After the lackluster launch of the UMPC (Origami), a failure that had as much to do with the bulky form-factor as price, Microsoft is keying up another personal device for consumers. Dubbed the Zune, most people have written it off already as an ‘also ran’ against Apple’s iPod. Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research, however, seems to disagree:
OK, it’s pretty clear that the first iteration of Zune is pretty lackluster given where Apple and the rest of the market is. Underestimating Zune and Microsoft, however, would be a huge mistake. It’s not to say that this is a slam dunk for Microsoft but let’s look at the big picture.
All I can say is that the pictures comparing the two side by side make it obvious that the 1st generation Zune is pretty ugly, and bulkier than the iPod. Microsoft is using a very aggressive pricing model ($249 for the current Zune), and clearly is willing to pump resources into this device to challenge Apple. Maybe like the newest UMPCs, the second generation Zune will be attactive enough to own.