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Microsoft removes, then re-adds Zune HD to its website [u]

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
Microsoft temporarily removed references to all Zune hardware from the official Zune website Monday, an apparent error that was initially viewed as the final nail in the coffin for the media player that failed to gain traction against Apple's iPod lineup [update].

As first noted by tech journalist Ed Bott, Microsoft's Zune.net website was updated on Monday to remove all references to devices. Instead, the website simply promoted Zune Music Pass and Zune software on various platforms including Windows Phone and Xbox Live.

Update: But later Monday, the site was updated and the Zune HD hardware appeared on the site once again. A spokesperson for Microsoft told Bott the removal of the device from the page was a "mistake."

Microsoft last updated its Zune hardware in 2009 with the Zune HD, which aimed to take on Apple's iPod touch with an OLED multi-touch screen and access to the $15-per-month unlimited download Zune Pass service. The Zune HD sold at launch for $220 for a 16GB model, and $290 for 32GB.

Microsoft has yet to officially announce that the Zune HD has been discontinued, but it's a logical step as the market for devoted media players continues to shrink with more powerful smartphones offering the same or better functionality in a multi-purpose device.

As the iPhone has gained in popularity, iPod sales have continued to dwindle for Apple, and this year its flagship devoted media player, the iPod touch, is not expected to see any major changes aside from the availability of a new white model. There have also been claims and some evidence that Apple will soon discontinue its aging iPod classic and iPod shuffle.



Reports first began to surface in March that Microsoft planned to abandon its line of Zune media players, first launched in 2006. Bloomberg cited anonymous sources who indicated Microsoft would shift the Zune brand toward its music store and subscription software, which will is available through handsets running its Windows Phone mobile operating system.
post #2 of 61
It makes sense. Dedicated music players are quickly dying.
post #3 of 61
Apple is winning.
post #4 of 61
Apple is losing.

And dedicated music players are not quickly dying.

There, all the arguments have been concisely covered. This thread can end without bickering, insults, trolling, and other nonsense.

Good night, AppleInsider! See you when this all starts up again tomorrow!

Note: this is not to be construed as me leaving for the day

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #5 of 61
Company X axes hardware x to concentrate on software and services.
There seems to be a lot of that going around these days.
post #6 of 61
Apple/Microsoft are winning/dying...yada yada.

Apple makes good products. The Zune HD was a fantastic music player with better sound quality than the iPod, BUT it couldn't compete if you wanted apps, plain and simple. Plus MS's customer support for the Zune was abysmal. With Apple you can just walk into their stores and get something fixed with little problems. MS would be smart to try and put their Zune software on all platforms, but I don't see that happening.

I guess the days of dedicated music players are seeing an end. The Classic might go the way of the Dodo as well tomorrow. This is unfortunate as I like having a dedicated music player versus a smartphone. I guess we can settle on the iPod Touch for now.
post #7 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Reports first began to surface in March that Apple planned to abandon its line of Zune media players, first launched in 2006. .

You guys need to get some editors who are not so emotionally involved with the topic.
post #8 of 61
Yup. And Apple will kill the hard drive-based iPod Classic tomorrow.

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post #9 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Apple is winning.

..."is..."?
post #10 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

Yup. And Apple will kill the hard drive-based iPod Classic tomorrow.

Yeah, and that would be equivalent to saying "Zune" is gone?
post #11 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Apple makes good products. The Zune HD was a fantastic music player with better sound quality than the iPod, BUT it couldn't compete if you wanted apps, plain and simple. Plus MS's customer support for the Zune was abysmal. With Apple you can just walk into their stores and get something fixed with little problems. MS would be smart to try and put their Zune software on all platforms, but I don't see that happening.

Not that it matters nownot that it ever really didbut I wouldn't go out of my way to describe the Zune as a fantastic music player, nor did the consumer market which voted it down with their money. It was starting to find some polish, though. And better sound quality? Due to what, better headphones? The iPod headphones have never been fantastic; that should be yielded by anyone who has compared its headphones to a good pair. The Zune could have used better customer service but it is pretty hard to compete with the convenience of the established Apple Store network...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

I guess the days of dedicated music players are seeing an end. The Classic might go the way of the Dodo as well tomorrow. This is unfortunate as I like having a dedicated music player versus a smartphone. I guess we can settle on the iPod Touch for now.

This is a good part of what it is all coming down to. As smartphones (and in the Apple ecosystem, the iPod Touch) become more accessible and more capable, and music management becomes more efficient, the general interest in a large-capacity music player (like the iPod Classic) will continue to die out. Probably the biggest part of what brought us here is that Microsoft never offered a proper competitor to the iPod, and more goes into that than hardware alone. Competing with the iPod also meant competing with iTunes and the iTunes store. That tie-in was (and perhaps still is) probably the single greatest hurdle for Apple competitors to overcome or react to.
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post #12 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Apple is losing.

And dedicated music players are not quickly dying.

Note: this is not to be construed as me leaving for the day

Yes they are. Just because you are hanging on for dear life, doesn't mean everyone else is.

Smart phones and iPod Touches eliminated the need for such dedicated players.

Anybody who absolutely needs to carry 40,000 songs in their pocket at all times is clearly in the minority...
post #13 of 61
You know it's bad when the Zune Tattoo Guy gives up on Zune.
And that was 3 years ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBbOBc-L720

I wonder what took Microsoft so long to give up.

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post #14 of 61
Uhh... no offense to Ed Bott, but check your facts, dude. The Zune HD player is still available under the "Products" pull-down menu.

http://www.zune.net/en-US/products/zunehd/default.htm
post #15 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Yes they are. Just because you are hanging on for dear life, doesn't mean everyone else is.

I'm *sigh* Never mind.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #16 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by 801 View Post

You guys need to get some editors who are not so emotionally involved with the topic.

Classic!
post #17 of 61
Reports first began to surface in March that Apple planned to abandon its line of Zune media players, first launched in 2006.

About time Apple did something right!!!
post #18 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'm *sigh* Never mind.

post #19 of 61
I honestly thought this was gone some time ago. Suspecting they are running out of stock right about now. At some point it is cheaper to shred them than sell them. Wonder if they will blend?
post #20 of 61
The rumor of Zune hardware being discontinued is old news from last back in March and Microsoft commented on Windows Phone 7 being the successor to Zune:
http://anythingbutipod.com/2011/03/zune-is-not-dead
post #21 of 61
Fuck, where am I going to get a brown music player now?

PS: This was excellent:-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Apple is losing.

And dedicated music players are not quickly dying.

There, all the arguments have been concisely covered. This thread can end without bickering, insults, trolling, and other nonsense.

Good night, AppleInsider! See you when this all starts up again tomorrow!

Note: this is not to be construed as me leaving for the day
post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

Yup. And Apple will kill the hard drive-based iPod Classic tomorrow.

The Zune was a competitor to the iPod Touch, not the classic. This is like Apple killing their Touch.
post #23 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

It makes sense. Dedicated music players are quickly dying.

I agree, but I also think it makes sense for MS to license with vendors over being a HW vendor in the portable space. I wouldn't be surprised to see a WP7 PMP with a cellular data option.
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post #24 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I agree, but I also think it makes sense for MS to license with vendors over being a HW vendor in the portable space. I wouldn't be surprised to see a WP7 PMP with a cellular data option.

I wonder what the number of units of dedicated music players will end up settling down to after they have "died"?

Personally I still much prefer taking my iPod Nano with me when I go for a walk than my iPhone (just down to the size/weight), and while dedicated players is clearly a declining market, I would imagine there will still be huge numbers of them sold for a long time to come.
post #25 of 61
Another Bott-ched announcement.
post #26 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

Not that it matters nownot that it ever really didbut I wouldn't go out of my way to describe the Zune as a fantastic music player, nor did the consumer market which voted it down with their money. It was starting to find some polish, though. And better sound quality? Due to what, better headphones? The iPod headphones have never been fantastic; that should be yielded by anyone who has compared its headphones to a good pair.


This is a good part of what it is all coming down to. As smartphones (and in the Apple ecosystem, the iPod Touch) become more accessible and more capable, and music management becomes more efficient, the general interest in a large-capacity music player (like the iPod Classic) will continue to die out. Probably the biggest part of what brought us here is that Microsoft never offered a proper competitor to the iPod, and more goes into that than hardware alone. Competing with the iPod also meant competing with iTunes and the iTunes store. That tie-in was (and perhaps still is) probably the single greatest hurdle for Apple competitors to overcome or react to.


1. The Sony X1050/X1060 was a fantastic player compared to the iPod as well, but didn't sell well in the U.S. Sales in the U.S. alone doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the device, but instead the PERCEPTION of the device. People only thought "iPod iPod iPod" just like they used to only think "Walkman Walkman Walkman"

2. The Sony and Zune sounded better do to the internals being of better quality. The DAC in the Zune and Sony were simply better. Just like the DAC in the ORIGINAL iPod Shuffle outperform ANY of the subsequent iPod DACs.

3. The Zune hardware was able to compete with the iPod, both HDD and flash, but ONLY as players. The iTunes ecosystem was too much of a match for the Zune ecosystem. The Zune had features that Apple supporters panned...such as wireless syncing. Funny how now Apple is adding it to their devices. I guess a feature is only good if Apple uses it. :P

4. There will ALWAYS be people who want high capacity music players. The idea that "the Cloud" is the ultimate solution is a silly thought. It is very convenient, but I don't want to rely on it 100% of the time. I have had MANY occasions to curse Apple's new Apple TV when either Netflix stopped working (often...but only on the Apple TV...PCs, phones and Xbbox worked fine) and even when the streaming of Movies and TV from Apple would drop out. Some of us want to have all of our music with us locally and not reliant on a wireless data collection. Not everybody, but enough of us to continue selling the Classic.
post #27 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

The Zune was a competitor to the iPod Touch, not the classic. This is like Apple killing their Touch.

No, the Zune HD was a similar device to the iPod Touch. The Zune (HDD-based) was similar to the Classic..actually to the iPod Video.

I loved the Zune hardware (the Red and Brown especially ) but I really don't know if I would use the word "competitor".
post #28 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

Yup. And Apple will kill the hard drive-based iPod Classic tomorrow.

I hope not - I have an older 80gb Classic and it complements my 32gb iPhone quite well. Until I can fit the bulk of my collection onto a single device, I still want something with plenty of storage!
post #29 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

1. The Sony X1050/X1060 was a fantastic player compared to the iPod as well, but didn't sell well in the U.S. Sales in the U.S. alone doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the device, but instead the PERCEPTION of the device. People only thought "iPod iPod iPod" just like they used to only think "Walkman Walkman Walkman"

It seems to have become popular to believe that marketing is the primary force behind Apple's products.* Apple does have a strong marketing element. Their products are aesthetically pleasing and they advertise brilliantly. But this is only a small part of what led to the iPod's success. For example, it doesn't matter how much Microsoft marketed the Zune, or how high quality the Zune was in terms of hardware. It would not have defeated the iPod because that alone does not address user interface, media management, and ecosystem. It does the iPod (and this issue) an injustice to reduce it so.

*Most of the marketing behind Apple's products is word-of-mouth, and that has been bought through consistently releasing high quality products which people enjoy using. At Apple's level of sales, attributing this to 'brainwashing', or whatever people like to say, is naïve, if not delusional.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

2. The Sony and Zune sounded better do to the internals being of better quality. The DAC in the Zune and Sony were simply better. Just like the DAC in the ORIGINAL iPod Shuffle outperform ANY of the subsequent iPod DACs.

I do not have first-hand experience with the Sony product you've described, but I have used a few generations of Zunes under various circumstances and I've used them with the same high-quality headphones I have used with my iPhones and other Apple devices. Whatever quality difference you describe is not one which has identified itself to me in a particularly meaningful way. Forgive me for taking these things with a grain of salt, by the way. Audiophiles take things too far and it can be difficult to differentiate between legitimate concerns and silly differences (e.g. lossless vs. 256 AAC).

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

3. The Zune hardware was able to compete with the iPod, both HDD and flash, but ONLY as players. The iTunes ecosystem was too much of a match for the Zune ecosystem. The Zune had features that Apple supporters panned...such as wireless syncing. Funny how now Apple is adding it to their devices. I guess a feature is only good if Apple uses it. :P

By 'too much of a match' are you suggesting that the Zune ecosystem was comparable in some way to the iPhone ecosystem? That would be a lie, but I think I may have misunderstood you. Wireless Syncing would be a nice feature to add and I'm honestly not sure why something like that hasn't already been added to Apple devices (probably because they want to make sure it is integrated carefully and smoothly), but truth of the matter is that features such as this aren't game changers or the sort of thing that will sway consumers in meaningful numbers. And on that note, having a feature is not so important as having an elegantly implemented feature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

4. There will ALWAYS be people who want high capacity music players. The idea that "the Cloud" is the ultimate solution is a silly thought. It is very convenient, but I don't want to rely on it 100% of the time. I have had MANY occasions to curse Apple's new Apple TV when either Netflix stopped working (often...but only on the Apple TV...PCs, phones and Xbbox worked fine) and even when the streaming of Movies and TV from Apple would drop out. Some of us want to have all of our music with us locally and not reliant on a wireless data collection. Not everybody, but enough of us to continue selling the Classic.

Absolutely. But the problem you may or may not have considered is that people who want this level of control, and understand it well enough to care it in the first place, are in minority. You're a drop in the market for these devices. Eventually as flash capacity and pricing allows for more storage, the old iPod Classic will well and truly die, and it will happen as companies decide that the old device has become obsolete (relative to sales and features of current devices). Apple will probably lead the pack on this one and leave the dwindling market to niche devices—if anything they're usually ahead of the curve.

This sort of thing can be done too early, though. For example, I have a very large amount of music myself, but I've been able to make it work comfortably on, say, a 32 GB device (with plenty of other data) using the likes of ratings and smart playlists. You only need so much music with you to enjoy it. I don't really care about the iPod Classic anymore because it serves no real purpose for me (and I'm definitely in the top tiers of digital music users as far as consumers go). On the flip-side, I [sympathize] regarding the Apple TV. I have a classic Apple TV and a new Apple TV and I would like very much to combine various features from the two—especially storage. I don't want to have a dedicated media server running in my home to stream video. It is a pain to sync and use the classic Apple TV too, though, so there's much left to be desired all around when it comes to this device category. I think you're being overly negative about streaming, though. When done well it works nicely, and iCloud, at least as far as music is concerned, sounds like it will work great, as it is a) optional, and b) you can still store whatever media you wish locally. It adds and takes nothing away.
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  Samuel Johnson
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post #30 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Apple/Microsoft are winning/dying...yada yada.

Apple makes good products. The Zune HD was a fantastic music player with better sound quality than the iPod, BUT it couldn't compete if you wanted apps, plain and simple. Plus MS's customer support for the Zune was abysmal(...)

Lesser audiophiles (since real ones use DAPs the size of a brick) claim that some non-Apple DAPs out there provide slightly better sound. But the Zune HD is not one of them

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post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

Audiophiles take things too far and it can be difficult to differentiate between legitimate concerns and silly differences (e.g. lossless vs. 256 AAC).

Unless it's a STAX Omega or similarly super-high-end non-portable set of thousands of dollars, no, there's really no difference between 256 AAC and FLAC/ALAC.

I also laughed when he said about the Zune having a better DAC as if the difference was obvious

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post #32 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Apple is losing.

And dedicated music players are not quickly dying.

There, all the arguments have been concisely covered. This thread can end without bickering, insults, trolling, and other nonsense.

Good night, AppleInsider! See you when this all starts up again tomorrow!

Note: this is not to be construed as me leaving for the day

Majority have music on their phones now. Argument closed.
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post #33 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

It seems to have become popular to believe that marketing is the primary force behind Apple's products.* Apple does have a strong marketing element. Their products are aesthetically pleasing and they advertise brilliantly. But this is only a small part of what led to the iPod's success. For example, it doesn't matter how much Microsoft marketed the Zune, or how high quality the Zune was in terms of hardware. It would not have defeated the iPod because that alone does not address user interface, media management, and ecosystem. It does the iPod (and this issue) an injustice to reduce it so.

*Most of the marketing behind Apple's products is word-of-mouth, and that has been bought through consistently releasing high quality products which people enjoy using. At Apple's level of sales, attributing this to 'brainwashing', or whatever people like to say, is naïve, if not delusional.


I do not have first-hand experience with the Sony product you've described, but I have used a few generations of Zunes under various circumstances and I've used them with the same high-quality headphones I have used with my iPhones and other Apple devices. Whatever quality difference you describe is not one which has identified itself to me in a particularly meaningful way. Forgive me for taking these things with a grain of salt, by the way. Audiophiles take things too far and it can be difficult to differentiate between legitimate concerns and silly differences (e.g. lossless vs. 256 AAC).


By 'too much of a match' are you suggesting that the Zune ecosystem was comparable in some way to the iPhone ecosystem? That would be a lie, but I think I may have misunderstood you. Wireless Syncing would be a nice feature to add and I'm honestly not sure why something like that hasn't already been added to Apple devices (probably because they want to make sure it is integrated carefully and smoothly), but truth of the matter is that features such as this aren't game changers or the sort of thing that will sway consumers in meaningful numbers. And on that note, having a feature is not so important as having an elegantly implemented feature.


Absolutely. But the problem you may or may not have considered is that people who want this level of control, and understand it well enough to care it in the first place, are in minority. You're a drop in the market for these devices. Eventually as flash capacity and pricing allows for more storage, the old iPod Classic will well and truly die, and it will happen as companies decide that the old device has become obsolete (relative to sales and features of current devices). Apple will probably lead the pack on this one and leave the dwindling market to niche devicesif anything they're usually ahead of the curve.

This sort of thing can be done too early, though. For example, I have a very large amount of music myself, but I've been able to make it work comfortably on, say, a 32 GB device (with plenty of other data) using the likes of ratings and smart playlists. You only need so much music with you to enjoy it. I don't really care about the iPod Classic anymore because it serves no real purpose for me (and I'm definitely in the top tiers of digital music users as far as consumers go). On the flip-side, I feel sympathize regarding the Apple TV. I have a classic Apple TV and a new Apple TV and I would like very much to combine various features from the twoespecially storage. I don't want to have a dedicated media server running in my home to stream video. It is a pain to sync and use the classic Apple TV too, though, so there's much left to be desired all around when it comes to this device category. I think you're being overly negative about streaming, though. When done well it works nicely, and iCloud, at least as far as music is concerned, sounds like it will work great, as it is a) optional, and b) you can still store whatever media you wish locally. It adds and takes nothing away.

1. I never stated anything about marketing. I used the word perception. Perception/Mind Share comes from the populace accepting an idea or, in this case device, as the premiere choice. You get to the point that all players are considered "iPods" or (previously) "Walkmans". People played "Nintendo" and later "Playstation". We use Kleenex...which are actually tissues. etc etc. Of course the ecosystem played a major role in the acceptance of the iPod (I never said it didn't), but the true reason the iPod became dominant was because Apple wisely opened it up to the Windows market which allowed for so many more sales compared to the limited Mac market of the time. Also, Apple wisely gave student discounts which pushed the iPods into the hands of kids and college students. Notice Apple doesn't do this anymore? They don't care about the student demographic anymore (computer discounts have decreased too) because the iPod became so popular.

2. While the difference might not be noticeable to most people using earbuds, those with good hearing (not damaged by listening to loud music via earbuds) can tell the difference with decent headphones. BUT...you really should compare the original iPod Shuffle to the other iPods and iPhones. Anybody with halfway-decent hearing can appreciate that.

3. I meant that the Zune ecosystem couldn't match the Apple iTunes ecosystem. Poor sentence structure, nothing more. Not a lie.

4. I made the feature comment because I find it interesting that many Apple fans and Apple panned the idea of wireless syncing, yet now Apple added it and the Apple fans will laud the very same feature. It isn't about features...you are right. I was hoping some folks would appreciate the irony...especially if Apple and its fans tough the wireless syncing.

5. I am not being negative about streaming. I being realistic, based on experience. It sounds great when it works, but when ALL of Apple's devices start using it all the time there will be occasional problems and then the bellyaching will start. That is just human nature. Streaming isn't really optional when folks don't have enough local storage for their music. If Apple doesn't provide a high capacity device people will, sooner or later, be either forced to switch out music on their devices or forced to use that "optional" cloud. Removing the Classic from the line up (which most likely will happen tomorrow) WILL take something away ... it will take away options. Now if Apple keeps the Classic around then my comment is moot.
post #34 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

Lesser audiophiles (since real ones use DAPs the size of a brick) claim that some non-Apple DAPs out there provide slightly better sound. But the Zune HD is not one of them

Link?
post #35 of 61
I still think it would be great if they made a new one, just keep the same shell and update the internals, then have WP7 minus the phone parts. Boom, instant great PMP.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

It makes sense. Dedicated music players are quickly dying.

Still a fair sized market for them, considering:



Personally, even with my smartphone and potentially iPhone 5 in a few days, I would never give up my iPod Classic. So much more battery life, easier to use while moving, doesn't waste my phones battery listening to music, etc.
post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

Unless it's a STAX Omega or similarly super-high-end non-portable set of thousands of dollars, no, there's really no difference between 256 AAC and FLAC/ALAC.

I also laughed when he said about the Zune having a better DAC as if the difference was obvious

I am glad I added time onto your life by making you laugh. Have you compared an iPod and Zune with decent headphones? Still, I would rather see the DAC from the original iPod Shuffle used in the current line up.
post #37 of 61
Why should I care? It has nothing to do with apple.
post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

Why should I care? It has nothing to do with apple.

The fewer actual competitors, the greater Apple's latency.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #39 of 61
Perfect example of failed branding.

The hardware and OS are pretty good and solid - the branding was atrocious. 'Squirting'... really?

The way to compete with Apple is to not compete with Apple.
If they had branded their device as something different and focused on their own brand strategy - they might have sold a few. Instead, they focused on informing the consumer that they were not the #1 brand for these gadgets. Thus the consumer lemming effect to stick with a winner.

Microsoft needs a new marketing team. I was shocked to see they are still running with the - I'm a PC' - advertising that proposes to the consumer that there are other options that may not have an inferiority complex.

Apple doesn't always have the best hardware and solutions - but they sure know how to brand. Right down to the packaging.
post #40 of 61
But...I don't want a Zune. I just want to...sing....
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