Microsoft Zune reviews and hacks

I wasn't expecting Microsoft to come out with an iPod killer, but I wasn't expecting to see so many bad reviews about the Zune either.

I just saw a Zune, and guess what? Its a piece of shit, by David Galbraith:

Zune manages to take the very few features of the iPod and over complicate or ruin them. For example, the navigation copies the iPod's in the way it looks, and for absolutely no reason, because the way the navigation works does not require the scroll wheel design. This tell tale sign of unergonomic design is known to product designers as a skeumorph, it's why cheap hifi equipment has lots of flashing lights to look 'pro'.

Avoid the loony Zune, by Andy Ihnatko, Chicago Sun-Time:

Yes, Microsoft's new Zune digital music player is just plain dreadful. I've spent a week setting this thing up and using it, and the overall experience is about as pleasant as having an airbag deploy in your face.

Zune, so you want to be an iPod killer? MacWorld:

The iPod is beautiful, sleek and simple. Microsoft will never sell a media player that is more elegant than the iPod. That's just not going to happen, given the DNA of each company. What isn't inconceivable, however, is that Microsoft could create a Zune that's more desirable than the iPod. After all, the Mac is more elegant than Windows, but most people prefer Windows. And that's how Microsoft can kill the iPod: make the Zune more like a Windows PC.

Zune, Creative Commons Don't Mix, by Eliot Van Buskirk, Wired News:

To see the insanity of the music industry's antipiracy paranoia look no further than Microsoft's Zune.

Trying Out the Zune: IPod It’s Not, by David Pogue, New York Times:

At the very attractive but dog-slow Zune store, for example, you can either buy songs ($1 each) or rent them (unlimited songs for $15 a month). But Microsoft’s store doesn’t sell TV shows, movies or audio books. The music catalog is much smaller — 2 million vs. 3.5 million on iTunes — a fact that Microsoft ham-handedly tries to conceal by listing stuff that it doesn’t actually sell, like Beatles albums.

Installing the Zune... sucked, by Ryan Block, Engadget: a complete description with screenshots of a pretty usual MS software experience with as many useless dialogs and crashes as you can get ;-). Note that googling for "zune installation crash" returns about 596,000 results already!

Zune Swoon, by John C. Dvorak, PC Magazine:

If anything is doomed to failure, it is the Microsoft Zune. I have no idea who is marketing this device within the company, but from what I can tell, this is going to become a major turkey in the product mix. As far as I can tell, Microsoft should simply turn over all its marketing to the Xbox 360 folks—at least some of the people in that group have marketing skills.

Now, hacks are starting to appear:
- Zune has its own 100% MS-Windows (but not Vista yet) + Zune store ecosystem (excluding MS own PlaysForSure format, which gives a sour taste to their marketing slogan "Choose your music. Choose your device.
Know it’s going to work."), but people are already trying to plug it on their Macs: One small step towards Zune use on the Mac...
- Gizmodo tells How To Bypass The Zune's WiFi Sharing DRM

Barry Ritholtz takes a look at the sales stats from Amazon and see that the iPod continues to dominate:

Apple has all 5 first slots, 9 of the top 10, 11 of the top 15.

Microsoft Zune?

# 18

(Sophie notes in the comments that it's now at #76!)

There's a Zune page on Wikipedia.

BTW, I hear from the press here that Vista sales are looking bad, and that Seattle is expecting record monthly rain falls for November. I don't think those are related though :-p.