Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Zune to challenge iPod ... 2.3% to 70% .... I wonder!

Will anyone finally challenge Apple’s iPod supremacy in the digital music/video player domain?

The heavy weights already in the market, for several years, like Sony, Sansa and Creative Technologies have not managed to even get close. In fact, estimates put their and every other competitor’s total share at 30 percent; obviously that means Apple has the market sewn up with a commanding, frightening 70 percent.

Even in popular culture, people stopped calling it an MP3 player, digital music player or whatever as it’s becoming a multi-tasking gadget capable of music, video and games-playing!

It’s so much simpler to just call it an iPod. Anyone with an earphone is asked the question “so you’ve got an iPod,” taking the time to explain it’s actually a Sony is useless!

Microsoft however, think there’s still a chance and they believe you’ve got to start somewhere to challenge a market leader.

Such a strange, and refreshing, attitude to come from the undisputed software giant who is bent on squashing competitors before they manage to eat into its 90-something percent of the operating systems and desktop software applications markets!

So, does Apple have much to worry about with Microsoft’s Zune standard? Well, the latest news that Microsoft is to sell its 1 millionth Zune unit can be looked at from two angles- the half empty or half full approach.

On the one hand, it’s a laughable amount that gives Microsoft no more than 2.3 percent of the total global market for digital media players, compared to Apple’s mammoth 70 percent. Apple, which launched its iPod music player in October 2001, has sold 100 million of the music players.

But, on the other hand it’s got impressive technology, has one of the fastest-growing user bases among Apple’s competitors and has a massive giant behind it. Do you really think Microsoft will stop at anything?

Look at what Microsoft did in the games console market, when it’s Xbox challenged Sony’s supremacy with PSone and PS2, and Nintendo’s ‘niche’ profitable gap. It turned that industry upside down, losing money (still losing five years later), but gaining market position and now boasting new generation console leadership with the XBox 360 selling more than Sony’s PS3 so far!

So, maybe the Zune is the only real candidate for the ‘iPod Killer’ tag the press like to use generously with competing devices which have all proven inferior to Apple’s wonder device.

It’s not the technical supremacy of the iPod models, as much as it’s the way Apple blends everything together: looks, simple functionality, prestige pricing, strong availability and distribution, coolness and ‘cultural engineering”, so to speak!

In any case, Microsoft is still ranked 4th, behind SanDisk who has 11.7 percent, and Creative with 4 percent. Both companies seem content with this profitable yet small share of the market. There seems to be a ‘truce’ or some kind of submissive balance.

Well, Microsoft isn’t going to be submissive, so watch closely and see how it will propel Zune even further.

zanasser@gmail.com

4 Comments:

At 7:01 PM , Anonymous Qwaider قويدر said...

Couple of issues that face the Zune, first, they didn't consult the most prestigious gadget masters in the world. Leading to really bad reviews.
Then on their search for an Identity, they decided to show off with a color signature different than apple's. And they landed on .... yes .. "Shit-brown"..
I mean, for god's sake, there are better "signature" colors than completely bland brown! Forcing people to really "hide" their far superior piece of technology in shame and just say... "yeah, it's an Ipod"

On another side, people who might pack a punch are extremely anti-Microsoft (Aka Sony) so there is no way in hell they can join forces.

The good news is that SanDisk and Microsoft have joined forces. Which puts them in a very interesting and unique position so far. So it'll be Toshiba, Sandisk and Microsoft. A very strong alliance as it seems so far

 
At 11:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

what strong alliance are you talking about. its seems blueray will eat HD-DVD alive. Blue-ray currently outsells HD-DVD and HD-DVD has had a head start. MOre important are the content owners who by and large support Sony's blueray. Granted the porn market is currently HDDVD all the way only coz blueray dont want them.

Dont you think microsoft have too much of a monopoly as it is? They stifle competition and creativity.

The zune is not far superior to the ipod.

Regadless Nintendo sell more gaming than P3 or the 360. Oh and i am no sony fan boy. I love my 360

 
At 4:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's NOT just an iPod and Zune world...
here's a list of other companies that have tried their best:
Archos
Ben Q
Cowon
Creative Labs (nice try)
D-link
Dell
Digitalway
e.Digital
Frontier Labs
Gateway (dud)
Iomega (remember?)
iRiver
iRock
Kanguru Solutions
Lexar
Olympus
Oregon Scientific
Panasonic (large flop)
Philips-Nike
Pine
PoGo Products
Polaroid
RCA
Rio
Samsung (big company)
SanDisk
Sony (rancid)
TDK (i made this mistake)
Toshiba

 
At 4:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's NOT just an iPod and Zune world...
here's a list of other companies that have tried their best:
Archos
Ben Q
Cowon
Creative Labs (nice try)
D-link
Dell
Digitalway
e.Digital
Frontier Labs
Gateway (dud)
Iomega (remember?)
iRiver
iRock
Kanguru Solutions
Lexar
Olympus
Oregon Scientific
Panasonic (large flop)
Philips-Nike
Pine
PoGo Products
Polaroid
RCA
Rio
Samsung (big company)
SanDisk
Sony (rancid)
TDK (i made this mistake)
Toshiba

 

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