Monday, November 13, 2006
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 01:30 PM
This article by Steven Levy is a bit curious (and, oh man, clean and trim your fingernails before being a hand model). He reports the basics, and does a good job explaining how the Zune works, but his attempts to find minor things to complain about come across as trying too hard. He complains that the Zune comes with bundled music, claiming that no one will buy "a house because it comes with a few sticks of furniture". He thinks that because Microsoft is bundling music they're expecting people to being enticed into buying the Zune, which is just silly. Of course they're not! What they're doing is providing some music so people can enjoy the Zune right away out of the box, and providing exposure to some indy bands that they're working with to help promote the Zune. It's a marketing move, to be sure, but one with zero down-side to the consumer. And if the Zune is about discovering new music, I personally think it's cool to be introduced to some music by bands I haven't heard of before.
Of more serious concern, and rightfully so, are Levy's complaints about the harsh restrictions around sharing. He purchased a Rolling Stones song and tried to send it to another Zune, but it failed because the song had a type of DRM on it that prevents it from being shared at all. He points out that there's no indication of this limitation anywhere on the Zune Marketplace, which I think is a major problem - you can't tout the sharing feature of the Zune without also warning people when they're about to buy music that can't be shared at all. And I think Microsoft is missing a huge opportunity by not allowing indy bands to give away their music to other Zune owners to keep - they could have established something very unique with the Zune sharing, but instead it's kept from its full potential by DRM. I hope that's something they change in the future.