a more agreeable price, before I mod it to be hard disk free.  (No, I don't have a portable player, to watch movies or look at album art...)

I expect to use these Rio machines until you can quite literally buy a mp3 player/cellular phone/PDA that offers as good ratio of performance/capacity/price as anything that's been marketed up to this point.

It's good that DRM is losing ground, but the only common format is still mp3 --and the RIAA's killled all inovation as far as selling/improving the universal format. 

I find it a bit offensive that Apple, MS, and all the other game console maker is particular take these devices and especially the accessories as a license to print money.  Just because it's typical doesn't make it right and/or appropriate.  I react to the prices I see on accessories as though they've flipped me the bird.

Nothing against the Zune --it's just not yet the device I want. I hope MS & others keep plugging away --I'm not interested in an "all Apple" marketplace.

The iPhone is just insulting, for what it could be...

 

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Redeye

I'll come right out and say it I own one of the poo bricks (30gb brown Zune) and love it.  My wife (then fiance) got it for me when I graduated, which was when they originally came out.  Since then I have enjoyed several significant software upgrades and haven't felt a bit obsolete with new players hitting the market.  Maybe that could be seen as a bad thing, but I think of it differently.  I use my Zune daily and haven't had any issues with the unit breaking and love the wireless features.  I have a speaker/dock in my living room that I set the Zune on when I get home from work and it immediately starts syncing with my PC, removing old podcasts putting on new, updating music, photos, etc.  Love it.

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hammerfell

yeah uhh cache where have you been?? the first zune yeah i agree with you, it sucked. it was ginourmous, it was also low res, and the interface sucked. the newer zunes have the whole wi-fi thing down so you can get stuff off zune marketplace without even having to be plugged into your comp which is a huuuuge bonus. the newer zunes are still square and boxy but are actually not a TON bigger than the ipods and are within what i would accept as a reasonable size. the only thing that makes the ipods look that much smaller is cause they're curved at the edges. in fact, at one point, the 80gb ipod and the 80 gb zune were only .01 inches off as far as thickness.(idk if that changed)  another thing is the zune wins on interface. i loved the scroll wheel until i used the zune. it's so easy just to be lazy and go up and down and be able to throw the playlist all the way down to the bottom if you want to but still have the control to also throw it whereever you want within the accuracy of two songs. my only complaints are the screens are a little low res and you notice it. you get over that though cause if your staring at it close enough that it really bugs you then your eyes are gonna be shot in a year or two hah. the only thing the zune doesn't have that the ipod does are maybe a couple things like a dayplanner or calender or whatever they have but if you need that use your phone. you almost always have your phone on you. oh yeah and it doesn't have itunes... oh well.......
i liked the marketplace interface alot better than intunes but you need a faster comp for it. also one complaint is that marketplace doens't have as many songs. i've never had trouble finding anything. plus if i can't find it on marketplace i could probably just buy the cd??? not that hard..... i hate how zune gets a bad rep by pcworld and pcmag and just about every other PC magazine out there.....oh and i already have a zune so that's not on the list. oh and if i had to go with a third party the creative zen players are pretty nice. 

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Keith E. Whisman

What do you want under your Christmas tree? An iPod, a Zune, or a third-party media player? End quote

How about an Iphone or TMobile Android G1 with a large SDHC card. The headphones that comes with the G1 is just plain amazing. I love the ear buds that come with the G1.  They offer very good bass and sound excellent. They are far supperior to the ear phones that came with my Ipod Classic Gen6. 

 

BTW a standard USB connector fits in the proprietary connector on the bottom of the G1 and get this it works just fine. I bought a cheap USB car charger for my G1 and it works and I have several USB wall plug from motorolla phones that work just fine too.  

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Cache

Microsoft has a genuinely good product.  Really--it's extremely competent, functional, and has some features that make it a very compelling offer.  However, it has consistently failed in one key area:  MS produces very solid, dependable Zunes that exude none of the sexiness of competing Apple products.  Worse, Microsoft can't even incorporate items from it's extensive programming background into the Zune so that it offers real value to the end user.

The concept Microsoft misses is called cross-over.  I picked up an iPod Touch; this despite the fact that I detest everything about the way Apple uses itself to presume what *I* want, what is good for ease of use (come on, a standard USB connection is hardly asking them to move mountains).  However, I like having a calendar on me, some basic office-like apps hovering around--just in case.  Apple provides me with software that is like a rope around my neck, not letting me do even the simplest tasks without reminding me that Steve Jobs can now use me as his bitch.  Microsoft has software libraries--hell, entire buildings of software--that could be incorporated, used to sync my life not just to a single, off the shelf player but to everything else Microsoft can offer.

And yeah, the sexy part hurts MS a lot.  I leave my iPod on my desk at work, and it just looks sexy, even when it's off.  The zune looks utilitarian, almost like a dinosaur with manual buttons, and a design that is certainly effective, just not interesting.  No one wants to pick up a zune going 'Wow, what is this?'--but they do with competing Apple products.  Until Microsoft does what it does well--putting MS into every nook and cranny while making the electronic device capable of really serving a variety of needs... well, it's just another mp3 player on the market.  It's not even competition for Apple, it's merely another faceless competitor that 10 years from now will never, ever be remembered.

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jesse_n_sf

Where have you been? You're right Steve Jobs has you as his B**CH. It's the advertising. I can't go one block here in San Francisco without seeing an iPod Billboard or advertisement. The iPods look like a woman's compact or make-up case. Apple wants to be trendy and Microsoft is not. The problem with "Trendy" is that ideas run out and new companies take over. In order for apple to stay on top, they would have to change out their designers in hope that their new designers do the right thing. Anyway iPods look like something that you would fix your face with and Zunes do look like what you said "Utilitarian". Apple likes to disguise itself as something that it's not. It was Apple's advertising that got them where they are now. Apple sales just might go down now since everyone knows who they are now. The Zune will be here far after the iPod dies, it's like Jeans and classical music (they will never die). The Zune has features that everyone wants and adds new features more frequently than iPods do.

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