It seems that Microsoft still can’t catch a break from a majority of the media and the blogosphere. It’s much more socially acceptable to love Apple and hate the machine that is Microsoft. Andy Ihnatko of the Chicago Sun-Times warned everyone on the 23rd that they should avoid the loony Zune. He goes on to wonder why the Zune software is the only software to sync with the Zune. Am I mistaken or doesn’t the iPod have a similar problem?
You want to go further into Andy’s diatribe? How about his wonderful finish where he claims that Toshiba and Sandisk are the more successful competitors to the iPod. I can’t speak for Sandisk, but didn’t Toshiba make the Zune?
David Galbraith jumps on the bandwagon with Andy except he seems to state no other reason for it except that the Zune isn’t the socially “cool” toy on the playground. Add to that Warner Crocker’s opinion that the feature “squirting” is poorly named. I have to add that I agree there, but when he goes on to claim the Zune is beta hardware, he goes a little far. It’s a first generation Zune with first generation issues. The iPod had similar issues in it’s first generation. Unfortunately for the Zune, it’s being compared to a 5th generation iPod.
What’s odder still is that Gizmodo, an arguably respected gadget blog, tested the Zune and thought it was “pretty promising.” TDavid, a person whom I trust when it comes to honest reviews, twice has defended the Zune. Once at release and again today. When two very respectable reviews like Gizmodo’s and TDavid’s basically say that the Zune is fine and that the problems that people like Andy had aren’t universal, I have to stop and wonder if the Zune is suffering from anything more than the reputation of it’s manufacturer. Or rather if it is suffering from the reputation of it’s competitor. The thing is that Apple marketed the iPod about as perfectly as possible. And Apple and the iPod are seen as the “cool” toys. The social elite gadgets. And when a item enjoys a perception like that, sometimes reality gets a little skewed.
Bottom line, I think the current generation of iPods is superior to the Zune. But is it so much superior that the Zune will fade into oblivion as Andy suggests? No. If Microsoft does anything well, it is competing. They’ve gone up against Jobs and the Apple mystique before. And won. Apple is a leader in a couple fields now, and should look out when Microsoft starts gunning for them.
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