Much virtual ink spilled in the past 24 over Microsoft's opening the kimono a bit on their putative iPod killer, Zune. Gotta love the name. In Hebrew (if you pronounce the "u" as in "tribune") it means "fucked." Which apparently all the vendors who followed Microsoft down the "plays for sure" road seem to be. Om Malik says there merely "zunked." But they pretty much zunked themselves by signing up for a strategy that had less customer value than the iPod-iTunes-Store combo. This time, the Microsoft strategy is to offer more, not less. New wireless, community, and discovery features outlined in Engadget, potentially make the getting, uh, er, Zuned even better than what iPod offers. It's all in the details, which we'll have to wait to experience.
Newseek, Wired News, and many more cover it. Zune team member blogs about it at Zuninsider. According to Technorati, it's already in nearly 2600 posts (probably more by the time you read this). So, they're certainly not having trouble getting attention--and that's before any advertising hits.
Will they make headway against iPod? There are signs that iPod sales growth has slowed--but maybe that's because, Apple hasn't released any droolworthy new iPods in more than nine months. Safe bet that some new and stunning entertainment announcements are coming from Cupertino. How will the next iPod fare vis-avis Zune?
Meanwhile, the real threat to the iPod isn't Zune at all. According to Tomi Ahonen it's phones. Tomi explains it in depth and with saintly patience for the flood of Apple fanatics who dispute him. Worth reading. (And thanks to Robert Scoble for the pointer.)
(tags: iPod, Microsoft, Zune)