In advance of next Tuesday’s Zune launch, the reviewers have started to weigh in and, at best, they’re damning with faint praise:
Walter Mossberg, Wall Street Journal:
Overall, the iPod and iTunes are still the champs. Still, I expect the Zune to attract some converts and to get better with time. And this kind of competition from a big company with deep pockets and lots of talent is good for consumers in the long run.
David Pogue, New York Times:
Then again, this is all standard Microsoft procedure. Version 1.0 of Microsoft Anything is stripped-down and derivative, but it’s followed by several years of slow but relentless refinement and marketing. Already, Microsoft says that new Zune features, models and accessories are in the pipeline.
For now, though, this game is for watching, not playing. It may be quite a while before brown is the new white.
Stephen H. Wildstrom, Business Week:
Maybe I am underestimating the desire of people, especially those of the MySpace generation, to share music by a more high-tech method than passing earbuds back and forth. If I’m not, Microsoft’s only hope may be to top iTunes’ menu of video offerings before Apple comes out with an enhanced video iPod, which could happen as soon as January. It looks like it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Edward C. Baig, USA Today:
Zune shows promise. But I’d like to see more offerings in the store, and less stringent wireless restrictions. And Microsoft should rethink the silly points system. For now, I’m sticking with iPod.
There’s more by following the links and at the Zune News Site’s Zune Reviews page where I got some of the above.
Update: Speaking of Zune and the press, Dare Obasanjo also recalls the kerfuffle on Monday when the mainstream press led by the BBC finally discovered that the Zune is incompatible with PlaysForSure. I didn’t mention it because I considered it a “d’uh moment,” but Obasanjo wishes that Microsoft still had Robert Scoble or the equivalent to put out the fires in the press. I’m getting the uneasy feeling it may take more than that.