The Zune is dead. Or so the rumours go.
What do you mean you’ve never heard of it?
You know, the Zune: Microsoft’s iPod “killer”, the device that would drive a stake through the heart of Apple’s cash cow and see MS claim its rightful place as the dominant player in the “modern Walkman” market. No. Never heard of it?
Well, not releasing it outside of North America probably wasn’t Microsoft’s smartest move for starters. And, well, having a model coloured what can only be described as sh** brown probably wasn’t what the cool kids were after either.
The Zune was by all accounts pretty good. Good-quality sound, sharp video, nice software for your desktop and the ability to squirt songs. Oh yeah, squirting was going to be the next big thing according to Microsoft. One Zune owner could ‘squirt’ a song to a second Zune owner, which allows the ‘squirtee’ to listen to that song three times before it became locked – and they would have to buy it to hear it again.
Not a bad little idea. But – leaving aside the dubious name (“Hey mind if I squirt something to you?”) – the biggest problem was finding that second Zune owner to receive what you were squirting (it’s not just me that finds that name dodgy is it?).
By 2009, the Zune had managed to achieve a market share of a whopping 2 per cent. And the writing was on the wall. The software – and the name – have been carried over to Microsoft’s latest mobile phone operating system but it appears that the last revision in September 2009 was the last one.
Shame really. As much as I love Apple (had you noticed?), healthy competition helps keep market leaders on their toes. And, to be frank, nobody’s getting close to matching the iPod for sales so, whilst Apple may be refining the product line-up on an annual basis, there’s no company pushing them to create something new in that market.