Zune Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and Raves

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All posts tagged "share"

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Microsoft Introduces Surface Computing and a New Way to Share Content

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Hardware" @ 11:10 PM


"Picture a surface that can recognize physical objects from a paintbrush to a cell phone and allows hands-on, direct control of content such as photos, music and maps. Today at the Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer will unveil Microsoft Surface™, the first in a new category of surface computing products from Microsoft that breaks down traditional barriers between people and technology. Surface turns an ordinary tabletop into a vibrant, dynamic surface that provides effortless interaction with all forms of digital content through natural gestures, touch and physical objects. Beginning at the end of this year, consumers will be able to interact with Surface in hotels, retail establishments, restaurants and public entertainment venues. The intuitive user interface works without a traditional mouse or keyboard, allowing people to interact with content and information on their own or collaboratively with their friends and families, just like in the real world. Surface is a 30-inch display in a table-like form factor that small groups can use at the same time. From digital finger painting to a virtual concierge, Surface brings natural interaction to the digital world in a new and exciting way."

Click here for a high-resolution version (544KB).

Okay, I admit to being intrigued by Microsoft Surface. You could dismiss this as just another bit of vapourware being shown off by Microsoft Research, but (and might I add - unsurprisingly, considering Microsoft has dropped hints of touch-based computing over the past few years) it turns out that this product is very real and will be deployed by a number of partners by the end of the year (for example, "customers in T-Mobile retail stores might place different cell phones on Surface's interactive surface where product features, prices and phone plans would appear so they could be easily compared"). As far as Zune Thoughts is concerned, Microsoft Surface could offer new ways for your Zune to interact with itself and other neighbouring Zune devices, as well as help the Zune's ailing Wi-Fi. ;)

Check out the press images and screen grabs above and below, and do stop by the Microsoft Surface web site and Channel 10 to see what all the fuss is about. Direct interaction, multi-touch, multi-user, and object recognition? I'd say the real "wow" starts now.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Zune's 2% (Not 9%) Market Share

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 11:00 AM


"When all the retail sources were polled and the data finely analyzed, Microsoft's fledgeling digital media player garnered a 9 percent unit share of the hard disk drive (HDD) segment -- or just shy of 2 percent of the overall U.S. market -- according to November data from NPD Group. That's a significant correction from an initial sales surge and a more selective data set that awarded Zune a staggering 9 percent share during its first week on the market. In speaking to AppleInsider, NPD analyst Steve Baker said the most recent share data was compiled from a more comprehensive list of retail sources that factored in iPod sales at Apple's own stores, and is therefore more representative of the Microsoft player's overall market share. Figures released by the firm immediately following Zune's launch in mid-November were culled from aggregate sales data coming only from the nation's top electronics dealers, which did not include Apple retail stores."

So it appears that Zune didn't quite do as well as first thought. The initial report of 9% of the market share was quickly corrected to 2%, after factoring in iPod sales at Apple's own stores and resellers. But when you're looking at a first-generation device entering a market that's devoured by the iPod, coupled with the occasional odd bit of marketing, is 2% really that surprising?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Zune Hurt iPod... A Little

Posted by Aaron Roma in "Zune Talk" @ 10:00 AM


"In November of 2005, only Creative existed to challenge Apple’s throne atop the hard drive digital music player market. At that time, the iPod line owned 86% of US sales, with Creative coming in a (very) distant second at 7%. This year, after a generally slow start, the Zune has further eroded the iPod’s dominance. Although Cupertino execs are unlikely to fret just yet, the iPod’s HD share is now 82%, with the Zune and Creative HD coming in at 9% and 4% respectively."

With the introduction of Zune this holiday season, Apple's iPod has at least suffered a little flesh wound. iPod's market dominance of Hard Drive based players has dropped 4% over last year, with Zune replacing Creative as a very distant second. Personally I think next holiday season should be much more telling for the future of the market. By that time Microsoft should have Zune's feature set more rounded out, and hopefully beefed up the product line, and Apple might have a return volley for Zune.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Misleading 9% First Week Market Share

Posted by Michael Boutros in "Zune Talk" @ 09:00 PM

We have all heard of the report by NPD Group that in the Zune's first week, it captured 9% of all sales. However, what most of you have not heard is that the NPD Group does not count any sales from Amazon.com, Walmart, or Apple Stores, says the well-informed Adrian of ZDNet. Walmart is very big in North America, especially during the Christmas season, and Amazon is the internet version of Walmart. This explains how the Zune was doing "so well" but was still very low on the Amazon top sold electronics list. Also, I am willing to bet at least a large chunk of iPod purchases are from Apple Stores, yet the NPD doesn't count them at all. I doubt it's because they don't feel like it, but probably because the stores do not want to give them that information.

So while the Zune did get 9% of portable media players, it is misleading because three extremely large MP3 player retailers were taken out of the picture. If the writers who initially reported the 9% market share knew about the exclusion of these 3 retailers and didn't mention it because they wanted to make the Zune look better, I am honestly disappointed. A good writer shows the positives and negatives of anything.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Hey Mr. DJ, Play that Song Again

Posted by Aaron Roma in "Zune Talk" @ 08:30 AM


"Ever want to share the same song on your Zune again? Here’s How!"

(Photo Courtesy Gizmodo)

Zune's sharing feature currently gives you three plays or three days to listen to shared content. Once a song has been shared with another Zune, you cannot share that same song with the device again. Using the hard-drive access hack, and these five steps from FadeproofOnline, you can wipe all knowledge of shared songs from the Zune, enabling you to share a song for another three plays. The Zune hacks keep rolling in!

Tags: sharing, share, hack

Monday, November 13, 2006

Video Sharing Is a Go

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 09:00 PM


"Microsoft Corp. plans to add a video-sharing feature to its Zune player and will eventually sell a model that combines the device with a phone, Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said. The video function would probably be used to transfer content created by Zune customers, Ballmer said in an interview today from Redmond, Washington. He declined to comment on when Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, would add video sharing or announce a phone model."

We were only just talking about future-proofing a couple of hours ago, and look, Microsoft has already outlined one of its plans. The Zune phone isn't news, though the bit about video sharing is. Ballmer's description makes it sound almost like an offline YouTube, which I have to admit, is pretty interesting, though what Microsoft really needs to focus on first is getting more Zune devices out into the market (and I'm talking on a global scale), so that the mass sharing that it has in mind can turn from concept into reality.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Universal Gets a Cut of Zune Sales

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 11:45 PM


"Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) has agreed to pay Universal Music Group a fee for each new Zune digital music player it sells when the iPod rival launches next week, the companies said on Thursday. The groundbreaking deal could redefine the digital music business pioneered by Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research). Rivals including cell phone makers eventually could pay for hardware sales as well as for the music itself, Universal said. Microsoft is trying to break into an industry closely aligned with archival Apple, which is credited with nearly single-handedly building the legal Web music world with its iPod players and iTunes music store. But Apple does not give a cut of sales of iPods to music companies. It only pays labels for songs sold on its iTunes music store."

At this stage, we're not quite sure how this adds up. None of the pre-loaded content appears to belong to Universal or its sub-groups, and they still get a cut even if the user doesn't load a single Universal track on to the device. So what's going on? Perhaps Microsoft and Universal are getting ready to ink a deal that will put the Zune in a favourable light, and this is just a woo tactic to keep Universal from getting too cozy with Apple. We'll be keeping our eye on this one.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Zune Pays to Share?

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 09:35 PM


"Damn it. Quit yanking my chain. Now it turns out that Microsoft just may reward you for sharing tunes with the Zune media player after all, if a recently leaked whitepaper is to be believed. The document outlines "off-line economies for digital media", describing how you can "sell" content to another Zune owner while still sending the profits to the copyright holder. In exchange, maybe you get some brownie points or something. The paper goes on to talk about immediate purchases on-the-go, Bluetooth sharing, anti-piracy practices, and so forth."

Courtesy of Artghost.com

Well, that's the buzz going around, but I'm not convinced. The whitepaper (PDF) talks about an isolated, tamper-resistant economic ecosystem composed of media players, eager sellers and buyers, and a whole lot of care factor. It has merit, but seems difficult to execute with current-generation Zune devices. Maybe it'll have a place in a few years time, when Microsoft has its digital partners sorted, enhanced hardware, and a more widespread market base. After all, it's a Microsoft Research paper centred highly on theoretical material. Such material often takes a few years to come into effect, if at all. Although, now that I think about it, if it really did come into effect, would I really want every Zune user on the street bugging me to buy their tunes? Probably not. I'll go to a store for that.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Slyck Talks Zune and Creative Commons

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 07:49 AM


"Take a pre-existing license adopted hundreds of thousands of times. Mix creators and activists with DRM (Digital Rights Management.) Throw in a little Microsoft Zune technology and pour it all into a mixing bowl. Stir well and serve to several hundred thousand captive audience members in cups of controversy. It certainly appears that a firestorm has emerged out of Zune's "viral DRM" and the DRM clause in the Creative Commons license. Is this a blatant attack on Creative Commons creators or is all of this nothing more then a cloud of smoke?"

Drew Wilson at Slyck has posted an interesting article that discusses the possibility of Zune violating Creative Commons licenses. While many valid points are raised, most seem unlikely to put Microsoft and users of the Zune product in a spot of trouble. There's a fine line between offering users the freedom to share and protecting one's assets, and Microsoft has hit that line by implementing its 3 days / 3 plays feature. Microsoft can't detect any copyrights attached to media being shared, so a universal DRM wrapper is put in place. Copyrighted content stays protected, while everything else suffers, simply because it's better to stay safe than to feel sorry later.

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