Thursday, May 28, 2009

Zune struggling on

Yesterday in Target, noticed that they're still proudly offering the Zune, albeit with a large, nearly empty glass case. Not that Microsoft is bothered, as it's pushing on with its money-burning music player:

Zune HD is the next iteration of the Zune device family and brings a new level of listening and viewing experiences to the portable media player category.

*Zune HD comes with a built-in HD Radio receiver so users can listen to higher-quality sound than traditional radio on the go. Users also will have access to the additional song and artist data broadcast by HD Radio stations as well as additional channels from their favorite stations multicasting in HD. If you don't like the song playing on your station's HD channel, switch to its HD2 or HD3 channels for additional programming.

Yes, they've effectively added a DAB tuner to the Zune. If they sold in the UK, that would seem a touching degree of faith in the format, but in the US, this really has the air of adding a thing for getting stones out of horses hooves. You're competing with web-enabled devices that have streaming music devices coming out of their touchscreens, and you have the big idea of giving access to stations using a broadcast format that barely registers? Seriously?

The other Zune annoucement is a slightly disingenuous attempt to try and make the brand a success by pretending it's something else:
Zune will be a premium partner in the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace, bringing an exciting catalog of TV and film to the platform. Zune will occupy the first slot within the Xbox user interface in the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace, exposing the Zune brand experience to millions of new consumers for the first time. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) next week, attendees will see firsthand how Zune integrates into Xbox LIVE to create a game-changing entertainment experience.

Well, they've spent all the money on the logo, but even so - wouldn't it make it more sense to call it XBox Entertainment or something less... tainted?

Mind you, Microsoft is rebranding its search as Bing. So perhaps things could be worse.