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Why Microsoft's Zune is Still Failing 593

Posted by Zonk
from the fall-over-dead dept.
DECS writes "Last winter, RDM detailed why Microsoft's iPod Killer would fail miserably. This year, the site argues, Microsoft will fail again, but for a new set of reasons. It is not obvious that the company has figured this out itself. 'Microsoft doesn't seem to learn from its mistakes in consumer electronics very well. When it does however, it frequently gets the timing wrong. This year, Microsoft appears set to compete against the Apple of 2006. It now offers two flash models, last year's leftover 30 GB unit, and new 80 GB version. The problem is that Apple moved the goalpost dramatically. Apple's new 3G Nano is ultra thin and small, but delivers the same video resolution as Microsoft's boxy flash Zunes at the same price. It also plays games.'"
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Why Microsoft's Zune is Still Failing

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  • Failure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:17PM (#21457479) Homepage Journal
    Lets see, they are selling lots of them, and slowly gaining market penetration. I don't see that as a 'failure'.
    • Re:Failure? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by syntaxeater (1070272) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:34PM (#21457619) Homepage
      That's because this is slashdot.

      When Linux "slowly gains market penetration," it's always a success.
      When Microsoft "slowly gains market penetration," it's always a failure.

      Is the cup half full or half empty? It all depends on who makes the cup.
      • Re:Failure? (Score:5, Funny)

        by GuldKalle (1065310) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:55PM (#21457823)
        Yeah, those cups suck, they're twice as large as they need to be.
      • Re:Failure? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by blzabub (889163) on Friday November 23, 2007 @06:15PM (#21458037) Homepage
        Sorry to tell you this but there are expectations associated with who you are. A massive corporation with $29 billion cash on hand and dominant control over most widely used computing platform in the world is expected to do better than just slowly gain meager amounts of market share. The expectations for David are different from those for Goliath.
    • Most people buy iPods from the apple store.

      I don't see a Microsoft store, do you?
      • by CRCulver (715279)
        A fairly large portion of iPod owners lives in countries where there are no Apple Stores.
    • Here in London we are all forced to take public transport to work everyday. This might be an alien concept in the US but here it is quite simply the most practical method of getting to work until you are rich enough that you can pay someone to drive you there and then find somewhere to park after you are in the office. I work in the City of London (EC1, Moorgate). That is that I work in the London equivalent of Wall Street.

      When I travel around on the tube I see an awful lot of the trademark white Ipod earph
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Josh Booth (588074)
        At Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, USA, about 70% of headphones are iPod earbuds, and most of the rest are replacements connected to a iPod. I don't think I've seen any other mp3 players, and it sort of makes me scared to get anything else. Although, I think I'll be getting an LG Chocolate and using it as an mp3 player.

        And as for public transit, Rutgers has free bus service and everyone complains at the start of the fall semester because of the people who think they can drive to class. They don'
    • CompUSA anecdote (Score:3, Interesting)

      by calidoscope (312571)
      I was checking what was left in the Encinitas CompUSA store a couple of days before it closed for good. About the only thing left in quantity were UPS's and Zune's. Bear in mind that CompUSA had cut prices by at least 40% to clear out the store (they were even selling the racks that held the merchandise).
  • Price drop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sootman (158191) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:19PM (#21457495) Homepage Journal
    In the Black Friday sales papers, first-gen Zunes are going for $80-100.
  • Amazon bestsellers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shuying (752029) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:19PM (#21457497)
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/electronics/172630/ [amazon.com] Zune has occupied the top spot for quite some time. Is this a failure?
    • by Riquez (917372) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:22PM (#21457519) Homepage
      Bah, you obviously changed the rankings on that page by looking at it. ...oops, wrong thread
    • by wish bot (265150)
      The best selling item is the BROWN 30Gb zune?! Come on - that smells so fishy it positively reeks. Just like the 15,000 people or so voting overnight to boost the Zune desirability in the WSJ poll mentioned in the article. Yeah.
      • by wish bot (265150)
        Meh - not that fishy after all, they're just being sold off at fire sale prices. They're competing with the >4Gb Nano, which comes in second place, and is slightly more expensive.
    • by hxnwix (652290)

      Is this a failure?

      They've slashed prices countless times to claim 12% of the market in a year, right? Considering that their goal is to lose money on this thing until they've thoroughly Netscaped Apple, I'd say things that certain aspects of their plan are definitely coming to fruition.

      The other aspects, namely Apple dying, would be more likely to occur if Apple would follow netscape's lead and quit investing in new technology. Can you really see the Zune matching the Ipod touch in the next few years?

    • Zune has occupied the top spot for quite some time. Is this a failure?

      And it seems that Apple has probably had the other 4 slots out of the top 5.
      It is entirely possible that all 5 top sellers are very close in actual unit sales, e.g. straight outta my butt:

      1) Zune 30,000 sales/month
      2) Ipod A 29,000 sales/month
      3) Ipod B 28,700 sales/month
      4) Ipod C 28,600 sales/month
      5) Ipod D 28,500 sales/month

      Which would put Apple at almost 115K vs only 30K for MS.

      So perhaps not an utter failure, but just being top spot on Amazon without actual sales numbers doesn't really persuade.

    • by flyingsquid (813711) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:58PM (#21457855)
      Zune has occupied the top spot for quite some time. Is this a failure?

      That may have more to do with the diversification of Apple's product line than anything. They have the iPod touch, iPod Classic, iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, the iPhone, etc. Microsoft may sell more of one particular model, but I'm gonna take a wild guess that Apple is still moving a lot more iPods. Out of the top 5 slots, Apple has the next 4. Out of the top 20 media players, 13 are made by Apple.

      As for whether the Zune is a failure or not, it's all relative. If the Zune had been made by a small startup, it would be hailed as a potential iPod killer. But it's made by Microsoft, the 500-pound gorilla of the digital world, a company with a lot of bright people and billions of dollars at their disposal. When one of the world's most successful corporations enters a market with all those resources behind them, anything less than runaway success is going to be seen as something of a failure. Even if they do manage to grab a large chunk of the market, the question really becomes, how much money are they spending to do it, and how much profit are they making on each Zune?

    • by daybot (911557) * on Friday November 23, 2007 @06:08PM (#21457959)

      I know the US is a big (the biggest?) and important market, but with Zune sales it's a different story [amazon.co.uk] in the UK. When I looked just now, the first Zune appears in 61st position, with iPods of all kinds dominating the top ten. Of course, the position changes all the time but I've been looking at this every time I see a story on Zune's top spot on Amazon US and the highest position I've seen for Zune is 35th.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:00PM (#21458481)
        Possibly related to the fact that the Zune isn't launched in the UK yet. You reckon?
    • by vux984 (928602) on Friday November 23, 2007 @06:11PM (#21457989)
      It is pretty impressive at first blush, but without real numbers its hard to gauge. Especially considering ipods occupy 13 of the 25 products listed, including #2,3,4,5,8,11,12,14,15,16,18,19,20. Zunes have 4 in the top 25, including: 1,10,24 and 25.

      From 25 - 50, there are 2 more Zunes, and 8 more iPod model, From 51-100 - 5 zunes and 7 ipods.

      That the -brown- zune is the most popular product could well be pretty meaningless, as well as a reflection of the blowout pricing. The black and red versions ranked FAR lower, and I find it impossible to imagine that brown is what everybody wants.

      The point is: there are 14 zunes in the top HUNDRED, while there are 13 ipods in the top TWENTY. (and 28 in the top 100).

      If the brown zune at blowout pricing can grab the #1 spot, yeah that's impressive, but really doesn't say THAT much. Looking at the numbers its clear that ipod still utterly dominates. If only we had the numbers so we could add up total zunes and total ipods then we'd know by how much.

      Its also clear the ipod is far more profitable, considering the lock they have on positions 2,3,4,5,and 8 all at pretty much regular full retail, and especially considering the number 3 spot is held by the 16GB ipod touch which is their flagship product and runs more than twice the price of the zune.

      Also, ipod, by having twice as many sku's roughly cuts its sales scores in half, because sales are divided by that many more products. I suspect that if ipods weren't available in quite the same rainbow of options as they are, they'd handily lock up the top 5 to 10 spots no matter what Microsoft did.

      -cheers
    • It's not a really fair comparison since that Zune is last year's model (which has been discontinued) and at 2/3s the price of Apple's 5.5 Gen iPod. Of course it's going to sell more. Amazon has discounted it to clear it out of inventory which it didn't do with their Apple 5.5 gen. Note however the next 5 MP3 players are this year's Apple's line with a small discount ( 10%).
  • Flash? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Uhh, the 30 and 80gb Zunes are hdd-based, not flash and compete with the "classic" ipods not the nano. But yeah, that IS Apple 2006, so the article is sort of right. sort of.
  • how about (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hxnwix (652290) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:20PM (#21457503) Journal
    It's a flaky piece of shit with no style from a company with a horrid reputation that is up against the biggest phenomenon in the music industry since CDs?
  • by hjf (703092) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:22PM (#21457515) Homepage
    We need to have a law or something, that declares everything made by apple as THE only way of doing things, and also forbid other companies from making similar products. I mean, why do they even try? Apple is by far the best and when someone else tries, they're actually wasting valuable resources (plastic, electricity, and even silicon!).

    So, Microsoft, and everyone else: please, stop trying. Apple has the only music player worth anything. You have no chance.

    (If you don't see the sarcasm tags, then you're probably on a Mac)
    • by hxnwix (652290)

      So, Microsoft, and everyone else: please, stop trying. Apple has the only music player worth anything. You have no chance.
      Just as some are glad that AMD is around to keep Intel's prices down, I'm glad that Microsoft is around to keep iPods affordable.

      (If you don't see the sarcasm tags, then you're probably on a Mac)
      We like things that are both cheap and good. If you don't understand this, you are probably like Microsoft products.
      • by hjf (703092)
        So you're saying, Macs are cheap?
        • Re:write to congress (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Bert64 (520050) <bert@s[ ]hdot.fi ... m ['las' in gap]> on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:49PM (#21457743) Homepage
          Macs are cheaper than they would be if they had no competition...
          The reason macs are typically more expensive than generic x86 clones is because there's less competition in their segment. There's a thousand and one makers of x86 clones, but only one that has the apple branding, reputation and the capability to legally run OSX.
          • by eclectic4 (665330) on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:19PM (#21458639)
            "There's a thousand and one makers of x86 clones, but only one that has the apple branding, reputation and the capability to legally run OSX."

            ...design of hardware, support of the OS and hardware under one roof, and a place to go and learn (ProCare) and get your problems looked at for free (Genius Bar). The small price difference (it is small, not to beat an already dead horse) is worth it IMO.
        • by hxnwix (652290)

          So you're saying, Macs are cheap?

          That's a nice little sophistry. It fails to change the fact that, while Macs are more expensive than they would be if Mac clones were still in production, they remain cheaper than they would be if PCs didn't exist.

          Once more: you can be glad to have a competitor even if you dislike that competitor. I hope I've helped you comprehend that market utility is sometimes counter-intuitive - particularly if you value price and quality over brand loyalty.

      • Just as some are glad that AMD is around to keep Intel's prices down, I'm glad that Microsoft is around to keep iPods affordable.

        Microsoft? Creative is the only reasonable alternative to iPods for the price-conscious consumer. Every mp3 player I own is a Creative. Creative lets me do what I want, how I want it (there is no need to install Creative's DRM software), the player is not crippled in any way (unlike the Zune), and it usually costs a fraction of the cost of comparable Ipods (with may be 90% of the

    • "We need to have a law or something"

      We do - that is why Microsoft is the 'convicted monopolist'. Convicted of doing everything you joke about...now THAT's funny :)
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:23PM (#21457521) Homepage Journal

    Exhibit A: Cute, functional, the industry standard. Everyone knows what it is. Comes in gift-friendly colors. A status symbol.

    Exhibit B: Volvo-esque, crippled, and ignored by accessory manufacturers. No one outside Slashdot and the Black Friday Loss Leader Bin has heard of it. Comes in brown. Also a status symbol (but of an undesirable status).

    Don't try to overthink it.

    • by MtViewGuy (197597)
      The most important thing that makes the iPod models so good is that by keeping the controls on the player relatively simple, it makes the player easy to understand by most users. That's why Apple commands 78% of the market for portable media players.
  • by porky_pig_jr (129948) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:27PM (#21457551)
    Zune (and any like product) will succeed when judged on its own merits, rather being competitor of brand A. But it will never be like that, since Zune *was* positioned as iPod killer from the start.

    And yet another thing: I think, psychologically, just like myself, every time you hear of xyz-killer from Microsoft, somehow you end up visualizing Balmer throwing the chair, and then somehow you end up *not* purchasing Zune.
  • Goalposts (Score:5, Funny)

    by chemindefer (707238) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:32PM (#21457599)
    Moved them and made them smaller. Try getting a chair between them now.
    • by hxnwix (652290)

      Moved them and made them smaller. Try getting a chair between them now.
      Or a brick. Or a Zune for that matter!
  • by TSDMK (979550) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:34PM (#21457615)
    Zune shortcomings aside, just look at RoughlyDrafted's other articles. All pro-Apple. Is it a surprise that this guy claims that the Zune is a failure? Personally, the fact that Microsoft don't even try to compete outside the USA speaks volumes about their confidence at this point.
    • by MrHanky (141717)
      It's an Apple propaganda blog. They don't report that the Zune is a failure, they try to make it so.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)

      Zune shortcomings aside, just look at RoughlyDrafted's other articles. All pro-Apple. Is it a surprise that this guy claims that the Zune is a failure? Personally, the fact that Microsoft don't even try to compete outside the USA speaks volumes about their confidence at this point.

      Just because he's pro-Apple doesn't mean he's necessarily wrong. Does his arguments make sense? Are they logically sound and based on evidence? Are his analyses cohesive? Do you agree with them? That's really the whole point

  • I was adapter hunting in a Radio Shack last week, and couldn't help but overhear the clerks talking to each other behind the counter...

    Clerk 1 "I like the zune, I mean, at least it's not an iPod!"
    Clerk 2 "And you can so buy one without having to go near an Apple Store!"

    Clerk 3 "Hey, did the new stock come in?"
    Clerk 1 "Yeah, I put them out this morning - we even have brown ones now..."

    Clerk 3 "Really? What do they look like?"
    Clerk 1 "Kidding, right? They're brown, man...that's it?"
    Clerk 3 "Oh, rii
  • I noticed the graph half way down the page which says that most people would buy the iPhone a gift. Great gift.

    "Happy Christmas, here's an iPhone ... and here's the contract"
  • by GnarlyDoug (1109205) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:37PM (#21457641)
    Apple wins becuase iTunes exists mainly to help drive the sales of their hardware, as opposed to the Microsoft strategy of using hardware to drive sales. With the Apple approace the buyer, user, and customer are all the same individual. With the Microsoft model the buyer/user is the same, but the customer is someone else, namely content produces and/or content resellers such as record companies and advertisers.

    I think it is axiomatic that if your buyer/user and customer are not the same person, then you are in trouble. In Microsoft's case, without hardware sales there will be no advertisements or add sales either, and since they're selling the zunes at a loss, they lose on all counts.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fishthegeek (943099)
      Respectfully I disagree. The iTunes music store was presented over two years after the iPod was released. ITunes is a result of dominant hardware not a cause of it. Apple used its market share in hardware to strong arm the labels into cooperating and up until recently (read: Amazon music store etc.) they've been able to continue their strong arm tactics because of the hardwares success. The iPod sold well before iTunes, and could easily survive if the itms ceased to exist. How you ask? The iPod would c
  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:38PM (#21457651) Homepage Journal
    The Zune is just another example of what Microsoft has been doing for years - look for other markets where someone's making money then jump into that market and try to out-compete the dominant player(s).

    It worked for web browsers and maybe mouses - but their efforts to penetrate the consumer electronics market in any meaningful way have so far failed to gain any traction.

    They've got lots of cash, so they can "compete" while they're losing money and do it for years. Who knows, Xbox might take over the game console market someday. Maybe Zune will amount to more than a poor copy of last year's product. On the Xbox front, they can buy up game developers and convert their products to Xbox-only products. I don't see that kind of business plan working with music players, though. Even if they negotiate exclusive distribution rights for many important acts - the market will ignore those restrictions as it has already shown itself capable of doing. Which act wants to be the first to release "Zune only" tunes? Let's keep in mind the percentage of the portable music player market that Zune represents.

    And they've already burned a lot of bridges - remember "Plays For Sure"? They signed up player manufacturers right and left - then left them high and dry. Their potential customers are more than a little aware of this too - who wants to buy a player that you might not be able to purchase any music for in a year or two?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:39PM (#21457655)
    It is a culture thing that causes Microsoft to fail over and over again in the consumer media/entertainment markets.

    Although the Zune failure looks time compared to the Xbox fiasco in some ways the Xbox marketplace disaster has moderated the Zune marketplace failure. The Xbox project is now some six years into its life and the console has wasted some seven billion dollars and is dead in the water. The new Xbox 360 after two years on the market is still dead in both Japan and Europe and selling to a fairly niche hardcore US fps/pc gamer demographic. After all those billions the 360 is on track to just making the same 24 million or so worldwide installed base numbers as the first Xbox mess.

    The Zune was supposed to be subsidized by the 360 'profits' LOL

    Instead of sitting down and hiring really good industrial and UI experts and coming up with something comparable to the iPod line Microsoft has been unable to get out of their same old product strategies:

    * Using other products to subsidize new ones to force their products out into the marketplace
    * Stupid viral marketing tactics
    * Buying off media
    * Hiring people to sit around on messageboards hyping their products and slamming their competitors
    * Inane attempts at coming up with 'fastest ever' or other silly PR claims

    It's a culture thing. People from Microsoft would rather slash your tires or tie your shoe laces together than legitimately win a race and then sit around high fiving each other afterwards over drinks at the local Rendmond wateringhole. Someone up in Redmond needs to wake up and realize that culture is getting them nowhere in the console and digital media markets.

    • by electroniceric (468976) on Friday November 23, 2007 @11:47PM (#21460233)

      It is a culture thing that causes Microsoft to fail over and over again in the consumer media/entertainment markets.
      I think you're on to something here, though I don't ascribe it to a desire to slash tires. Microsoft made its bones by making existing software concepts mass-produceable. Windows and DOS were knockoffs of existing ideas in personal (and subsequently corporate) computing that locked down functionality into discrete units and provided a known pathway to put these units together (so PHBs without technical depth could understand what to buy next). Microsoft has done that over and over, making a killing each time - just think about how quickly they completely took over Novell's share of the corporate infrastructure market. That put it in box and scalle it approach is likely why they tend to think in terms of features and client ROI rather than experience and status.

      I once read a short history of the car industry and it pointed out that GM ate Ford's lunch in part because they realized that consumers wanted to buy experience, status, and identity with their cars, not just new engines and better brakes. Microsoft seems stuck in this rut now - for a while consumers were excited about Windows because it was their entree into the futuristic world of computers and the Internet, but Windows/Microsoft never really became a identity brand. Apple has mastered the identity branding - after all, functionally the iPod does very little that the Rio didn't do (with the notable exception that Apple streamlined the process of getting music onto the damn thing), but Apple made it simultaneously safe and sexy to make the leap from collecting music on CDs in a big CaseLogic book to collecting music on a computer in one form or another. The iPhone is really the same simple concept - make the computer part of a smartphone work easily and make it sexy.

      I have quite a number of friends at Microsoft, and they are all smart and aware people, so I'm always surprised at how tone deaf the company itself is. The only blindspot I could ever really discern was the combination of Not Invented Here and We Know What the Future Will Look Like And We Can't Talk Because We're Inventing It Now. Surely Apple has its blindspots, but I have to agree with your view that they are fundamentally better attuned to the consumer market.
  • I think the problem is that there just aren't enough people getting Zune tattoos:

    http://www.engadget.com/2007/09/17/what-kind-of-man-gets-three-zune-tattoos/ [engadget.com]

    (As an aside: he's also changing his name to "Microsoft Zune"

    http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/05/zune-guy-changing-name-to-microsoft-zune/ [engadget.com])
  • Maybe you could make an argument that the Zune isn't a failure. It wouldn't be based on sales, buzz, or want factor. but it would be an argument.

    I'm no Apple Fanboy, I have never even owned an iPod. But the Zune is a joke product. See we make a music player too. See, See.

    So does every other chinese factory. I know cuz I own several of those. With three kids, I really appreciate a music player that cost less than a carton of smokes.

  • I don't care much either way about the Zune or the iPod, but if you look around the Roughly Drafted site, you'll see that it is very biased towards Apple, and doesn't mind playing a little fast and loose with the truth.
  • Take two people, give one the latest iPod, the other the latest Zune (whatever a "Zune" is....)

    Who's the coolest?

  • "It Suck-didly-ucks, Flanders"
  • by Dracos (107777) on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:00PM (#21458471)

    MS is about as nimble as a beached whale carcass. I'm impressed that they're only a year behind.

    MS has a long record of not caring what users want, instead assuming that the public will gleefully accept whatever MS produces. They think they can win at consumer electronics by playing like the monopoly in a market they just entered and have no chance to control, even if they played smart by carving a niche for themselves instead of assuming the market will shift according to their will simply because they enter it.

  • by danielk1982 (868580) on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:16PM (#21458615)
    From the article: Microsoft was rumored to deliver a product that, true to its roots, ignored usability and instead tacked on impractical features such as wireless sharing.

    Wireless sharing is a great idea, but Microsoft's implementation was so neutered and locked-down it ended up being a non-factor.
  • by Trogre (513942) on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:33PM (#21458745) Homepage
    I thought it was because the logo, when viewed in a mirror, looks like 'anus'

  • by gelfling (6534) on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:35PM (#21458759) Homepage Journal
    It's not cheaper than SanDisk players. It doesn't have more features than Apple. It's not physically distinct; e.g. is waterproof or shockproof. It's a mundane me-too product in a sea of mundane me-too products. It is a failure? I don't know, are any of them?
  • by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Friday November 23, 2007 @07:53PM (#21458865)
    Microsoft started out as a software company. They produced a desktop operating system, office productivity software and Server applications to make office life a bit easier. Apple did the same with less success. Now, every time I hear about Microsoft cutting into new markets where they have no business, I can't help but be embarrassed for them.

    Microsoft really has no business making things like the Zune and Sync. It's not their core competency to make personal, consumer products. They're just not as good as Apple (in relation to the Zune) or car stereo companies (in relation to the Sync).

    Unfortunately, Microsoft's pockets are too deep to take a lesson from failed products. Now I understand why they didn't cut their losses with the Zune months ago and stop pushing it as an iPod killer.
    • by PhilipPeake (711883) on Friday November 23, 2007 @08:44PM (#21459225)
      What you say has a lot of truth behind it. Unfortunately, Microsoft can see the writing on the wall for their current software products. Their OS market share has reached saturation, attempts to persuade people to dump their current Windows for the flashy new one are becoming less and less successful. The end of the road for their office products is similarly in view. The trick of adding new bells and whistles and forcing upgrades with a format change has been used once too many times.

      They are desperately looking around to diversify, to enter new markets with new products to build up new revenue streams before the Windows/Office cow dies.

      They have tried to break into so many different product areas and markets that its almost funny. None of the attempts have been a great success.

      They tried to change the rules of the game and make customers subscribe to software if they couldn't re-sell the same thing with new bells and whistles. That pissed off customers to the point where they bit the bullet and started looking at the alternatives, and what a move to Linix might really entail.

      They tried to become the owner of the gateway to multi-media distribution. They went as far as building a whole new OS to support this attempt, and bludgeoned a lot of hardware manufacturers into producing HW to support it. They actually sold the idea to a few media creators, and those that bit are finding that the only thing they really bought was yet another way to alienate their own customers.

      Consumer hardware is just another branch they are trying. Unfortunately, like Sony they are letting their various product branches force requirements on others. It makes for a nice consistent story, and the different different branches reinforce each other -- but at the price of producing products that consumers just don't want because of the broken aspects in there simply to support restrictions that some other branch of the company wants to see.

      Microsoft should by Sony. Their two brain-dead executive managements seem to have a lot in common.
  • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday November 23, 2007 @08:34PM (#21459149) Homepage
    Microsoft's marketing campaign:

    You can "squirt" your music at your friends and they'll be able to listen to it a maximum of three times before deciding to pay for a legal copy.

    Yeah, dude! Can't wait to get me one of those!

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