Thursday, November 09, 2006

Zune Gets a Hefty Dose of Pogue Snark

David Pogue reviews Zune in the New York Times. He gives Zune good marks for a practical finish that won't smudge up as easily as iPod, a bigger screen, nifty U-I, and that sharing thing. But most of the review is a snark-filled introduction about how Microsoft abandoned its Plays-fer-sure customers and business partners and a conclusion that provides a long list of reasons why iPod still has a huge lead as both a product and an ecosystem.

Oh, yes... he also mentions something that Cory Doctorow pointed out back in September: Zune will wrap a self-destruct DRM around everything you send--even music from your own band that you want to share with friends.

And then there's what Pogue calls the "first-telephone" fallacy of the music-sharing feature:
Microsoft also faces what’s known as the Dilemma of the First Guy With a Telephone: Who you gonna call? The Zune will have to rack up some truly amazing sales before it’s easy to find sharing partners.
Mickeleh's Take: Zune will appeal to compulsive early adopters and Apple haters. Microsoft's huge ad buy, wide distribution, and strong merchandising will ensure that it is sampled. The ads feature the target customer enjoying the product (you know, like beer ads and pop ads).

But, it's still a 1.0 Microsoft product. So, I'll have to agree with Pogue on this: "For now, though, this game is for watching, not playing. It may be quite a while before brown is the new white."

Update: (1:08 PM) Walt Mossberg says pretty much the same thing (minus the snark); Several Zune features outpace iPod. But overall, iPod and iTunes is the better bet and richer experience for consumers.

Ed Baig and Jefferson Graham of USA Today, discuss and demo Zune and a couple of music phones on their video podcast (vlog to you hepsters). Same conclusion. Nothing touches iPod. Baig is especially skeptical of the Zune sharing feature..

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