Originally Posted by gochichi
Are you talking about Zunes or Macs? Apple is the "big bad monopoly" of music players. Microsoft has no monopoly on anything. Microsoft doesn't have self-esteem issues... music players are a profitable market, and iPods have kind of been a "gateway drug" into Macs. Thus, it is critical for them to have a swanky music player of their own.
Don't be so sure that MS has no esteem issues. I think they do. It rankles them that Apple can be successful in areas where they can't.
If you read Ballmer's putdowns of Apple's products over the years, you can see the frustration. His statements that the iPhone wouldn't succeed are almost classic. his statements about the iPods are as well. MS''s dismissal of the Mac, until recently, was almost funny, if it wasn't so sad.
They are esteem limited, Why? Because they think that being where they are, everything should come easy. When it doesn't, it's upsetting. Ballmer's famous throwing of chairs shows that at the highest level, esteem issues, along with frustration, lives.
Also, Ballmer has basically admitted that they lose money on the Zune. Since sales haven't moved in two years, and they are losing money on the products, with no real hope to ever make them a serious line, why else would MS continue the products?
I like the Zune a good deal, I think the only stupid thing MS has done is in not making a Mac OS X version of the Zune software. After all, iPod junkies (the folk that buy an iPod or two a year) are typically Mac users, you gotta target them if you're going to fight for the crown in the music player business.
The Zune is an ok player, but it's nothing better than any other of its competors, such as SanDisk, which is selling four times as many. That should tell you something important. To make it easy, I'll explain. If the Zune were only competing against the iPod, and it climbed to a respectable marketshare over the past two years, say from the 3.4% it had at first with their first, not well reviewed model, to about 8.6% (which is what SanDisk has), then you could say what you do, and it would have meaning. But, there is other competition. and the Zune has not climbed up in marketshare over the past two years, but has slipped down to 2.6%.
Meanwhile, except for a very small movement up and down in percentage, which is to be expected when the numbers are so high, Apple has managed to remain at about the same percentage it's always been at.
So, MS has taken 2.6% of other players marketshare, Creative notably, but not from the iPod.
The vast majority of iPod owners are PC users. That's been shown several times.
This makes your argument not valid.
If a company adds "features" and very few people care about those "features", can they be considered features? I don't think so. They merely serve to bring the price up if they add electronic and mechanical complexity, and a greater chance of bugs where they are software.
PCs are cheap man, $150.00 for a music thingy is kindof a lot to expect from the $500 laptop crowd. Target Mac users!
Just look at sales numbers. They tell the story. simply because some people will not spend more than about $500 for a laptop, doesn't mean they won't spend $150, or more, for a digital player. They are two very different devices, coming from different budgets.