Has Zune bitten the big Apple?

Amid a flurry of trendy launch parties, Microsoft’s 30GB Zune has touched down at 30,000 stores across the US, with reactions being generally po

Amid a flurry of trendy launch parties, Microsoft’s 30GB Zune has touched down at 30,000 stores across the US, with reactions being generally positive but not ecstatic. The player, which costs the same as a 30GB iPod, is larger and heavier than Apple’s but packs one feature that Microsoft hope will be its ticket to triumph  – Wi-Fi.Among the mixed reviews, most have praised the sound, interface and feel of the player, but find flaws in battery life, the limited format support and – worryingly for Gates and co – those wireless functions.Critics have heavily slated the tougher-than-Wormwood Scrubs DRM measures put in place by Microsoft when sharing songs, with even user-created content covered by the ‘3 plays or 3 days’ protection. Battery life is also sub-iPod standard even with Wi-Fi turned off and the hardware seems slightly rushed.The larger screen seems to have gone down well, although with a resolution the same as an iPod video the difference would appear to be negligible, while the general user-friendless of the more colourful interface has been a hit. The inclusion of an FM radio is also welcomed, as is the ability to share tunes with your 360.Apple’s iTunes can rest easy too, with the Zune store widely panned for its Xbox Live-esque points system. This means Zuners will have to hand over $5 (£3) to be converted to points even if they only want to buy one $0.99 (or 79 points) track. There is a $15 per month (£8) unlimited download subscription offer, although Microsoft seems to be playing this down, probably because it’ll actually offer some value for money.Sadly, it sounds like there are just too many badly executed features for it to be touted as an iPod slayer. With the Zune not expected in the UK until 2008, maybe we’ll see some changes, but for the timebeing Steve Jobs will be sleeping easily.