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Microsoft unveils second generation of Zune media players

post #1 of 75
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Continuing on its quest to make a dent in Apple's dominate share of the digital media player market, Microsoft on Tuesday evening announced three new models of its Zune player that feature media syncing over a Wi-Fi connection.

The new offerings closely resemble Apple's recently-refreshed iPod line, including 4GB and 8GB flash-based models that will retail for $150 and $200, respectively, and a 80GB hard disk drive model that will fetch $250.

Microsoft said it will continue to sell the first-generation 30GB Zune for $200, but will provide an automatic software updated for the player that will bring its software features up to spec with the new models when they go on sale in mid-November.

Unlike the original Zune lineup, customers won't have the option of a picking up a brown model. Instead, the 80GB model will be available only and black, while the two flash models will come in either pink, green, black or glossy red.

Each new Zune will feature what Microsoft calls "the Zune Pad," essentially a navigation button with a touch-sensitive surface. Users will be able to flick their thumbs over the pad to browse through song lists or to fast-forward through picture slide shows or videos. Users will also be able to navigate the Zune Pad using physical cues by pressing on the four sides or the center of the button to adjust the volume or choose the next track.

In addition to distinctive new interface menus, the players will leverage a new wireless sync feature that will automatically sync media over home Wi-Fi networks, ensuring that users always have the latest podcasts and other content ready to go when they leave home. Microsoft said the players will start syncing media from PCs when the device is placed in its dock or plugged in to its AC adapter.

Another feature -- extended wireless sharing -- will let users share full-length songs, albums, playlists, pictures and even audio podcasts from one Zune to another. Shared songs can be played up to three times with no time restrictions, Microsoft said, and shared songs can also be pass along to other Zune users.



A new version of the Zune software will also automatically import broadcast content recorded on Microsoft Windows Media Center for Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate, so users can sync the videos onto their Zune and watch them on the go.

In conjunction with the second-generation Zune players, Microsoft is also launching Zune Social, a beta online community Web site that offers users a forum to share their music tastes, knowledge and experiences with others. Any Zune user will be able to can create a free, customizable Zune Card that automatically updates to reflect the music they are listening to on their Zune or with Zune software on their computer.

The Zune Card shows most recently played tracks and highlights that user's all-time music favorites. Other members of Zune Social will be able to sample songs a user has been playing directly from a friend's Zune Card or via a link to the Zune Marketplace, where they can buy or download the tracks.

In what Microsoft calls a "nod to the inherently social nature of music," Zune Social will eventually enable its members to place the Zune Card on today's most popular social networking sites, where it will continue to update automatically and show off what its owners are listening to.



In addition to creating a friends list, members of Zune Social will be able to send song links and messages to each other, post comments on a friend's profile page or on their favorite artist pages. They'll have the opportunity to discover new music by seeing what their friends are listening to, Microsoft said, receiving recommendations from others in the community or by seeing what the top fans of artists they're interested in are listening to. Each artist page will list the Zune Cards of the people who listen to that artist the most, making it easy for other Zune Social members to browse their recent playlists and discover new content they can sample, purchase or download with a Zune Pass.

An updated version of the Zune Marketplace will feature over 3 million songs, Microsoft also announced, including a selection of more than 1 million digital rights management (DRM)-free MP3s, which can be played with Zune or any other digital media player. An aforementioned "Zune Pass" will allow users to download as much music as they want for a flat monthly rate of $14.99.

Among the hardware accessories Microsoft plans to offer alongside the new Zunes in mid-November are a $100 Home AV Pack, $50 Dock Pack, $80 Car Pack, $40 Cable Pack, and $50 leather case.

Microsoft claims to have sold over 1.2 million Zunes since the player's launch last November. The new Zunes will not include support for Apple's Mac computer line.
post #2 of 75
Microsoft is starting to make some progress with their Zune line. I love it. Apple needs the competition...
post #3 of 75
New Zunes released, America yawns.

Story at eleven... if the clip we have of the cute dancing dog in the park doesn't bump it.

Back to you, Phil.


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post #4 of 75
I miss the brown
post #5 of 75
You'll be able to buy one for half price at WalMart - just in time for the Christmas rush. Maybe that will push them over the 1.5 million mark by the end of the year..........................(2008)

I miss the brown too, but that new olive drab is pretty sexy!!
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post #6 of 75
Why is this even posted on here.

They're not Mac compatible and have nothing to do with Apple.
post #7 of 75
Wow,

Some news. The largest IT company in the world copies a 2 generations old model from its competitor! Or does this sound too cinical?

Zoon 1G = iPod 5G (+ 1 year)
Zoon 2G = iPod 5G (+ 2 years)
Zoon 2G mini = iPod nano 1G (+ 2 years)

If the zoon ever comes to Europe, will we have the 3rd iteration which will look just like an iPod nano 2G?
post #8 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrtotes View Post

Why is this even posted on here.

They're not Mac compatible and have nothing to do with Apple.

Because Microsoft is one of Apple's most significant competitors in the mp3 player market (#2 best selling players), and they just released new players that have significant improvements over the previous generation.
post #9 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrtotes View Post

Why is this even posted on here.

They're not Mac compatible and have nothing to do with Apple.

Because Microsoft and the Zune represent the most viable competitor to Apple and the iPod. And when you're in those heated debates with your PC friends over why the iPod is better than the Zune, it's at least helpful to know what you're arguing against

Those are just a couple of reasons why we cover major Zune announcements.

Best,

K
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post #10 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDraden View Post

Because Microsoft is one of Apple's most significant competitors in the mp3 player market (#2 best selling players), and they just released new players that have significant improvements over the previous generation.

I believe MS is only 2nd in the hardrive player market. Sandisk has the #2 slot overall due to being #2 in the flash market. MS will probably get there pretty quickly though if they advertise.
post #11 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by marty martin View Post

I miss the brown

I wonder if the brown zune will become a collectors item? They are 175 shipped on ebay, new in box (I am not affiliated with any zune seller, btw).
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post #12 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techslacker View Post

I believe MS is only 2nd in the hardrive player market. Sandisk has the #2 slot overall due to being #2 in the flash market. MS will probably get there pretty quickly though if they advertise.


I dunno... the SanDisk Sansa flash players are actually pretty decent.

MS could end up #3 in that space actually, even with all the ad money they have to throw around.


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post #13 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Microsoft is starting to make some progress with their Zune line. I love it. Apple needs the competition...

I believe the Zune flash fills-in the gap that 1G and 2G Nanos left. Plus the navigation surface sounds promising.
post #14 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

I wonder if the brown zune will become a collectors item? They are 175 shipped on ebay, new in box (I am not affiliated with any zune seller, btw).


The fecal brown Zune a collector's item? Maybe if they made a Special Edition one. With the words 'Sh*t Happens' monogrammed on the back.

I laugh every time I think of that thing, 'cuz I always remember that Zune marketing guy's famous last words: "Brown is the new black."

I mean... bwahahahahahahahaaa... only Microsoft.


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post #15 of 75
The flash Zune has a smaller screen than a nano (the big black border fools nobody) but looks almost as big as a full-size Zune! Unless it's a lot thinner than it looks in the picture, it's a smaller screen in a bulkier (HxWxD) device--for the same price as an iPod.

(Does it have video-out-to-TV capability like all iPods have?)

As for wireless sync... you have to plug in to charge anyway. iPods sync automatically, in seconds, when you do that.
post #16 of 75
Did anyone else recognize that the photo for the Zunes has a right-sided highlight across the Zune? Very similar to how Apple has been advertising all their products for the last couple of years. Mafia$oft has not done this before - another copy job.
post #17 of 75
apparently the zune zucks
post #18 of 75
An aforementioned "Zune Pass" will allow users to download as much music as they want for a flat monthly rate of $14.99. <--- That is nice!
post #19 of 75
Looking forward to some product reviews from AI... Apple needs to keep moving or get steamrolled.

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post #20 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrtotes View Post

Why is this even posted on here.

They're not Mac compatible and have nothing to do with Apple.

I'll second that. It's not Mac compatible, and I have yet to find A/V media management software that I'd prefer to iTunes (and I don't even own an iPod). Does Microsoft seriously use Windows Media Player to manage music for the Zune? What a piece of garbage software. Maybe if the Zune could sync with iTunes, I could feign some interest.
post #21 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techslacker View Post

I believe MS is only 2nd in the hardrive player market. Sandisk has the #2 slot overall due to being #2 in the flash market. MS will probably get there pretty quickly though if they advertise.

This is true, I believe, but in the long run MS has the marketing power to blow past SanDisk. I believe it's just a matter of time.

Best,

K
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post #22 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Looking forward to some product reviews from AI... Apple needs to keep moving or get steamrolled.


You're kidding, right?

Apple won't stand still, but at this point they could diddle themselves for a year or two and still be outselling the competition in this space, much less worrying about gettin' 'steamrolled'.

What we forget is that right now is the 'high point' for the Flash Zune. The Zune fanboys will be all full of hope, the media will report on it 'cuz its the newest kid on the block, we're all speculating, but then... pffft. It ends up being an also-ran.

Just like Zune 1.0... hyped, and then... nothing. Remember? \

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post #23 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by KennyWRX View Post

An aforementioned "Zune Pass" will allow users to download as much music as they want for a flat monthly rate of $14.99. <--- That is nice!

Yes, but once you stop paying, you can't play any of the music. Notice that Virgin just shut down their subscription based music store. What are you going to do when MS decides to shut theirs down.
post #24 of 75
I'm not gonna lie, those are really nice looking. This is what last year's ipods should have looked like only clad in aluminum. And the classic should have a screen like the zune 80. 2.5" Screen on the classic is a waste of space. And the nano last year brought nothing new to the table other than the aluminum, it should have gotten a 1.8 inch screen then.

If someone were to hack itunes compatability into the zune 80 I'd heavily consider one over the ipod classic.
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post #25 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

Yes, but once you stop paying, you can't play any of the music. Notice that Virgin just shut down their subscription based music store. What are you going to do when MS decides to shut theirs down.

You are right... straight from Zune.net:

"The songs you download on your Zune Pass are yours for as long as you hold your Zune Pass subscription."

This is RENTING not buying. Stupid.
post #26 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzDots View Post

You'll be able to buy one for half price at WalMart - just in time for the Christmas rush. Maybe that will push them over the 1.5 million mark by the end of the year..........................(2008):lol!

Then I hope they offer the 5 early adopters a rebate for half the difference (sarcasm)


Quote:
Originally Posted by mrtotes View Post

Why is this even posted on here.
They're not Mac compatible and have nothing to do with Apple.

Sure they do. They are competition to the iPod, even if it is minimal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

I dunno... the SanDisk Sansa flash players are actually pretty decent.
MS could end up #3 in that space actually, even with all the ad money they have to throw around.

SanDIsk does amjr price cuts during the holiday season that gives the Nano a run for it's money. Just check out Amazon.com for a list of the most popular sellers in the coming months.
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post #27 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

You're kidding, right?

Apple won't stand still, but at this point they could diddle themselves for a year or two and still be outselling the competition in this space, much less worrying about gettin' 'steamrolled'.

What we forget is that right now is the 'high point' for the Flash Zune. The Zune fanboys will be all full of hope, the media will report on it 'cuz its the newest kid on the block, we're all speculating, but then... pffft. It ends up being an also-ran.

Just like Zune 1.0... hyped, and then... nothing. Remember? \

.

Yes, I'm sort of kidding. Zune is nothing now, and it will probably continue to be nothing... but it might also be something. There's no excuse for slacking off in this business.

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post #28 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Actually they look pretty decent. At the very least they seem to be an improvement over the first gen models. I'm a big fan of the nano but I would consider a Zune over a video iPod.


Cool... someone has to buy a Zune besides Ballmer's mom, after all.

.
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post #29 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

This is true, I believe, but in the long run MS has the marketing power to blow past SanDisk. I believe it's just a matter of time.

Best,

K

SO.. Why don't you give SanDisk some free advertising when THEY release new product?

I'm vaguely interested in reading about the zune on this board, after getting fed up with the crap and "placement quotes" from some very obvious m$ shills on engadget, but seriously If the Zune is such a threat, but ACTUALLY behind SanDisk, why don't you give posts when SanDisk ship new product?
I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

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post #30 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Well lets put it this way. By now everyone on this forum would have though the Zune would have failed and been pulled over the market. The fact is its making progress which is exactly what I expected.

MS doesn't enter a market and in the hopes of grabbing first place the first year, a perfect example is look at the gaming console market six years ago and look at it now, its quite different. That could very well be the case six years from now regarding the Zune.

MS isn't doing all that bad jumping into a market that was totally dominated by Apple. I'm not sure we can say the same for Apple when they jump into a dominated market.

The ipod market is a yawn now anyways everyone and their mother has an ipod, its not new, its not cool its just something people own. If MS can offer something that Apple can't or won't in the future your dreaming if you don't think they can grab a large share of this market by making one good move.

Apple hasn't exactly been stellar lately, the iMac while I love it many don't with the new glossy screen, apple tv hasn't done well at all, Apple simply will not make a mid tower or upgrade the mac mini with decent specs, the iphone and iPod touch screens have had quality control issues.

I know we are holding onto this iPod market share for dear life these days but some competition isn't all that bad.

Next month I think we will find Leopard to be a yawn also. People expectations are way too high for an OS upgrade.

So anyways back to the Zune the simple fact is MS has not just simply gone away, they have made progress and will most likely continue to move forward.

Nobody on this forum expected the Zune to simply fail and be withdrawn. MS is known for its tenacity in these markets, even when it seems pointless.

Having said that, it's going to take a lot more than "one good move" for the Zune, or anything else, to seriously impact iPod/iTunes/iTMS market dominance, because a new MP3 player is simply one piece of the necessary ecology.

And using the XBox as an example of how MS gets it done is never a good idea, because game consoles sink or swim on games.

Unless MS is planning its own music label, with exclusive mega-hits available only for the Zune, the comparison is meaningless.
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post #31 of 75
I think it looks really decent too, and i wish the classic iPod would have had a bigger screen, like the zune. Does anybody know why the iPods can only support up to 640x480? What is limiting it (the iPod) from supporting 720x480?

I'm just curious and haven't found an answer, so please enlighten me guys. Thanks!!
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post #32 of 75
Don't take the bribe of 1 million songs. Only sorrow, will you find.
post #33 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

I don't know of too many markets that MS enters that are pointless. Any company can enter a market that fails but Bill Gates isn't the richest American because he makes bad choices.

With any business it can take just one gooe move in the right direction to create a change, that change might not be overnight. Just ask Sony if MS messed up their world.

The Zune doesn't have to over take the iPod to be consider sucessful it just has to do well. Apple does well and the only thing it owns a market share on is the iPod.

This whole Apple vs MS deal is a joke anyways created by a Steve Jobs ego, the two companies don't even really compete against each other in most markets. MS is not about harware they are a true software company and allow third party vendors to worry about hardware, Apple make a good deal of money off hardware sales. MS has an operating system that is open, Apple has an OS that is closed to anyone that doesn't buy their hardware.

Even the way the companies are run are totally different, Bill Gates puts people in place to run his divisions, Steves Jobs is a micro managing control freak which kind of explains why it takes forever for shit to get done at Apple.

They clearly have a video driver issue on the new iMac something that ATI or Nvidia would fix on the windows side in 24 hours yet for Apple it will take months.

You don't appear to have an actual point about the Zune beyond rambling thoughts on why MS is better than Apple, so I guess I'll just leave it at that.
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post #34 of 75
surprisingly large number of people sucking microsoft's dick in this thread, interesting.
post #35 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Well lets put it this way. By now everyone on this forum would have though the Zune would have failed and been pulled over the market. The fact is its making progress which is exactly what I expected. MS doesn't enter a market and in the hopes of grabbing first place the first year, a perfect example is look at the gaming console market six years ago and look at it now, its quite different. That could very well be the case six years from now regarding the Zune. MS isn't doing all that bad jumping into a market that was totally dominated by Apple. I'm not sure we can say the same for Apple when they jump into a dominated market.
...
So anyways back to the Zune the simple fact is MS has not just simply gone away, they have made progress and will most likely continue to move forward.

Really poor example to use their multi-billion dollar losing gaming.
Or maybe not, I can see MS pouring billions into Zune just to keep it going and not lose face.

Progress is being made in terms of marketshare, no doubt. I wish I had billions to sell people brand new cars I bought for tens of thousands for a fraction because I wanted to put my competition out of business. I bet my marketshare would skyrocket compared to a real car dealer without that advantage.

If you're giving away something below cost, no it's not a failure for the customer.

But it is for the stockholders of Microsoft. And will continue to be going forward for the next little (maybe long) while.
post #36 of 75
anyone know battery life? 14 hours, at best, is a joke and they really needed to improve it with generation 2.

I just want to listen to my damn music for a long period of time, i dont want to share songs with the one person i have ever seen with a zune.
post #37 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

I dunno... the SanDisk Sansa flash players are actually pretty decent.

MS could end up #3 in that space actually, even with all the ad money they have to throw around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Slocombe View Post

SO.. Why don't you give SanDisk some free advertising when THEY release new product?

I'm vaguely interested in reading about the zune on this board, after getting fed up with the crap and "placement quotes" from some very obvious m$ shills on engadget, but seriously If the Zune is such a threat, but ACTUALLY behind SanDisk, why don't you give posts when SanDisk ship new product?

Actually I know of more people who use their SonyEricsson mobile phone as their main multimedia (mp3/aac/mp4) player. In fact I've never knowingly seen a SanDisk in the wild and living in the UK I've never seen a Zune.

Especially given that SonyEricsson phones play very nicely with OS X's AddressBook, iSync, iCal and can act as a Bluetooth Remote Control for Macs not to the fact mention that using Dreamsicle they can work with iTunes' playlists; news about SonyEricsson is much more relevant to both the iPhone, iPod and Mac platforms.

I love having two batteries for my iPhone beater and the choice of swapping MS Duos at will.

//time to stop gobbing off////
post #38 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Poor example? Its pretty well known that console gaming is all about selling games even if that mean taking a lose on the hardware.

The X-box division has lost $6 billion so far on hardware and software combined.
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post #39 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

The X-box division has lost $6 billion so far on hardware and software combined.

Exactly - by any normal standard of business, the X-box has been an enormous failure
- gaining market share by taking a massive-loss it not normal business
- and there are laws against it - it's called 'dumping'

MS has a long history of failure in every market it has entered - except the OS & Office markets - and these divisions, thanks to their monopoly positions have been responsible for propping up all of MS's other failures.

But don't be fooled into thinking that it doesn't matter for the consumer if MS looses $Billions in order to gain market share, and kill off competition
- in any market MS has succeeded in killing off the competition, they've used to lack of competition to drive-up prices and kill-off innovation.
- so in the long run we all loose when MS does this kind of thing
- which is why the Zune is soo bad for anyone who is interested in innovation

- and with the Zune MS is trying exactly the same tactics it has used on gain Market share with the Xbox
- i.e. sell at a loss, and keep doing it until there is no more competition

- so when comparing iPods & Zunes, remember that Apple has to make a profit on each one, whereas, MS will try to pack them with expensive features, and sell them at a loss.

- it will be interesting to see if & when the Zunes are launched in Europe, what the EU reaction is to MS's anti-competitive practices....
post #40 of 75
I was just commenting to someone about how it appears that MS traded the turd-brown Zune for a duck **** green Zune when this arrived in my email box with the message: "I thought i'd brighten your day on this funny Zune parody, incidentally I didn't have to alter the green at all, both the Zune and Linda's vomit are exactly the same color."

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