Intrinsic Illusions

7 Products By The Biggest Tech Companies That Failed Miserably

Hearing the news that Google is taking another stab at social media with a new group-chatting app dubbed “Spaces” may feel like deja vu for anyone paying attention to the tech giant’s previous, mostly unsuccessful efforts to gain traction in the social media world with Google+. But Google isn’t the only big name in the tech world that’s tried and failed to popularize a new tech product, not by a long shot. [More]

Raiders Of The Lost Walmart Will Put You On Hold On Their Landline Now

Raiders Of The Lost Walmart Will Put You On Hold On Their Landline Now

The Raiders of the Lost Walmart are the brave retail explorers who comb the nation’s big-box stores for retail antiquities: items that have been left behind and forgotten on clearance shelves, out of date and comically overpriced. Today, the Raiders have turned in their field notes on three items: a charger for a long-ago media player, a device to torture people you’re on the phone with, and a trackball mouse that has waited a very long time for a markdown, a buyer, or both. [More]

(Jacob Tompkins)

Microsoft officially pulled the plug on its Zune streaming music service on Sunday, shoveling dirt on the final remnants of its digital media venture that began to unravel in 2011 when the company discontinued the media player. Users will no longer be able to stream or download content from Zune, but those who subscribed to Zune Music Pass will automatically be moved to Microsoft’s Groove service, which is compatible with Xbox One, Windows 10, Android and iOS. The Zune was Microsoft’s failed attempt at taking on the Apple iPod in 2006, and immediately received negative feedback. [PCWorld]

(Christine Zenino)

Microsoft To Kill Off Zune Streaming Music Service You Probably Didn’t Realize Still Existed

While Microsoft stopped making Zune devices in 2011 and ditched its Zune music store in favor of Xbox Music in 2012 , its Zune streaming music service was still hanging in there… until now: the company says it’ll kill off that service on November 15. [More]

(Jacob Tompkins)

Zune Pass Customers Not Getting All Of Their Free Downloads, No One Knows Why

Chris is a Zune Pass customer, and has been since the very beginning (whenever that was.) Early adopters get a pretty great deal that new subscribers don’t: ten song credits per month. He sent his tip in in the form of a chat transcript that was refreshingly well-written on both sides and honest on the part of the support representative. Let this serve as a heads-up to Zune fans who haven’t noticed this problem yet, but may experience it in the future. Or not. [More]

Microsoft EECB Saves The Day When Zune Leaks Battery
Acid

Microsoft EECB Saves The Day When Zune Leaks Battery Acid

Tristan tells Consumerist that his Zune was about two years old and out of warranty when it began leaking battery acid on his hand. Appalled at the options that regular customer service offered, he used techniques from the Consumerist toolbox and empowered himself. He used our guide to crafting an Executive E-mail Carpet Bomb, and found contact information for Microsoft executives on the site as well. Getting his case in front of a person with actual authority earned Tristan a free repair of his obviously defective Zune. [More]

Is Microsoft Trying To Buy BlackBerry?

Is Microsoft Trying To Buy BlackBerry?

While Microsoft is still basking in the glow of the announcement of their new Windows Phone 7 software, the company isn’t just hoping to wedge its way into the mobile market by selling a platform for other people to put on non-Microsoft hardware. According to a new report, Microsoft is in the market for an existing smartphone company to jump start their efforts. [More]

Microsoft Investigating Why Songs Are Disappearing From Zune Pass

Microsoft Investigating Why Songs Are Disappearing From Zune Pass

If record labels decided to pull some of their songs from the Zune Pass service in the past couple of weeks, they did a poor job telling Microsoft about it. The company seems to be as in the dark as Zune Pass subscribers about why songs, albums, or entire discographies have gone missing. Ars technica reports that a Microsoft employee wrote on a Zune forum, “We are investigating your reported missing albums indicated in this post—and will come back to you as soon as we understand why they’re missing.” [More]

EECB Changes Price Tag To Fix Zune From $160 To $0

EECB Changes Price Tag To Fix Zune From $160 To $0

Brian believes a firmware update made his 80gb Zune give up the ghost, so he called customer service asking for a repair. The CSR’s idea was for Brian to send the Zune and $160 so Microsoft — new 80gb Zunes are going for $217 on Amazon — but Brian had a different idea: call in an EECB airstrike.

Microsoft Seeks Arrogant Would-Be Hipsters To Staff New Stores

Microsoft Seeks Arrogant Would-Be Hipsters To Staff New Stores

When Apple needs to come up with a hot new product, it turns to CEO Steve Jobs, who is said to micromanage everything from the color of the product’s box to how overpriced it should be. And, when Microsoft needs to go after the next big thing, the company turns to … Steve Jobs. At least that seems to be the idea behind Microsoft’s latest plan, which involves poaching managers from Apple’s retail stores.

Sony Adding All Songs Over Two Years Old To EMusic; EMusic Raising Prices

Sony Adding All Songs Over Two Years Old To EMusic; EMusic Raising Prices

Although eMusic is a great service—for a flat monthly fee, you get a set number of downloads per month of DRM-free music tracks—it’s about to get better. Or maybe worse, depending on the breadth of your musical tastes. Today eMusic will announce that Sony is adding its back catalog of songs to eMusic’s library. The bad news is that eMusic also plans to slightly raise prices and/or drop the number of downloads per month. Even if it works out to between 50-60 cents per track, though, that’s still far less than iTunes Music Store or Amazon, and probably the cheapest way to grab music from Sony artists without resorting to piracy.

After Taking Whipping From iPod, Redesigned Zune Will Battle iPod Touch

After Taking Whipping From iPod, Redesigned Zune Will Battle iPod Touch

Microsoft’s Zune is like Rocky in his fight with Ivan Drago. After getting the crap thoroughly beaten out of it in front of the entire civilized world, the Zune just keeps stepping back into the ring for more punishment.

UPDATE: Limited Edition Zune Fixed, and Then Some))

UPDATE: Limited Edition Zune Fixed, and Then Some))

Brooke’s long, tedious, and unnecessary Zune repair is finally over, and it appears Microsoft has done her right. The day after our post on her situation went live, she got a call from Blarim, a personal rep at Microsoft Seattle, and the ball went a-rolling. But she ended up getting a lot more than just her Zune back.

14 Weeks And Counting, But Limited Edition Zune Still Not Fixed

14 Weeks And Counting, But Limited Edition Zune Still Not Fixed

The 30-gig Zunes may have temporarily revolted last week, but Brooke’s limited edition 80-gig Zune has been MIA for over three months now, apparently lost in that magical ever-transitioning Zune world from the commercials. (It just keeps falling through floors and walls and swimming pools.) Maybe someone at Microsoft can take a look at what Brooke’s had to go through so far, and get back to her with a real answer?

McDonald's & Microsoft To Let Zune Users Download Music While Scarfing Burgers

McDonald's & Microsoft To Let Zune Users Download Music While Scarfing Burgers

Is there really a need for this? Microsoft says that they’ve partnered with McDonald’s to offer access to the “Zune Marketplace” to Zune owners via a free wifi connection inside 9,800 participating McDonald’s. This is apparently going to “attract new customers whose digital lifestyle extends beyond their home and office,” according to a press release.

Top 5 Guerilla Marketing Mishaps

Top 5 Guerilla Marketing Mishaps

In the never-ending quest for free publicity, guerilla marketers have gone through great lengths to try to make a big splash. Many guerilla marketers will often concoct stunts that are risky or illegal to grab the publics’ attention. Some stunts go over better than others while a few completely backfire. As a tribute to these foolhardy souls, WebUrbanist has put together their top 5 mishaps in guerilla marketing. The list, inside…

You Call To Cancel Your Zune Account, Microsoft Deactivates XBOX Live

You Call To Cancel Your Zune Account, Microsoft Deactivates XBOX Live

After he called Microsoft to cancel his Zune account, reader Will noticed that his XBOX Live account was suddenly silver instead of gold.

Is It Legal To Use Out Of Date List Prices For Comparison On Sales?

Is It Legal To Use Out Of Date List Prices For Comparison On Sales?

Last week we pointed out how Apple artificially inflates the discount of its refurbished units by using the original introductory list price as a comparison, even if the price has since dropped and the true list price is now lower. Now a reader writes in to say he caught Toys R Us doing the same thing on sale prices of Playstation 3 bundles and 30 gig Zunes. Our question: is this legal? New York City’s consumer protection law seems to imply that—at least for retailers doing business in NYC—it’s not, unless you clearly indicate the trail of price reductions, something neither company is doing.