Microsoft's Zune sparked some interest among online consumers in its debut Tuesday, but the portable music player fell far short of sparking a buying frenzy.
Zune, which is going head-to-head against Apple Computer's market leading iPod, moved up to as high as No. 6 on Amazon.com's top seller list for electronics, behind the iPod and iPod Nano, a smaller version of the digital player. The iPod was consistently No. 2.
The number of online searches for Zune showed some consumer interest during its first day of sales. But again, it fell short of the iPod.
"The iPod is head and shoulders above, when it comes to the volume of searches," said Matt Tatham, a spokesman for Web metrics firm Hitwise.
Celebrating the U.S. launch of the new Zune digital media player and music service, Microsoft has worked with a number of artists to stage free concerts in public parks and plazas in urban centers across the country. Today (Nov. 13, 2006) at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle at the first of these Zune concerts, Bill Gates took the stage to share his excitement for this next step Microsoft is taking in music and entertainment.
Gates outlined the Zune vision to create new ways for people to connect, discover and share music and entertainment experiences. He was joined onstage by John Richards, morning show host of popular community radio station KEXP, to showcase the new Zune-to-Zune wireless sharing feature. Richards wirelessly sent the inaugural song to Gates, who then surprised the crowd by giving away his Zune device to a member of the audience. Building on the “Hello from Seattle” greeting printed on the back of every Zune device, Richards created a playlist to celebrate Seattle music in honor of the Zune launch. The complete KEXP “Hello from Seattle” playlist will be available on Zune Marketplace for consumers to download.
“We wanted to bring Zune to life with a celebration of live music, shared between artists and fans across the country, and really make today all about embracing the social aspect of music,” said Bryan Lee, corporate vice president of the Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Zune is all about changing the game to make music more social, and at launch we are just scratching the surface of how wireless technology is going to enable social interaction in the future.”
On the Shelves
Retailing for $249.99, the Zune device will be available at nearly 30,000 U.S. retailers tomorrow—more outlets than any other Microsoft product. Available in black, brown and white, the 30GB Zune digital media player will come equipped with wireless functionality for Zune-to-Zune sharing of select music, pictures and home recordings; a bright, 3-inch LCD video screen that works in portrait or landscape mode to display pictures and videos; and a built-in FM tuner. The Zune player was designed to work seamlessly with the Zune software and Zune Marketplace music service, giving consumers an easy way to find, manage and enjoy their music, pictures and video. As new features become available, Zune owners will be able to update the software on their existing device.
There is no info on the exact dates outside the US, but it will happen next year.
- Microsoft Zune Mobile Phone ? (05 February, 2007)