OK, I generally try to stay out of the consumer electronic blog frenzies that so often take over techmeme. But today I have to make an exception because I'm feeling giddy about the Zune. I'm a big consumer of music and podcasts (and have a looooonnnggg commute each day) and am a rabid iPod user. But I'm also a rabid radio listener. And I love to share music (hence my love for Pandora).
So Zune appeals to me. Because I can do all three in one device. Obviously the proof is very much in the pudding. It's not going to be easy for Microsoft to put a dent in the Apple iTuneopoly, but I have to give them credit for going big. They're trying to differentiate in multiple ways: wireless, embedded content, subscription pricing, different form factor.
Now, things like form factor (Zune is big), battery life (supposedly 12 hours but we've heard such claims before from other devices only to be disappointed) and the user interface of their music downloading service are all gating factors out of the gate potentially. Apple is on version 7.0 of iTunes, and has more versions of iPod than Disney had dalmatians.
But, at first blush, count me in as intrigued. Being a bit of a gadget guy, I'll certainly buy one with an understanding that I could end up back in the iPod universe in short order. But before today's launch, I would've given Microsoft's Zune about a 5% chance of luring me away from Apple. Now it's up to 50%.
Among the 1,000s of reviews on the Zune, I personally found stereogum's analysis the most comprehensive. stereogum was one of a handful of bloggers invited up to MSFT HQ last week for an official briefing, and he covers all the bases.
Note: At the time of this writing I, and/or funds I maintain discretionary control over, maintained a long equity position in MSFT but did not maintain a position (long or short) in AAPL. We also may, at times, carry derivative options on underlying positions as a hedge.