Zune: mPod or iClod?

Microsoft_argo_playerThe incredible pace of innovations at Microsoft continues.

As the graphic at right imply, the new MP3 player from Microsoft essentially looks like an iPod, but with a bigger screen.

They called this latest in their series of original ideas the "Zune," but I prefer the name given it by Wired:

"Prior to Friday’s announcement, some were calling the new device the "mPod"
(Microsoft + iPod) killer. But given Microsoft’s typically tone deaf approach to
usability and Apple’s market lead it will be a miracle if its next nickname
isn’t the "iClod" (iPod + clone + awful)."

I don’t think that many people would agree that hardware or software or user experience or customer service is their strong suit; Business methods are Microsoft’s forte.

Here’s a run down on the Zune’s rumored features:

  • It would have wireless Internet capabilities, for downloading tracks
    directly to the device, according to Bloomberg

  • The device could be launched by Christmas, although the company reportedly
    hadn’t yet briefed key retailers as of last week, casting some doubt on that
    schedule, according to The
    New York Times

  • Led by Xbox executive J Allard, the project, code-named "Argo," reflects a
    broader strategy that would extend the Xbox brand into a variety of
    digital-media products, according to The
    Seattle Times

  • Microsoft may be considering giving people free alternative copies of tracks
    they’ve purchased from the iTunes Music Store, for use with the Microsoft
    device, to help convert iPod users, according to some reports.

  • The final product name may be the "Zune," according to Gizmodo.

How do those guys at MSFT keep thinking these things up? Its astounding!


UPDATE July 25,2006 3:30pm

By popular demand: The parody — done by Microsoft’s own marketing team — of how MSFT would have marketed the iPod:


Microsoft IPod ‘Killer’ Is Doomed
Eliot Van Buskirk
Wired, 02:00 AM Jul, 24, 2006

Microsoft’s "Argo" / Xbox wireless portable media player
Ryan Block
Engadget, July 10th 2006 4:52PM

Microsoft Dubs Upcoming MP3 Player ‘Argo’ and Mimics iPod’s Design
David Silverberg
DigitalJournal.com, July 10th 2006 4:52PM

Tracking Microsoft’s portable media device
Todd Bishop
Seattle Post Intelligencer, July 11, 2006 9:20 a.m.

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