Microsoft's Zune is having lots of problems. Engadget reports the software is buggy. European launch may be delayed until 2008. And now we find it's not compatible with Microsoft's shiny new operating system, Vista. Didn't they see that one coming?
But by far the biggest problem with the player is that it doesn't work with any download sites other than the new Zune Marketplace. Even users who bought songs from Microsoft's own MSN music store will find they can't use them with Zune. It's ludicrous.
As a Mac user, I reluctantly use iTunes, even though I know that it downloads music that's only compatible with iPod. I do it because it's easy to use, convenient – and I have five iPods. There are over a hundred million of the blighters out there now.
By placing Zune in its own ecosystem, Microsoft risks alienating anyone who's bought music online – whether from Apple, Napster, or Microsoft itself. And by slowly killing PlaysForSure by withdrawing support, Microsoft has pulled the rug from beneath the feet of users of Creative, Archos and other former partners. So when people ask me now what player they should buy, I'm going to have to think very hard; at least iPods have a future. Microsoft might well have destroyed the rest of the market.
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