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Zomething Zmells in Zune-land

November 15, 2006

There’s a common rule amongst movie reviewers in the media. If a studio does not show advance previews of a film to critics before its opening weekend, it’s almost always an attempt on their part to suppress negative reviews. You know, those 1/2- or 1-star kind of critiques that tank box-office receipts.

Noted tech columnist John C. Dvorak posts his latest column at PC Magazine, presenting his case why Microsoft‘s new media wonder device, the Zune, will flop worse than “The Adventures of Pluto Nash,” going as far as to call it a “major turkey.”

Which reminds me, I better go to the grocery store soon to snag a bird for next Thursday…

After berating Microsoft’s marketing efforts, Dvorak says the company attempted to limit reviewers’ access to the device’s features, who they could show the device to (not even to their family), and how they could describe the Zune with a lengthy reviewer’s agreement. This all while only giving review units to select few in the tech review industry prior to release.

From Dvorak, who was at his cranky best:

In fact, to get any attention for the Zune, Microsoft should be maniacally seeding review units to anyone with a pulse, including bloggers. But no. This is yet another indicator that Zune will fail miserably—a clear marker. It will be a matter of time before this legal-driven creeping negative marketing impact will strangle the entire company.

And it gets worse for Zune fanboys.

NBC’s Today show has been caught red-handed with a misleading Zune review, comparing the device (while playing a full-color video) to a fourth-generation Apple iPod that had a black-and-white screen. Of course, the new iPod has full-color video … can’t you borrow one from the cameraman or intern to show on TV?

The show failed to mention that Microsoft is a partner in NBC’s cable news network, MSNBC, a common disclosure for the network.

Also, the reporter mentioned that the Zune is likely to sell 2 million units this year, but failed to mention that the iPod (67 million already sold) will sell 10 times that amount IN JUST THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. Thanks to Fix Your Thinking blog for that very-misleading stat catch.

This all is very bad for the Zune effort. Not to mention that Engadget had a heck of a time installing the software for the Zune on their PC.

That’s almost the kiss of death, Microsoft. Better come up with something positive, quick! This video sharing announcement is a nice step, though.
Column from PC Magazine: Zune Swoon; Fix Your Thinking: Today show Zune review


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