Wired is whistling a dirge for Microsoft's upcoming PMP:
But its grand plan to play musical Switzerland to a host of third-party vendors, as it has done in the PC market, has proven as popular as Swiss music. (Cue accordions and alpenhorns.) No slight to the Swiss; I'm a big fan of the music-subscription idea. But the companies that use it, like Rhapsody, Napster and iRiver, have so far failed to dent Apple's lead. The system, while great in theory, is unwieldy in practice. Microsoft has to roll out changes to each and every partner, rather than implementing them itself, the way Apple does. One manufacturer told me it had to delay the launch of a player because it was waiting for Microsoft to send out the USB-2.0 spec. And the situation appears to be similar when it comes to digital rights management. Updates to Microsoft's complicated DRM schemes can cause serious compatibility problems, because the chain between Microsoft and supported MP3 hardware is so long. Changes to its online music stores can cause files not to transfer to "PlaysForSure" MP3 players, and so on.-- Microsoft IPod 'Killer' Is Doomed
It goes on to say that while the additional features are nice, they're not likely to detract people from the iPod brand. I'm inclined to agree. Zune, actually, reminds me of Origami. For weeks people talked about how Microsoft would be rolling out a PC-level portable gaming machine which would knock the socks off the DS and PSP. Instead, we get a rehashed Tablet PC with a flip-phone sensibility. I think Wired's being a little too gloomy here, perhaps, because they're ignoring the role the 360 might play in the device's popularity. I don't see Microsoft taking the next Walkman crown, though.
tagged: zune, apple