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Zune could kill Microsoft partners, not iPod

With friends like Microsoft...

That's just one of the themes emerging around the bustling virtual water cooler after the software giant on Friday confirmed the long rumored development of an iPod/iTunes rival, which the company has named "Zune."


Up until now, Microsoft's strategy in battling Apple Computer on the music player and downloadable music front has been to partner with an array of third-party device makers and music services.

Now, however, with its Zune family of music hardware and software products--the first of which are planned for release by the end of the year--partners will become competitors, bloggers have pointed out.

Blogger "Mickeleh" saw some irony in the name Zune; In Hebrew, if you pronounce the "u" like in the word "tribune," it translates into a vulgarity beginning with "f" that means screwed, "which apparently all the vendors who followed Microsoft down the 'plays for sure' road seem to be," he wrote.

Blog community response:

"...the real and perhaps the only story in the news is that Microsoft's partners--from device makers to music services--just got double crossed by the company they choose to believe in. I like to call it Zun-ked (a tiny take off on Punked.) Let me break this down: Zune--the devices, the platform, and the store/service--will compete with everyone from Apple (of course) to Creative Technologies, iRiver, Samsung, Archos, Rhapsody, Napster, Yahoo Music and anyone dumb enough to buy into Microsoft's visions of Urge, Media Player, PlayForSure etc."

"Early market share, however, isn't likely to come from disgruntled iPod users looking to switch. The real losers in the short term are likely to be the likes of Creative, iRiver and other former partners that have failed to deliver to market share from Apple and will now find themselves not only competing with Apple but with their former partners from Redmond."
--Michael Gartenberg on Jupiter Reasearch Analyst Weblog

"This is exciting, because it's new. But is it really a threat to Apple? Anything Microsoft does is a threat, but with Apple's large market share and almost cult-like following ... this is more likely to hurt second-tier companies like Creative Labs, at least at first."