Compete Blog: Can Microsoft’s Zune HD challenge the iPod?
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current
article from the Compete Blog.
Compete Inc. is a web analytics company that focuses on understanding how
consumers use the internet.
were high when Microsoft introduced the Zune in 2006. As the first MP3 player
to feature Wifi and an FM radio, the Zune stood out by allowing owners to
share music wirelessly with other Zuners. The concept never took off; Zune
adoption was limited, while Apple’s iPod line continued to dominate the media
late September, Microsoft launched its new Zune HD media player. Rather than
simply upgrade and refine the original Zune concept, Microsoft seemingly
followed the lead of the iPod Touch, building the device around a 3.3 inch
touchscreen, internet browsing capability and games/application downloads
via the Zune Marketplace. Apple made a series of announcements in the week
prior to the Zune’s launch, including improvements to iTunes, the iPod Touch
and iPod Nano, providing Compete with an opportunity to compare consumer
interest in the two media player brands.
the Zune gained any traction against the iPod or had Apple’s announcements
of the prior week tempered enthusiasm for the Zune HD launch?
further explore this I looked at Compete’s data to see how interest shown
by online consumers in the Zune HD during its launch week compared to that
of the iPod Nano and iPod Touch in the weeks surrounding their recent upgrades.
- The addition
of a video camera to the iPod Nano resulted in a 700 percent week-over-week
lift in traffic to Nano specific pages at apple.com during launch week.
- Traffic to Zune.net, on
the other hand, only saw a comparatively modest 90 percent week-to-week
increase when the Zune HD launched.
- What’s far more damaging
to the Zune HD’s prospects is that the iPod Touch, which hasn’t changed
drastically since its redesign in September 2008, drew virtually identical
levels of interest from online consumers as the entire Zune.net site
during the first two weeks immediately following the Zune HD launch.
a result of Apple overshadowing the Zune HD’s launch, or the lack of a
differentiating feature, consumer interest in the Zune HD has been lukewarm.
With Microsoft’s decision to discontinue all other Zune products that competed
with the iPod Nano and iPod Classic, the Zune HD remains as the company’s
only bid to compete with Apple. If early interest is any indication, the Zune HD could have a tough time grabbing a significant part of the market.
Discussion Questions: Is there anything
Microsoft can do to compete better in the media player category? Why has
the iPod so been successful at outdistancing itself from competitors?