According to German news site heise.de, Microsoft won’t compete against Apple with their Zune media player in Germany because of the local market which is dominated by sub-100EUR players.
"Man kann Apple nicht an Coolness übertreffen, sondern nur mit zusätzlichen Funktionen"Stephan Brechtmann quoted on heise.de
Stephan Brechtmann is convinced, that you can’t compete with Apple in the coolness-department but can only compete feature-wise. Well, then perhaps MS should get started there. From what I’ve seen of the new Zune so far, it looks like a nice player but lacks more or less in the same areas as the whole Apple iPod product line or even offers less functionality.
For example: those sub-100EUR players that seem to be so popular in Germany mostly have one great feature: Simplicity. You can simply mount them without any special software but the usual filemanager (or plain mount them under Linux) and just drag’n drop music into specific folders. Not to mention that you can easily abuse them as generic file storage.
I understand why Apple doesn’t want that given that they want to bind iPod customers to iTunes. But I guess by now Microsoft (no longer) has a viable store and could probably profit quite a lot from easy interaction the world. Heck, if the new Zune had simple USB-Mass Storage support and would let me drag’n drop music into a folder hierarchy without relying on some kind of special software (probably for updating a database similar to the iTunes/iPod combination), I would even consider dumping my iPod nano for it. At least I don’t think it allows that out of the box. Everywhere I go on the Zune page, I see references to the “Zune Software”.
Sorry Microsoft, but currently all you can compete with feature-wise is Apple. And if it wasn’t for the AAC support, … Just my 2c
Note: This is all based on the assumption, that you really need that “Zone Software” for using the player.