Zune “is a Complete, Humiliating Failure.”

The Chicago Sun-Times does not like the Zune. At all. In much the same way as we delight in reading all the really nasty movie reviews excerpted on Metacritic, we really enjoyed this particular write up of the potentially ill-fated Zune. Here are some choice zingers:

On Device Kickbacks to Music Companies:

“These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it,” said Doug Morris, CEO of Universal Music Group. “So it’s time to get paid for it.”

Well, Morris is just a big, clueless idiot, of course. Do you honestly want morons like him to have power over your music player? Then go ahead and buy a Zune. You’ll find that the Zune Planet orbits the music industry’s Bizarro World, where users aren’t allowed to do anything that isn’t in the industry’s direct interests.”

On Moral Issues:

“Throw in the Zune’s tail-wagging relationship with music publishers, and it almost becomes important that you encourage people not to buy one.”

More inside.

On Compatibility:

“Zune is incompatible with Windows Media Player, the familiar hub of the Windows desktop media experience.
The Zune app doesn’t even have as many features as WMP. And why (for the love of God) doesn’t it support podcasts? That’s pure insanity.”

Sun-Times Prediction:

“Result: The Zune will be dead and gone within six months. Good riddance”

Ok, so the Zune is probably not a good buy. Beware, yadda, yadda. First generation devices are a bad buy, regardless. So why are we writing about it? Obviously, we just wanted to run this picture again. Zune, so frustrating, you’ll put your eye out. —MEGHANN MARCO (Thanks, jp!)

Avoid the loony Zune [Sun-Times via BoingBoing]


Edit Your Comment

  1. tz says:

    You can hack the registry (I think it is at lifehacker) to make it actually work as a hard drive, but then it might spread mass-storage autorun viri like the iPod can (only under Windows).

    But the rest is intentional design. No you aren’t supposed to be able to copy things. Why would they bother with a separate app from the already DRM crippled WMP11 if not to cripple it worse – which it does for podcasts.

    It’s probably in a contract somewhere between their music store (which doesn’t Play For Sure) and the record companies that the Zune has to be crippled.

    But Microsoft has such hubris they think they can do with Zune what they have forced with Internet Explorer, Windows, Office, or anything else.

    Watch if Vista breaks iTunes and the iPod and the Zune Music Store becomes “part of the operating system” which will subject your music to a “genuine advantage” program.

  2. Vinny says:

    The Zune is a first-generation device, but the Zune is a first-generation device in a very mature market and one would expect a lot more polish out of a first gen device in the portable media player market.

    That’s where MS blew it.

  3. d0x says:

    I’d say give it time. The Zune did some things right and some things wrong. The fact that it is full of DRM should be an issue because who is really going to share songs over wifi anyways? It has all the same restrictions as an ipod.

    The main problem with the current Zune is its size which will be fixed in future revisions. The one thing I really like about it is the potential for it to be hooked up to an xbox 360 to download music via Xbox Live. If they get that up and running and fix the size issue I will buy one to replace my current 5G ipod video whos battery now lasts about 2 hours between “full” charges.

  4. bndocksnt says:

    I think the real issue here is how the Microsoft decided to turn their Plays For Sure format into Plays For Suckers and stab all of their music store partners (those folks like Napster and Verizon and Rhapsody) in the back by not letting their music formats play on the Zune. This was a bad, bad, bad move on the Zune team’s part, and a real slap in the face of consumers who have trusted the content they downloaded from WMP to actually work on another Microsoft product. Don’t get me wrong, I am actually a fan of many Microsoft products, but I am no fan-boy, and excusing the Zune of this kind of blantant asshole-ism is simply unthinkable.

  5. Skeptic says:

    Nothing wrong with the hardware–it’s just a modified Toshiba gigabit player. All of the problems are due to Microsoft’s DRM insanity. There is just no reasonable excuse to leave “Plays for Sure” music customers out in the dark.

  6. HawkWolf says:

    it’s all about the commercials. iPod: cool commercials. Zune: that thing with people doing weird stuff in a record store or apartment with turntables and a fat bearded guy WIFIing some tunes.

    I saw that commercial and said, I do not want any of this ‘social’ that they’re trying to sell. Then I went and listened to my ipod while working out.


    I think vinny’s on the dot. When the iPod came out, it was really a first generation sort of device, and it helped mainstream MP3 players. Note I said mainstream, not ‘introduce to the world’, because of course mp3 players were out before it. The Zune came in on the iPod’s turf and is now finding it hard to beat the established player at their own game, especially in light of problems and limitations.

  7. Chongo says:

    This was one of Andy Ihnatko’s better columns. He writes for Macworld BTW so he might be a tiny bit partial to apple products. Either way though I tend to agree with him on alot of things.

  8. zl9600 says:

    Andy Ihnatko is NOT an Apple fan-boy. Not even close. Just research some of his past articles.

  9. Plasmafire says:

    It makes for a really nice paperweight…

  10. AcilletaM says:

    except the DRM won’t let you share any of the papers it holds down.

  11. weave says:

    The entire Playsforsure marketing message was that Apple was evil because they tied you into one player and one music store. Microsoft criticized Apple for that every chance they got. They said consumers should have a choice. Then Microsoft turns around and does that same exact thing.

  12. exkon says:

    The Zune actually is a pretty good device, but like all 1st generation electronic items there are kinks in the system.

    The wi-fi system has potential, I’m pretty sure MS will eventually lighten up (Praying..) on the DRM.

    Chicago times probably read the rest of the reviews of the Zune, and decided if they just wrote one that said the Zune was really bad, people would pay attention..hey look what happened!?

    I mean we ALL buy our music ligit right?

  13. Trai_Dep says:

    Sweet sweet Ralphie graphic. Worthy of more Zune coverage for that alone.

  14. taylorich says:

    From what I have read this thing is Microsoft Bob 2.0. I’m sticking with my trusty cassette Walkman.

  15. dcndn says:

    they’re using the wifi feature as a selling point, but it only lets you share a song for three days or three plays, whatever comes first. asinine.

  16. magic8ball says:

    exkon: If you seriously think that in the future, MS will lighten up on their DRM … then at best you have a poor understanding of their history.

  17. Xkeeper says:

    This is just abysmal. It seems like most major entities right now (Sony, MS, etc.) are screwing up left and right… Sony’s rootkits/PS3 botching, MS’s Vista licensing (try reading it!) and now the Zune…

    Well, maybe when they start seeing some red on the earning charts, they’ll wisen up.

  18. Xkeeper says:

    Oops. Lest I forget the Windows Genuine Disadvantage, that had as much accuracy in detecting pirated/genuine installations as a coin flip, and installed something you couldn’t get rid of that nagged you every five minutes…

    It’s even funnier when you consider that, for a while, all the machines at CCSN got flagged as Genuine Disadvantages. Oops.

  19. rhfootball says:

    Zunes will eventually win, because Microsoft is playing better with the media companies: