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Microsoft uses adware model to pay for Zune HD apps

post #1 of 49
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How can new competitors rival Apple's existing library of 75,000 mobile apps and installed base of 50 million users? Microsoft's approach with the Zune HD relies on overt adware, an approach Apple has deliberately avoided.

Rather than trying to seed third party developer interest organically, as Apple did when opening its iPhone App Store last summer, Microsoft's Zune Marketplace plans to create its own mobile library in house, or in conjunction with select partners, an approach closer to Apple's initial experiments with 5G iPod Games.

But instead of aiming toward building a store that encourages a wide variety of low priced software titles that can sell in high volume, Microsoft's software strategy for the Zune HD banks on delivering free software titles supported by a heavy dose of uninterruptible advertising.

Ad placement in mobile software

Apple allows App Store developers to market both free and paid apps, and the cost of developing free titles are often supported by banner ads managed by third party advertisers such as AdMob. Microsoft has been buying banner ad placement in certain iPhone apps in order to promote its Windows Mobile Marketplace, for example.

Microsoft's Zune software doesn't rely on ad banners however; it injects full screen ads that play as the apps load. More accurately, the ads play before the app loads, meaning that they can result in injecting a fifteen to thirty second delay in app startup.

A video posted by Zune HD reviewers at Ars Technica shows the Zune HD's simple Chess app taking nearly 30 seconds to load, thanks to a full video screen ad that plays before, not during, the app loading process, consuming nearly 20 seconds itself, the length of a regular TV ad. "Dang. That's all kinds of ridiculous," one viewer commented, with another adding, "That's absurd."



Who pays for software development?

The iPhone App Store's success is commonly taken for granted today, but it follows many years of failed attempts to successfully sell mobile software. Efforts by Palm, Microsoft, and Symbian to encourage the development of third party software for their mobile platforms, much like Apple's early 90s attempt to market the original Newton MessagePad, largely just copied the desktop PC software model of letting developers ship retail boxes of software on their own. The result was less successful than the PC desktop, with generally poor quality and often unfinished software titles available at only relatively high prices.

The reason: most consumers don't recognize the value of software, whether the "software" is code, music, or video. This has resulted in a combination of widespread piracy and higher software prices designed to make the honest minority pay to fund development efforts. This problem has been particularly bad for mobile devices, where simpler software titles can rarely fetch a high price from anyone, resulting in little incentive to create useful apps, lots of unfinished or low quality software, and plenty of unrealized potential for mobile platforms.

The most successful efforts at selling software often tie the abstract concept of software to a hardware medium that discourages casual piracy or unauthorized duplication, such as the CD (until the advent of easy CD burning), DVD, and various software copy protection systems such as hardware dongles or activation procedures, like those used by Microsoft to tie a Windows or Office software license to a specific PC. Prior to the iPhone, the most successful mobile software businesses were related to gaming, where software is bound to a cartridge (like the Nintendo DS) or disc (like the Sony PSP).

New models for mobile software development

For the iPhone, Apple introduced a software downloads store that tied titles to the user's iTunes account using FairPlay DRM. Yet rather than trying to extort huge sums of money from its managed software platform, the company instead aimed prices low to create a vibrant software marketplace. Apple kicked things off with an expectation-setting release of the in-house Texas Hold Em game for $5 and later offered its Remote app for iTunes and Apple TV for free. Apple has also delivered a free iDisk app tied to its MobileMe service.

The most straightforward model for supporting mobile software is paid apps, which typically cost between $0.99 and $9.99, with most apps falling in the "buck or two" category. Developers earn revenues on high volume sales, allowing users to a wide variety of quality software at a low price. Apple has encouraged developers to set a low but sustainable price on their apps. In iPhone 3.0, the company added support for in-app purchases, which enables developers to offer additional content bundles at similar "impulse buy" prices.

Apple has also promoted two types of free apps. The first, like it own Remote and iDisk apps, serves as a advertisement in itself, adding value to another product or service. A variety of companies have jumped to create free mobile apps that promote their service (such as Facebook or banking apps) or product (such as simple games that involve a brand). A second set of free apps use ad banners, following a support model commonly used on the web. Contextually sensitive banner ads sometimes have comical results, such as when ads mingle with user created content (below, the free Reddit app).



Efforts to find new ways to capture users' attention have resulted in some free iPhone apps experimenting with more prominent interstitial ads, souped up with gaming interaction features. One example is a iPhone ad campaign for Visa which puts the viewer in the role of a driver, with accelerometer-based tilt controls that allow them to steer toward offers on animated billboards. That ad still allowed viewers to bypass the ad by clicking on a close button on a dogeared corner of the screen.



Customers veto heavy adware on the web

Web advertisers discovered long ago that confronting users with ads they could not escape from--in the model of TV--didn't result in passive ad viewers, but in angry customers who simply avoided ad-heavy websites altogether. While TV viewers might budget an hour to watch a show and have grown to accept that their hour will be peppered with ads, web users with no sense of a specific time investment are often quickly outraged by ads that consume even seconds of their browsing experience, particularly ones that block their view of the content they are searching for. Some users even install software to block the banner ads that usually only appear on the periphery of the page.

A backlash against aggressive, in-your-face graphical web advertising banners promoted by Yahoo and Microsoft in the late 90s resulted in an opportunity exploited by Google: subtle, textual ads that had some relevance to the content the user was viewing. Overture, the company that invented Google's successful ad placement model, ended up disgraced by its association with the trashy Gator adware; Yahoo's acquisition of Overture in 2003 further differentiated the line between the classy and subtle adware of Google with the more overt adware models pushing annoying and sometimes offensive popup ads.

After initially dabbling in ad banner placement to support its Sherlock web search app a decade ago (below), Apple has staunchly avoided ad-centric models for supporting its own development efforts. Unlike most competitors, iTunes is completely devoid of any overt advertising. Content Apple sells in iTunes is all ad-free, in stark contrast to the TV-style ads that are used in competing efforts to support the display of content on the web, such as Hulu. Apple's free and shareware-priced applications, whether for the Mac, iPhone, or Windows, have all opted against any sort of ad placements.



Microsoft's soft spot for adware

Microsoft has long taken a different approach. A decade ago, Microsoft lined up prominent advertising on the Windows 98 desktop (below), and Windows PCs have become increasingly glutted with adware loaded by vendors and partners ever since. Ignoring the fall of Overture, Microsoft actually entered talks to acquire purchase Claria, the vendor behind the notorious Gator and its adware network that provided "ad support" for apps like the music sharing Kazaa service, installing a plague of popups. During negotiations, Microsoft reclassified Gator from adware that needed to be quarantined to a benign, reputable product users should embrace.



In 2004, the WinCE-powered Gametrak, later renamed Gizmondo, tried to market a handheld game console for either $400 or $229 loaded with push advertising. in 2005, Microsoft researchers wrote a report stating, "As Web advertising grows and consumer revenues shrink, we need to consider creating ad-supported versions of our software," according to an article by Ina Fried of CNET.

Fried's article also cited contemporary memos written by Microsoft's Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie, which stated that Microsoft had an obligation to act on the shift to ad-supported software. "It's clear that if we fail to do so, our business as we know it is at risk," Ozzie wrote. "We must respond quickly and decisively."

Earlier this year at the Morgan Stanley Technology conference, Microsoft's Business Division Chief Stephen Elop laid out plans to launch the next version of Office with on-screen ads. Office users hated Clippy when he was trying to help; they are even less likely to welcome his presence once he turns into a salesman.

The success of iTunes and the iPhone App Store show that many customers are willing to support software development directly. Subtle or creative use of ads in iPhone apps and on the web show there are opportunities there, too. But the idea that ads can fund everything and that "more ads mean more money" has clearly been proven wrong in trial after trial.

On the Zune HD, Microsoft is likely to scare away more customers with its heavy-handed advertising that it can possibly attract with a handful of free adware-supported games.
post #2 of 49
From the mind of Microsoft.
post #3 of 49
ha ha, I totally forgot about the ads in Sherlock.

Man that pissed people off.

Good times.
post #4 of 49
I find the ads in the free NY Times app annoying. I'm not sure which is worse, an ad that's displayed for a few seconds only at startup or ads that obscure a valuable portion of the small display while using the app. Either way, though, it makes the apps and the content free (so far).
post #5 of 49
Note to all app developers: "Free with ads" is not "Free."

In this case though, why would anyone pay hundreds of dollars for a portable player/computer and then expect to get advertisements on it before they could launch their own apps? Can you imagine being forced to watch a car advertisement every time you launch Microsoft Word?

I find the tolerance of people for this sort of thing astounding. It's because people didn't stand up and protest when advertisements started being forced on buyers of DVD's. Not too long ago it was actually illegal to do that kind of crap, now it's become just part of the accepted background of life.
post #6 of 49
If you can't beat 'em . . . just annoy the hell out of your own users.

Yeah, that'll work!
post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

I find the ads in the free NY Times app annoying. I'm not sure which is worse, an ad that's displayed for a few seconds only at startup or ads that obscure a valuable portion of the small display while using the app. Either way, though, it makes the apps and the content free (so far).

I'm happy to have the option of ad supported content myself. Sometimes I choose that option (Hulu on Mac, Words With Friends on iPod) and sometimes not.

The difference here is that it's the device VENDOR, who you have already paid hundreds of dollars to, squeezing yet more pennies out of you while annoying you (with video ads no less!) every time you use the function... forever.

An app developer is free to pay for their skills and time however they like. But when Microsoft sells you a Zune and then they themselves put ads in their own "free" apps (which are sadly scarce to begin with) that's a serious insult to the customer.

This would be like Apple putting ads in iPhone apps--not like an iPhone developer doing so.

This is essentially Microsoft saying: the Zune does enough without apps--you've already got your money's worth and more, so it's fine to collect ad revenue from the apps. It's also saying (apparently?) that Microsoft can't make enough money on the Zune alone to be able to pay developers of their handful of apps--they need to make a little more money to cover costs!

All of which is compared to the similarly-priced iPod which does SO much more. Buy apps, use free ones, or use ad-supported ones... whatever you choose, Apple won't be making you watch video ads to use their own software on their own device you just paid them for!
post #8 of 49
Perhaps after you launch the app a certain number of times, the ads no longer display. For instance, some may prefer to sit through an ad the first 10 times opening up Twitteriffic and have no ads thereafter than have a more subtle ad each time the app is used.

We'll see.
post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wil Maneker View Post

Perhaps after you launch the app a certain number of times, the ads no longer display. For instance, some may prefer to sit through an ad the first 10 times opening up Twitteriffic and have no ads thereafter than have a more subtle ad each time the app is used.

We'll see.

No, the ads play every single time the games are launched.

And Twitterific on iPhone has a paid version to avoid its subtle ads altogether. These Zune HD games, in contrast, do not have such an option.
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post #10 of 49
Microsoft's problem is the same one Apple faced in the 80s--critical mass. Just as Apple has had to fight an uphill battle against an entrenched and dominant user base worldwide for computers, MS is having to do the same thing against the iPod/iPhone universe. Apple's solution was to forget about world dominance and just focus on creating the best products they could. Apple never did take over the computer world, but they leveraged the superior product they did have into a springboard for an entirely new class of mobile computing which they now dominate. MSs only hope is to stay in the game and innovate, hoping something will break loose the way it did for Apple. That's why I'm not too worried about their latest effort. It'll keep 'em in the game, but it's not going to change the game.
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post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wil Maneker View Post

Perhaps after you launch the app a certain number of times, the ads no longer display. For instance, some may prefer to sit through an ad the first 10 times opening up Twitteriffic and have no ads thereafter than have a more subtle ad each time the app is used.

We'll see.

I'm sure Microsoft wouldn't keep that benefit a secret--but in effect, I expect what you say will happen: the backlash will be so huge that Microsoft will soon update the apps to remove the ads.

Or else they could open the device up to all developers, so we'll have paid, free and ad-supported all as options with tons of choices, like the iPhone.... Of course, such a vibrant developer base (and corresponding user base to pay them) doesn't happen overnight, especially when Microsoft says flat out that they have no such developer plans.
post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

If you can't beat 'em . . . just annoy the hell out of your own users.

Yeah, that'll work!

On the other hand, maybe MS perfectly well understands their customer base. If they've been willing to put up with the MS corporate, marketing, and product behavior for all these years, what's a little forced advertising? MS "fans" always get played for their high expectations, though the delivery bar has been set low for years.
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post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Note to all app developers: "Free with ads" is not "Free."

I find the tolerance of people for this sort of thing astounding.

Sadly, because the Zune HD doesn't totally suck, normal outlets are ignoring its weaknesses. Not just the ads, but the weak browser and the fact that it lacks so much compared to the iPod touch (except the price). Comparing it as a PMP to the touch, it competes (not necessarily better, but competitive). However, comparing it as a gaming machine, or computer, or Internet device, it gets beat up and has its lunch money taken.

Microsoft critics lately have come under fire for being too "biased" against MS, or being Apple "fanbois" or "sellouts", or some other nonsensical garbage. Many of these critics are responding by taking the opportunity with non-total-suckage products like the Zune (and Windows 7) to show just how "unbiased" they can be.
post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtisEMayle View Post

On the other hand, maybe MS perfectly well understands their customer base. If they've been willing to put up with the MS corporate, marketing, and product behavior for all these years, what's a little forced advertising? MS "fans" always get played for their high expectations, though the delivery bar has been set low for years.

You have a point.
post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtisEMayle View Post

On the other hand, maybe MS perfectly well understands their customer base. If they've been willing to put up with the MS corporate, marketing, and product behavior for all these years, what's a little forced advertising? MS "fans" always get played for their high expectations, though the delivery bar has been set low for years.

Very interesting point indeed. Still they can't be that inept in everything they do nowadays.

The shoe adds, that got cut after a few days, the bang bros reality adds with actors that made apple even more a symbol of class and hi tech than they are, they gazilionth of dollars they paid that super hip add agency only for them to issue pictures and banners on the net with their metadata showing made in "mac pro", their issuing a touch device after everyone but psystar has one out, their issuing a touch device with all sorts of vapourware features that never materialize.

Their touch device adds with an official screenshot dropping an "e" from the word "marketplac". Balmer prancing around in conferences like a gorilla for two minutes shouting like a crazed animal, Balmer predicting an iphone failure and the iphone becoming the largest mobile success in the history of computing, Balmer's zune, the official windows ipod still at 1%.

The list is literally hundreds of pages long.

They were always a bunch of loser nerds with no vision. But these days...MS is cringe material.

MS nowadays is like watching a nasty sad old drunk man piss himself. Can you laught at that? I can't. I can't feel for them either. I just cringe.


They used to be the laughing stock of the computer world. Now they are barring us from even laughing at them with their out of this world ineptness. That's the type of sadists they are. They are having the last laugh...

...on themselves.
post #16 of 49
double post.
post #17 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

Very interesting point indeed. Still they can't be that inept in everything they do nowadays.

... But these days...MS is cringe material.

I can only speak presumptively about today's business model; I just observe no evidence of change. In the past, I had some insight having been recruited as a technology "evangelist". Back then, it was all about their business model. Forestalling competitor sales through pre-announcements and media "leaks" was more important than actually delivering on the customer "expectations" that evangelists were to inculcate. Weaken and crush the competition stemmed from Gates. Innovation, not so much. I never saw evidence of innovation once Nathan Myhrvold and the Office Suite and Web leaders departed and it had been waning for 5 years prior. Sure, in the early days their compilers ruled ... until the upstart Borland came along, but Phillipe Kahn's ego eventually doomed that. I'm digressing, as well as aging myself, so I'll stop.
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post #18 of 49
I could not have come up with a better way to kill the acceptance of this device if I had tried. Provide an app framework that guarantees the apps don't actually launch for 30 seconds and make sure the customer is annoyed while they wait. Remember, this is a mobile device. Things have to happen quickly for people on the go. No one would use such an app on a powerful desktop machine. No way will this sort of thing be acceptable on a mobile.

If anyone is planning on shooing Microsoft in the foot, don't bother. They have already done a better job of it than you ever could.
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post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtisEMayle View Post

On the other hand, maybe MS perfectly well understands their customer base. If they've been willing to put up with the MS corporate, marketing, and product behavior for all these years, what's a little forced advertising? MS "fans" always get played for their high expectations, though the delivery bar has been set low for years.

how stupid do you think ms fans are >>
ms understand's little .
these plans seem really stupid until we factor in there going after the very large free spending zune 300 or 307 owners . in that light ms seems down right idiotic to piss of its 300 or so fans

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post #20 of 49
I not sure If MS learn anything from previous failures of forcing ads onto customers or MS have seen the future and no one else knows. Ads on TV piss everyone off especially when you are in middle of a movie and their cut to ad time. We tolerate it, since some of us do not want to fork out the extra cash to get the movie channels and ever then you still get ads on some channels.

Anyway I know what it is, Ballmar Bald Eagle is so against Apple, he rather take the opposite approach in terms of business model, just to prove a point. That is only rational argument, I can think of, why MS are planning to use the ads force down your throat strategy on MS customers.

I myself was hoping for competition (never going to buy a MS product directly, lets get real) so it would push Apple to think up innovative ideas to keep its loyal customers and we win out. Unfortunately I can always bet on MS to screw up every time.
post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by treestman View Post

Sadly, because the Zune HD doesn't totally suck, normal outlets are ignoring its weaknesses. Not just the ads, but the weak browser and the fact that it lacks so much compared to the iPod touch (except the price). Comparing it as a PMP to the touch, it competes (not necessarily better, but competitive). However, comparing it as a gaming machine, or computer, or Internet device, it gets beat up and has its lunch money taken.

Microsoft critics lately have come under fire for being too "biased" against MS, or being Apple "fanbois" or "sellouts", or some other nonsensical garbage. Many of these critics are responding by taking the opportunity with non-total-suckage products like the Zune (and Windows 7) to show just how "unbiased" they can be.

I don't know man. I will be honest. I was completely disappointed with the new touch and in fact ordered a 32 Gb Zune HD today. I have had 5 Ipods and for the first time in 6 or so years, I purchased a non Apple branded media device. I have wanted a Touch since day one but have been waiting for the right features. They just never came along. Maybe in another generation or two I will switch back, but Apple lost me for the time being on Sept 9th.

I really like Zune Pass too. I think it's the best deal going.

Say what you want. I am sure I will be ridiculed or whatever.
post #22 of 49
P.S. I don't give a rat's arse about apps. So the add thing didn't sway me.
post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtisEMayle View Post

On the other hand, maybe MS perfectly well understands their customer base. If they've been willing to put up with the MS corporate, marketing, and product behavior for all these years, what's a little forced advertising? MS "fans" always get played for their high expectations, though the delivery bar has been set low for years.

That could be true. Microsoft users have put up with the headaches of Windows for years so they may not mind an app taking 30 seconds to load. It's just like waiting after another Windows crash for them.
post #24 of 49
...will be "there's an ad for that!"
post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronHarmon View Post

P.S. I don't give a rat's arse about apps. So the add thing didn't sway me.

Then you are also not interested in the ZuneHD either. Unless you are only going for the HDradio. But otherwise a normal iPod will do for you. Right?
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post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronHarmon View Post

I don't know man. I will be honest. I was completely disappointed with the new touch and in fact ordered a 32 Gb Zune HD today. I have had 5 Ipods and for the first time in 6 or so years, I purchased a non Apple branded media device. I have wanted a Touch since day one but have been waiting for the right features. They just never came along. Maybe in another generation or two I will switch back, but Apple lost me for the time being on Sept 9th.

I really like Zune Pass too. I think it's the best deal going.

Say what you want. I am sure I will be ridiculed or whatever.

So what "features" that the Touch lacks does the Zune have? If all you care about is subscription music and a radio I can see where this would make sense, but it's literally the only scenario that does.

Which is fine, to each their own, but I can't see where there's going to be all that many people that "don't give a rat's ass about apps", find the Touch to be lacking in features, and find those very features in the Zune.
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post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtisEMayle View Post

I can only speak presumptively about today's business model; I just observe no evidence of change. In the past, I had some insight having been recruited as a technology "evangelist". Back then, it was all about their business model. Forestalling competitor sales through pre-announcements and media "leaks" was more important than actually delivering on the customer "expectations" that evangelists were to inculcate. Weaken and crush the competition stemmed from Gates. Innovation, not so much. I never saw evidence of innovation once Nathan Myhrvold and the Office Suite and Web leaders departed and it had been waning for 5 years prior. Sure, in the early days their compilers ruled ... until the upstart Borland came along, but Phillipe Kahn's ego eventually doomed that. I'm digressing, as well as aging myself, so I'll stop.

Your digression, as well as your points, made for some refreshingly different and very interesting reading here in the forums, I am sure most would agree. Thanks for sharing.

It's satisfying when someone with inside experience verifies a hunch some of us on the periphery have, but can't put our fingers on it. (or as soon as we put our fingers on it and talked about expectations not being met we gotten the same old negating tec rah rah).

As for aging, someone said if youth was the best part of life it would be the main course, not the starters like it is.
post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeasar View Post

...will be "there's an ad for that!"

lmao. f. great line, super!!!
post #29 of 49
Such a bad idea
post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtisEMayle View Post

I can only speak presumptively about today's business model; I just observe no evidence of change. In the past, I had some insight having been recruited as a technology "evangelist". Back then, it was all about their business model. Forestalling competitor sales through pre-announcements and media "leaks" was more important than actually delivering on the customer "expectations" that evangelists were to inculcate. Weaken and crush the competition stemmed from Gates. Innovation, not so much. I never saw evidence of innovation once Nathan Myhrvold and the Office Suite and Web leaders departed and it had been waning for 5 years prior. Sure, in the early days their compilers ruled ... until the upstart Borland came along, but Phillipe Kahn's ego eventually doomed that. I'm digressing, as well as aging myself, so I'll stop.

everyone does this, including Apple
post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

So what "features" that the Touch lacks does the Zune have? If all you care about is subscription music and a radio I can see where this would make sense, but it's literally the only scenario that does.

Which is fine, to each their own, but I can't see where there's going to be all that many people that "don't give a rat's ass about apps", find the Touch to be lacking in features, and find those very features in the Zune.

You hit the nail on the head my friend. Zune Pass is a really great service and value. The HD radio was just icing on the cake.
post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronHarmon View Post

You hit the nail on the head my friend. Zune Pass is a really great service and value. The HD radio was just icing on the cake.

If music and video is all you want, you will probably be happy with it.
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post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronHarmon View Post

I don't know man. I will be honest. I was completely disappointed with the new touch and in fact ordered a 32 Gb Zune HD today. I have had 5 Ipods and for the first time in 6 or so years, I purchased a non Apple branded media device. I have wanted a Touch since day one but have been waiting for the right features. They just never came along. Maybe in another generation or two I will switch back, but Apple lost me for the time being on Sept 9th.

Hmm... well, the only thing that people were disappointed with about the new iPod Touch was the lack of camera. The Zune doesn't have a camera either.

So, yes, you will get ridiculed for not mentioning why you were disappointed with the new touch, and why you ordered a Zune instead. What was the killer feature in the Zune that the iPod touch didn't provide for you.
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronHarmon View Post

You hit the nail on the head my friend. Zune Pass is a really great service and value. The HD radio was just icing on the cake.

What's great about Zune Pass? The lifetime commitment? Not ridiculing, but honestly, why is it "great service and value?"
post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

What's great about Zune Pass? The lifetime commitment? Not ridiculing, but honestly, why is it "great service and value?"

For one it integrates with their genius like feature. It will create a playlist with songs from your library and similar songs not in your library and stream them to you (while giving you the option to buy the songs or tag them to buy them later). That alone makes it a great music discovery service. You also can select 10 songs a month to keep forever (up to a $12.90 value in the itunes store). Furthermore, lets be honest here. There is no real lifetime commitment, you can also purchase songs in addition to the 10 songs a month that you get to keep with the Zune pass for prices similar to that in the itunes store with the added benefit of unlimited previews before you make the purchase. Personally, I've bought albums from from itunes and after listening to them, felt like I wasted $10 on the album. Zune Pass would eliminate those bad purchases since you can listen to the whole album before purchasing it.

Of course the downside is that you are paying $15 a month, even if there is no new music that you want. Despite that, this is the one feature of the Zune that I would really like to have, but I wouldn't give up email, a solid web browser, and apps for it. Not to mention having to wait 10 seconds for the calculator to launch, or watching a commercial before I can play a game. i will just wait for the Spotify app to come to Canada.
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post #36 of 49
Another great article here, but it's really just preaching to the choir.
Anyway, as with most Microsoft products, the Zune and Marketplace, sound ugly, clunky and cumbersome. The Redmond corporation long ago burned its bridge with me, and I do everything within my power to disuade people from using and buying its products from Xbox to Bing to Office and Windows.
post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

For one it integrates with their genius like feature. It will create a playlist with songs from your library and similar songs not in your library and stream them to you (while giving you the option to buy the songs or tag them to buy them later). That alone makes it a great music discovery service. You also can select 10 songs a month to keep forever (up to a $12.90 value in the itunes store). Furthermore, lets be honest here. There is no real lifetime commitment, you can also purchase songs in addition to the 10 songs a month that you get to keep with the Zune pass for prices similar to that in the itunes store with the added benefit of unlimited previews before you make the purchase. Personally, I've bought albums from from itunes and after listening to them, felt like I wasted $10 on the album. Zune Pass would eliminate those bad purchases since you can listen to the whole album before purchasing it.

Of course the downside is that you are paying $15 a month, even if there is no new music that you want. Despite that, this is the one feature of the Zune that I would really like to have, but I wouldn't give up email, a solid web browser, and apps for it. Not to mention having to wait 10 seconds for the calculator to launch, or watching a commercial before I can play a game. i will just wait for the Spotify app to come to Canada.

Agreed. In fact, I went to Pitchfork and looked up their top 100 indie albums for the last 3 years and have been working my way through them. They are almost all there (at Zune marketplace). I have discovered more new music and more artist in the last two months than any other time in my life including college.

The Zune software isn't perfect but the Zune Pass is a huge upgrade to anything Apple has got going right now.

I was disapointed with the Sept. 9th conference becuase at that point I already had Zune Pass for like two months. Even though there were not an rumors, I was hoping that Apple would announce a service competitive with the Zune Pass.

I dont care about Apps. I don't care about cameras. It's mostly about the music.
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronHarmon View Post

Agreed. In fact, I went to Pitchfork and looked up their top 100 indie albums for the last 3 years and have been working my way through them. They are almost all there (at Zune marketplace). I have discovered more new music and more artist in the last two months than any other time in my life including college.

The Zune software isn't perfect but the Zune Pass is a huge upgrade to anything Apple has got going right now.

I was disapointed with the Sept. 9th conference becuase at that point I already had Zune Pass for like two months. Even though there were not an rumors, I was hoping that Apple would announce a service competitive with the Zune Pass.

I dont care about Apps. I don't care about cameras. It's mostly about the music.

Then it sounds like the Zune HD is a great fit, for you.

The question is, are there enough consumers like you, who are willing to forgo device integration and general computer functionality in exchange for a particular feature (subscription services) that to date hasn't been very popular (see also Napster and Rhapsody)?

Moreover, to the extent that this feature becomes more popular, how much competitive advantage will it afford the Zune with apps such as Pandora, Last.fm and (especially) Spotify available for the Touch and iPhone, not to mention the Pre and Android phones?
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #39 of 49
This is a good comprehensive piece, a fact which makes it all the stranger that the author writes:

"Content Apple sells in iTunes is all ad-free, in stark contrast to the TV-style ads that are used in competing efforts to support the display of content on the web, such as Hulu."

No. In fact, the entire top 10% of the first page seen in iTunes is advertising. It is also dynamic advertising, offering the same shifting landscape of irritation as a common Flash or animated .gif ad.

For someone who wishes to use iTunes to seek out, say, Satie or Miles Davis, having Taylor Swift's moronic mug or a come-on for the latest episode of Dexter flashed at him upon opening iTunes is like wandering into a Wal-Mart: the same taste of American crap culture awaits.
post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by v1m View Post

This is a good comprehensive piece, a fact which makes it all the stranger that the author writes:

"Content Apple sells in iTunes is all ad-free, in stark contrast to the TV-style ads that are used in competing efforts to support the display of content on the web, such as Hulu."

No. In fact, the entire top 10% of the first page seen in iTunes is advertising. It is also dynamic advertising, offering the same shifting landscape of irritation as a common Flash or animated .gif ad.

For someone who wishes to use iTunes to seek out, say, Satie or Miles Davis, having Taylor Swift's moronic mug or a come-on for the latest episode of Dexter flashed at him upon opening iTunes is like wandering into a Wal-Mart: the same taste of American crap culture awaits.

I think it's pretty clear they're talking about ads within the available content. So that if I purchase a TV show on iTunes, I can watch it with no ads. If I want to watch something on Hulu for "free", I'm going to have to endure the ads, which reoccur regularly throughout the program.

I hardly think a brief glimpse of some pop culture imagery which offends your sensibilities on your way to browsing for music which you will purchase and enjoy without any further interruption is comparable.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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