Apple Computers announced that the company had sold its 100 millionth iPod last month. This makes the device the world’s best-selling digital music playing device and one the highest selling electronic devices to date.
Aspiring to one-up Apple, on November 14, 2006, Microsoft released its highly anticipated music player, the Zune. Microsoft enthusiasts were elated to hear that their beloved Bill Gates had put millions into competing with the iPod. The Zune boasted of the transmitting of songs and photos wirelessly. Techies stormed stores everywhere, and Zunes initially flew off the shelves. However, consumers were dissatisfied with their iPod wanna-bes.
The wireless connectivity that the Zune boasts about is vastly overrated. Each media file received via peer-to-peer is only able to be in use for three days due to Digital Right Management (DRM) or copyright protection. This facet of Zune alone is enough to render the device less than iPod’s equivalent, not to mention the difficulty of finding someone who owns a Zune.
iPod owners may be without the “benefits” of transmitting files wirelessly, but that hasn’t provoked them to switch to Microsoft’s version.
Equally as infuriating as the Zune’s useless wireless compatibility is the software that accompanies the device. Microsoft’s Zune isn’t even compatible with some of its own operating systems. To use the software included with the device, Microsoft has forced Zune consumers to upgrade to its specifications. Otherwise, the software and the device is useless.
The Zune software is made to do everything automatically, which in all actuality, dumbfounds the user, and this painstaking process can take hours. The Zune Marketplace is just as confusing since it needlessly uses “points” to sell songs or videos. A song that costs 99 cents translates into 79 points. These points can be purchased only in $5 increments, meaning consumers are forced to leave Microsoft with a little tip.
iTunes, which comes with each iPod is compatible with any operating system, also includes the iTunes Store from which consumers can purchase all of their music and video needs. Media is purchased by traditional dollars and cents. Apple’s software is simple and straightforward, using it extensively organized menus to guide customers through their media libraries.
Both the 30-gigabyte iPod video and the Zune are priced at $250, but all the complaints and struggles consumers have had with Microsoft’s media player have reduced it to a mere wanna-be. Apple has secured its place as the head hancho of the digital media player hierarchy.