Microsoft’s Zune on Sale Today

November 14, 2006


Microsoft’s Zune player hits stores across the U.S. today. It will sell for $249.99, the same price as an iPod with comparable storage space, and will compete with new video iPods released in September.

Zune is Microsoft’s first attempt to thrust itself into the $4 billion U.S. digital music device market controlled by Apple’s iPod. The world’s largest software company marked the release with free concerts by artists including rapper T.I. and rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers that were aimed at solidifying Zune‘s credentials among music fans.

Microsoft is also trying to promote Zune as a social experience, adding an FM radio and the ability to beam songs from one device to another.

But even with music sharing features, Microsoft may struggle to win sales. Apple has sold more than 67.6 million iPods since 2001, with 39.4 million players shipped in the past year alone.

To match Apple’s song selection, Microsoft had to offer Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group a cut of Zune sales, an offer it has now extended to other providers of tracks for Zune.


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