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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Zune No Threat to iPod... For Now

Zune, Microsoft's answer to Apple's iPod MP3 player, made waves when it debuted last month. However, sales have been slow, and critics have panned some of its advanced features. For now at least, the Zune is hardly a category killer, and the iPod's position as the MP3 player of record is safe.

The $250, 30GB player, for instance, allows owners to wirelessly swap songs. But this feature restricts swapped songs to being played three times in three days before expiring. Reports have also surfaced that the Zune isn't compatible with Windows Vista. However, the Zune has earned good marks for magnetic headphones, clear display and (perhaps most important) good sound.

Microsoft hopes to sell 1 million Zunes by the middle of 2007. However, this would hardly put a dent in the iPod's market, as Apple sold 39 million iPods this past year. Meanwhile, electronics websites show the popularity of the Zune far beneath that of other MP3 players. However, Microsoft appears optimistic and committed to the Zune. Bryan Lee, corporate vice president for Microsoft's entertainment group, calls the projected sales, modest as they may seem alongside iPod figures, "pretty awesome."

RELATED: Michael Kanellos of ZDNet comments on why he thinks the recently announced Apple phone is a bad move.

Source: CNN.com