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Old 09-11-2009, 03:45 PM   #1
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Default ...And Thus Ends the Mystery of Why the Zune Will Never Succeed

From our front-page news:
Success can mean many things, but where audio players, like the iPod, Sansa, Zune and others are concerned, it's hard to call something a success when Apple manages to sell so many players, the results would skew a graph if you threw all the numbers in there. Microsoft, for some reason, doesn't seem to actually want to enjoy success with their Zune, and that confuses me.

I have never owned a Zune, but I have used one from time to time. When the time came where I wanted to purchase an MP3 player with lots of storage, I chose the iPod Classic 120GB, which I wrote about at the time. I had actually wanted the Zune, but the fact that the Zune Marketplace wasn't available in Canada pretty much killed that idea for me. Although I prefer to buy most of my music in music stores, I still use iTunes fairly frequently to get single tracks, or other albums on the cheap, so given that the iPod 120GB and Zune 120GB cost the same at the time, the decision was a no-brainer.

So here comes along the Zune HD, a player that really looks like it has what it takes to do battle with Apple's iPod. It features a large screen, NVIDIA's fast Tegra processor, and unlike all of the iPods on the market, it actually features a radio tuner - and an HD one at that. So what am I complaining about? Oh, just about the fact that once again, consumers outside of the US are getting the shaft.

Let me get this straight. Apple, who has a worldwide reach with both their iPod line-up and their iTunes music store has been pushing incredible sales numbers for years. Then there's Microsoft, who decides to keep their latest creation, which actually looks pretty damn cool, within the US, along with their Zune Marketplace. I'm no business major, but how exactly does this make sense?


"For the time being the Zune HD device will remain US only," a Microsoft spokesperson told Ars. "Right now we are focused on deploying an exciting service in the form of Zune Video to 18 markets. We are looking at potential future hardware experiences for these markets, but do not have anything to announce right now." That's the official word, despite reports from April 2009 indicating that this year's Zune platfrom update would be an international one.


Source: Ars Technica
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:02 PM   #2
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Where have you been? You say: "r, and unlike all of the iPods on the market, it actually features a radio tuner - and an HD one at that. "

Haven't you heard, Apple has not only recently given the iPod Nano a radio turner, and a pedometer, but also a video recorder, with more memory, etc., and all at a 30 dollar drop in price! As far as HD radio goes, so far it's been a failure and it's adoption rate has been nothing short of abysmal!

Apple at least gives to the open source community a lot of it's innovation, such as Grand Central Dispatch, Open CL, WebKit, Cblocks, etc. What has Microsoft done lately in this regard? I thought so!
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
Haven't you heard, Apple has not only recently given the iPod Nano a radio turner, and a pedometer, but also a video recorder, with more memory, etc.
Well, I don't feel bad in not knowing that, given that iPod was just announced this week. Still, it's not as though it didn't take Apple almost 8 years to finally implement the feature, when others had it for a while. The Zune still has the plus of featuring HD Radio support. Still, I have no real complaints. Now let's see an FM tuner introduced on the higher-end models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
As far as HD radio goes, so far it's been a failure and it's adoption rate has been nothing short of abysmal!
Good job of downplaying a technology just because Apple doesn't support it.

http://www.ibiquity.com/hd_radio/hdradio_find_a_station

"Currently, there are 1,934 HD Radio stations broadcasting across the nation."

If that's failure, what's your definition of success?
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:16 PM   #4
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A $30 price drop now means it is only overpriced by about $100, lol............
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Old 09-11-2009, 11:35 PM   #5
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Default HD so far is a bummer......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
Well, I don't feel bad in not knowing that, given that iPod was just announced this week. Still, it's not as though it didn't take Apple almost 8 years to finally implement the feature, when others had it for a while. The Zune still has the plus of featuring HD Radio support. Still, I have no real complaints. Now let's see an FM tuner introduced on the higher-end models.



Good job of downplaying a technology just because Apple doesn't support it.

http://www.ibiquity.com/hd_radio/hdradio_find_a_station

"Currently, there are 1,934 HD Radio stations broadcasting across the nation."

If that's failure, what's your definition of success?
My definition of success?

Try this on for size: so far HD has been a bummer! That's right. Where as Apple sells ten million iPods every three months, or 40,000,000 plus per year, HD radio sets sold a measly 200,000 units in the entire U.S. lor the entire past year! Hopefully, this year they may sell maybe a million plus, but compared to the iPod and other mpeg3 players the point is clear.... HD isn't a rip-roaring success!

I'm not downplayig HD radio, I'm simply stating a fact that at the moment it hasn't been a huge success. The new Zune will have an OLED screen, nice! But that's not something that anyoe else could not easily add at any time, including Apple. Even 5,000,000 units per year wouldn't even be much of a success compared to what the iPod is, so why attack the iPod just because Apple makes it? .

Now, I'm not saying that won't change, but Apple can easily add HD anytime they want, it's not a big deal, or it's not like Microsoft invented anything new here. The iPod's tremendous success proves that having a radio isn't what most people want - they want to control what they want to hear, not what some radio manager thinks they should hear!

I'm simply quoting what many people have written about HD - that, thus far, it has been anything but a success and the idea that one or two thousand stations have added it doesn't mean much in a country the size of the U.S. I'm not running down HD, just saying it's not that a big deal at the moment. When it becomes a big deal, let me know ok? Implying that because a mpeg player doesn't have a radio turner, it therefore, can't be any good is silly! If having a radio turner is so important, how come those with them are not out selling the iPod - please explain that?

Besides, when other mpeg players have more than 75,000 apps, including over 21,000 games, let me know and I might just buy a Zune or something!


http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/10/hdradio
http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keat...-listening.asp
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Old 09-11-2009, 11:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by b1lk1 View Post
A $30 price drop now means it is only overpriced by about $100, lol............
Very funny, now at $149 U.S. your implying that the iPod Nano is only worth $19! Wow, when you find a player that has a pedometer, radio, video recorder, access to the iTunes catalog of 8,000,000 plus songs, movies, etc., at that price, please, for Pete's sake, let us all know!
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
HD radio sets sold a measly 200,000 units in the entire U.S. lor the entire past year!
Not that it matters, but do you have a source to back up this claim?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
The new Zune will have an OLED screen, nice! But that's not something that anyoe else could not easily add at any time, including Apple.
Ahh, alright. They just updated their line-up, and didn't add it... but could have. I guess that counts for something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
so why attack the iPod just because Apple makes it?
You do realize I own an iPod, right? I'll attack any product that that lacks features I believe it should have or carries notable issues, regardless of company. For the record, I've attacked Microsoft far more than any other company out there. And hey, you don't see me calling myself MicrosoftMan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
I'm simply quoting what many people have written about HD - that, thus far, it has been anything but a success and the idea that one or two thousand stations have added it doesn't mean much in a country the size of the U.S.
It does when you realize that radio in general is dwindling. How many stations does Sirius or XM have? Dozens? We're talking about thousands of HD Radio stations here... not dozens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
If having a radio turner is so important, how come those with them are not out selling the iPod - please explain that?
If I said anywhere that an FM Tuner was important to the majority of people, please let me know.

Also, please stop quoting articles that are two years or more out of date. Those are not useful to me.
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:54 AM   #8
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Default What's your point?

"Not that it matters, but do you have a source to back up this claim?"

From the main source of HD radio, iBiquity themselves, here's their latest statistics:

"Since the launch of the first HD Radios in 2004, the total installed base hit 600,000 at the end of the third quarter of 2008, up from 340,000 at the end of 2007, iBiquity also said. The statistics include OEM and after market car audio and home audio."

Those are the latest figures remember, since we wont' know what the 2009 statistics will be until sometime next year. Also, consider that ever since the the iPod began close to one-quarter of a billion of the little suckers were sold!

http://www.twice.com/article/253539-...ady_Growth.php

Also: http://harkerresearch.typepad.com/ra...-radio-ma.html


"Ahh, alright. They just updated their line-up, and didn't add it... but could have. I guess that counts for something."

What's your point? I said that this was great; I didn't say it was bad, I was just trying to say something nice about the Zune!

"You do realize I own an iPod, right? I'll attack any product that that lacks features I believe it should have or carries notable issues, regardless of company. For the record, I've attacked Microsoft far more than any other company out there. And hey, you don't see me calling myself MicrosoftMan."

Mentioning what one product lacks is fine, just as someone, like myself, mentioning that particular 'lack' doesn't 'carry anything that they consider to be that 'notable is just as fine'. When you say things like, "I'll attack any product that that lacks features I believe it should have or carries notable issues, regardless of company.", I must ask: why attack? Can't you simply state what you feel without actually attacking the product or its company? All I'm saying is that radio isn't that important to most people in a mpeg player, and something that is easily demonstrated by the over 200,000,000 million plus iPod owners who have proven that point with their wallets! The fact that you own an iPod doesn't change the fact that you and others keep mentioning the Zune's radio as if it's a big deal, and thus making it some kind of iPod killer! Your not alone on that score, many commentators have done the same, but if no one really uses it (HD), it's a moot point I, for one, think that a radio is a great addition, I just don't think it's as important as some think it is. I also think it's nice that Microsoft added the HD component, but I think HD radio is getting more playtime then it deserves. It could change, but until it does, it's not much of a point at all!

"It does when you realize that radio in general is dwindling. How many stations does Sirius or XM have? Dozens? We're talking about thousands of HD Radio stations here... not dozens."

Again, if that is the case, why bother keep mentioning the radio tuner? Thousands of radio stations sounds wonderful, but what's the point if few people are buying HD units in order to listen to them? If only a few people are listening to those 'thousands' of stations, just what is the pointt? After all, if only 600,000 units have been sold in a huge nation of over 300,000,000 people, then my point on HD radio in the Zune is well taken, because HD radio is barely use by the general public. When ,or if it , is, then you got a point there, but also when it gets to that point, I'm sure Apple will consider it worthy of inclusion, as will other manufacturers. Mind you, it's nice feature, but that's about it, at this point. You do realize that's represents approximately barely one-third of a measly one percent of the nation - so now you know why i say that's it's hardly what I call a success, which was simply my point! After all, would you call the iPod a success if only 600,000 people bought one of the 200,000,000 million iPods made? No, of course not, but the figures for HD in all these years are even worse, so why bother mentioning this as if it's really important?

"If I said anywhere that an FM Tuner was important to the majority of people, please let me know."

I never said, you said that an FM tuer was important, but when you sarcastically say things like, " and unlike all of the iPods on the market, it actually features a radio tuner - and an HD one at that.", it kind of implies that you do, in fact, think it's important, otherwise why even bother to mention it?

Any way, Rob your post was a good one. Keep em coming and I will probably keep rubbing you on em!

PS. Your 120 GB iPod Classic was just bumped up to 160 GBs, but for less money! Damn Apple, always making their products worse with each and every update.... those lil buggers!
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Old 09-12-2009, 04:56 PM   #9
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I think it's about time they added an FM tuner, but it's a little to late. I've been using mp3 players with built in radio for years, and the reception is only good on strong or nearby stations. Apple should've offered HD radio support as that was one of the major reasons for having HD radio to begin with.

As far as Microsoft not offering Zune store support outside of the US, I'm sure it's a licensing issue imposed by the music industry. Just look how strongly content studios regulate which youtube videos can be viewed in which countries, which BBC videos can be viewed outside the UK, etc etc. Offering content outside of a single country just makes the legalese and licensing hoops quadruple.
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
Those are the latest figures remember, since we wont' know what the 2009 statistics will be until sometime next year. Also, consider that ever since the the iPod began close to one-quarter of a billion of the little suckers were sold!
The iPod plays music, video, et cetera, so of course it sells well. HD Radio is a feature that is best-done when paired up with a product, not one to be sold as a separate product. If companies like Apple adopted the technology, it would grow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
What's your point? I said that this was great; I didn't say it was bad, I was just trying to say something nice about the Zune!
You said that Apple could have added it if they wanted to, but didn't. That came off as very humorous to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
All I'm saying is that radio isn't that important to most people in a mpeg player, and something that is easily demonstrated by the over 200,000,000 million plus iPod owners who have proven that point with their wallets!
The success of the iPod has nothing to do with the success of the radio, so I'm not sure why you are trying to compare the two. People would rather sacrifice other features in order to own an iPod, it's simple. I'm willing to bet that if a lot of people had access to a tuner, they'd use it from time to time when they wanted a break from their usual collection of music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
The fact that you own an iPod doesn't change the fact that you and others keep mentioning the Zune's radio as if it's a big deal, and thus making it some kind of iPod killer!
I didn't say that the HD Radio tuner makes it an iPod killer. I merely mean that it's nice to see that a company isn't so high on itself that it's willing to introduce cool features like this. Apple lives by the methodology that if they don't find it necessary, than it's not included. I have to assume that's why it took EIGHT years to see a simple tuner included. And I have to say... the fact that they DID release an iPod with a tuner pretty much shows that there was some demand for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
Again, if that is the case, why bother keep mentioning the radio tuner? Thousands of radio stations sounds wonderful, but what's the point if few people are buying HD units in order to listen to them?
Who's going to run out and purchase an HD Radio tuner by itself? No one. That's why it's not "successful". With Microsoft's adoption, and hopefully others in the future, we can see the technology grow. It's not a bad technology, and certainly not a failure. It has real potential. It's HD Radio... that's subscription-free. What's wrong with wanting to see more support for that? If people support it, it will grow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
I never said, you said that an FM tuer was important, but when you sarcastically say things like, " and unlike all of the iPods on the market, it actually features a radio tuner - and an HD one at that.",
I say that because a tuner is an incredibly simple thing, and it takes nothing to implement one into an MP3 player, which is why everyone other than Apple has included them on their own players for a while.

If there's another thing I'll say, it's that I wonder if Apple updated their earbuds for the new Nano? Their old earbuds were not ideal for radio use, because they weakened the wires inside so that you could never get a very strong signal. So the only stations you're able to get have to be very close, whereas on other earbuds/headphones, you can sometimes get radio stations from pretty far away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar
As far as Microsoft not offering Zune store support outside of the US, I'm sure it's a licensing issue imposed by the music industry.
Of course that's it. But look at Apple... they sell music worldwide. If Apple can do it, I don't understand why Microsoft can't either. It seems to me that Microsoft simply doesn't want the hassle of going out of the US right now. It's as though they want the success to grow before they unleash it on the rest of the world. I think this is a poor move either way though. I really can't see this thing having success when things like their music store is restricted to the US.

Oh Microsoft, I just bought ten bucks worth of music on iTunes last night... thought you'd like to know. That pushes me up to $383 that I've spent on iTunes to date.
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:50 PM   #11
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The iPod plays music, video, et cetera, so of course it sells well. HD Radio is a feature that is best-done when paired up with a product, not one to be sold as a separate product. If companies like Apple adopted the technology, it would grow.


Of course that's it. But look at Apple... they sell music worldwide. If Apple can do it, I don't understand why Microsoft can't either. It seems to me that Microsoft simply doesn't want the hassle of going out of the US right now. It's as though they want the success to grow before they unleash it on the rest of the world. I think this is a poor move either way though. I really can't see this thing having success when things like their music store is restricted to the US.

Oh Microsoft, I just bought ten bucks worth of music on iTunes last night... thought you'd like to know. That pushes me up to $383 that I've spent on iTunes to date.

The notion that the Zune would be successful if only it would go international is flawed at best! I mean, if the Zune can't succeed in its own market, the U.S., what makes people think it will succeed if it ws sold internationally? If I can't successfully sell my widgets in Peoria, then I probably can't sell it in Bordeaux either! If the Zune is to succeed, it must first be able to succeed in the U.S., therefore, I'm guessing, that they are naturally concentrating on that market first, because as they say, "If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere!" The fact is, the U.S. is still the most important market in the world, dwarfing most others and it's here that the big bucks are to be made, not in Slovenia, not that I have anything against the Slovenians.

As to why Apple can sell music internationally and Microsoft can't or won't, well that's a very good question? You have to ask them, not me, because I don't know any more than the next guy. Like you, I don't see it making much sense, as well.

As far as Apple, sure they could add a HD radio, plus OLED devices, if they wanted too - but obviously, for what ever reason - they don't want to! What's so humorous about that? The point is, hardly anyone listens to HD at present! Maybe when enough people start to, Apple will think about adding the extra cost of adding it to the iPod, but I would think that the cost is too much for the small amount of listeners that HD has.It's not the number of HD radio stations that is important, it's the number of listeners and HD simply doesn't have the numbers. Does adding an extra $50 or more dollars to a device make sense when there is no demand, and when your trying to cut costs as much as possible? I would love to see a HD radio on the iPod, but if people aren't interested in buying HD radios, and if, as you stated, radio on the whole is dwindling why bother adding that cost to your product? Why not wait until there is sufficient demand and listeners, because clearly, there are not that many people interested in HD. Apple just happens to be one ot the most successful marketing companies in history,and maybe, just maybe they might actually know a thing or two in this area, don't you think? I'm sure they probably studied the idea, and if they did, it's obvious that they didn't feel it was worth raising the costs when people clearly are not interested in HD at the moment. Didn't you read those recent links in my last post? I

When it comes to OLED panels, well, you know some are worried because Apple signed a major multi-billion dollar contract with LG for a far range of panels up to 15 inches in size, paying 600,000,000 U.S. cash as a down payment. In other words: OLED iPod's, iPhones, MacBooks and tablets will soon be on their way. The contract is so huge (along with contracts with Samsung, etc.) that some are fearing other manufacturers will be at a disadvantage as they most often are with Apple using the largest portion of the world's flash!

By the way, now that I think of it - If most people dont' want to pay for a dedicated HD player, why, oh why would they want to pay extra for a HD equipped mpeg player? Telling me that HD is going slow because HD isn't included as a part of other devices is really humorous. Why would people not want to pay for dedicated HD players, but some how, they really would want to pay extra to have it in another device is a classic! Where do you get these ideas anyway?

You asked me for the most recent statistics on HD sales, I gave them to you, and they show that people clearly are not interested in HD yet, but you remain completely silent..... now that I find humorous as well. As for this particular topic of HD radio, I have no more interest in it. Wake me up when it starts pulling in big audiences, because the market place has proven with a sad, sad showing of only 600k of HD sets purchased in the past five whopping years, HD is a loser technology. It could change, but like others, I sincerely doubt it.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:57 PM   #12
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Of course that's it. But look at Apple... they sell music worldwide. If Apple can do it, I don't understand why Microsoft can't either. It seems to me that Microsoft simply doesn't want the hassle of going out of the US right now. It's as though they want the success to grow before they unleash it on the rest of the world. I think this is a poor move either way though. I really can't see this thing having success when things like their music store is restricted to the US.

Oh Microsoft, I just bought ten bucks worth of music on iTunes last night... thought you'd like to know. That pushes me up to $383 that I've spent on iTunes to date.
Apple can do it because they are willing to stand their ground and know that the music companies can only pull their content if they wish to hurt themselves far more than Apple. Apple also has some hefty clout to go with their iTunes/iPod monopoly.

Microsoft could probably attempt to force the issue, but then again companies could pull their content from the Zune store instead and not think twice about it because the Zune market is so small (under 5%). Most stores/sites would rather keep on the good side of the music studios (ie keep what little they have) rather than get pushy or give in to unreasonable pricing demands. Just remember how many times the music industry has tried to push Apple to raise their iTunes prices or change various terms...
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:07 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Kougar View Post
Apple can do it because they are willing to stand their ground and know that the music companies can only pull their content if they wish to hurt themselves far more than Apple. Apple also has some hefty clout to go with their iTunes/iPod monopoly.

Microsoft could probably attempt to force the issue, but then again companies could pull their content from the Zune store instead and not think twice about it because the Zune market is so small (under 5%). Most stores/sites would rather keep on the good side of the music studios (ie keep what little they have) rather than get pushy or give in to unreasonable pricing demands. Just remember how many times the music industry has tried to push Apple to raise their iTunes prices or change various terms...
You certainly hit the nail on the head. Regardless of what one might think, good or bad, about Apple, they have become the world's largest music distributor and to hassle Apple too much would be to cut off their nose to spite their face scenario. It seems strange, looking back, that Apple is now in the position of clout that Microsoft has owned for so long! Maybe, Apple really is the new Microsoft as some have speculated?

Of course, one of the main reasons Apple's iPod is so popular, isn't just because how large it has become, but because of human nature, or the old sheep instinct. A lot of kids won't settle for anything but an iPod because it's what appears to be the 'in thing' and as long as it is that way, it's going to be hard for anyone to kill off the iPod. People love to follow the crowd and as long as they perceive that the iPod is the king, they will blindly follow the crowd regardless of where the crowd is headed, good or bad! Everyone wants to be accepted, everyone wants to be seen as cool, and the cool thing these days is to be seen with an Apple device, such as the iPod.` As long as the iPod is seen as the 'in thing' it wouldn't matter if the Zune was a hundred times better than it, it all boils down to vanity and the need for people to have other people think that they are among one of the cool crowd - which is, for better or worse, Apple and it's enormously successful iPod.

If you could convince people that wearing purple and yellow dotted underwear is cool, guess what? Everyone would be buying and sporting new yellow and purple dotted underwear, because most people don't think rationally, they think emotionally! Sad but true. Very sad!
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