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[News] Microsoft Will Try the Pink Gown

Microsoft in the Zune

,----[ Quote ]
| The Zune, which is currently available in white, brown and black,
| will soon sport prettier colors. A baby-pink version will be
| available in May, and another vibrant color will be introduced
| a few weeks later.


Budget drainer that never even tickled the rivals.


Microsoft says Zune executive will leave company

,----[ Quote ]
| Bryan Lee, corporate vice president at Microsoft's entertainment
| and devices division, also played a key role in shaping the Xbox
| game console business and the introduction of its Internet
| Protocol television software.


Software Notebook: Microsoft's cash pile isn't what it used to be

,----[ Quote ]
| But Microsoft has taken a series of steps to reduce its cash
| balance. Specifically, by Microsoft's count, the company has
| paid out nearly $100 billion through dividends and repurchasing
| its own stock in the past five years.


Microsoft fix to keep Zune from skipping a beat

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft is planning to issue a firmware update next month designed
| to fix a glitch that is causing some owners of the Zune music player
| to experience skipping when playing songs purchased from Microsoft's
| online store.
| Microsoft updated the Zune in December to allow both the device and
| the desktop Zune software to work properly with Windows Vista.


Static Problems Causes the Zune to Shutdown

,----[ Quote ]
| A growing number of Zune owners are reporting static problems
| with their Zune. For no visible reason, the Zune will shutdown
| and do a hard reboot (the Zune logo appears on your screen).


Microsoft using early Vista users as guinea pigs?

,----[ Quote ]
| Interesting to read in the International Herald Tribune this week
| about Microsoft hitting a 'crisis of confidence' with its new Vista
| operating system.
| [...]
| Sounds familiar? Your bet - it's almost an exact re-run of the
| security issues that affected Windows XP in its earliest days.
| Microsoft wouldn't be using its Vista users - as it did with XP -
| as guinea pigs, now would it?...


Microsoft (Sort of) Details Zune Flaw

,----[ Quote ]
| Though Microsoft had admitted that its Zune player would be unable
| to share certain songs wirelessly before the device shipped in
| November 2006, this week the software maker provided a few more
| details about this flaw.


Zune Customer Support: Music skips if battery is not charged fully.

,----[ Quote ]
| In my first customer support call, the rep from Microsoft informs me that
| if the Zune does not have a "full charge" on the battery, then the data
| may skip.


Zune screens cracking from battery pressure?

,----[ Quote ]
| Our tipster's friend conjectures that the lithium ion battery --
| which resides right behind the top half of the Zune's screen --
| is expanding from overheating and putting too much pressure on
| the screen, causing it to crack. Unfortunately, Microsoft
| currently regards the issue as outside warranty coverage,
| leaving the victims with a broken Zune and nowhere to turn.


Zune misses top-10 list of holiday devices sold

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft Corp.'s Zune player was not among the top-10 list of
| digital audio devices sold over the winter holidays in the U.S.,
| with Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod remaining champion of that market,
| according to research analyst firm Current Analysis Inc.


Universal and Sony prohibit Zune sharing for certain artists

,----[ Quote ]
| It's official: record companies don't like you. After all that griping
| about signing up for the Zune music store -- and keep in mind that
| these record companies receive monies for selling songs here -- that
| resulted in Universal Music Group getting some sort of fat royalty
| check from Microsoft for Zune sales, not to mention whatever
| negotiations went on behind closed doors to come up with that
| ridiculously minimal "three days or three plays" sharing scheme, a
| couple of labels have once again gone out of their way to make
| life hard on you.


A Legitimate Reason to Hate the Zune (And Microsoft Too)

,----[ Quote ]
| Here's the situation: Microsoft has agreed to pay a portion of
| the profits from the sales of the Zune to a record company
| (Universal) because the Zune will undoubtedly be used to 
| store unpurchased songs.
| [...]
| Here it is important to remember a few simple things. The
| money goes to the Universal, not to the artists. 
| [...]
| Microsoft's move sets a bad precedent and turns all consumers into
| thieves without evidence.


Universal to seek money for each iPod sold

,----[ Quote ]
| "It would be a nice idea. We have a negotiation coming up not too
| far. I don't see why we wouldn't do that... but maybe not in the
| same way," Morris said. His "same way" comment is a reference tot
| he Zune, which Universal already gets $1 from after signing a deal
| with Microsoft.


Jobs: Apple Not Worried About Zune

,----[ Quote ]
| In a question-and-answer session with Newsweek, Apple CEO Steve
| Jobs slammed Microsoft's Zune music player, saying he was not
| impressed with the Redmond company's entrant. Jobs said the music
| sharing abilities of the player were too complicated and slow.


Microsoft might be too little, too late

,----[ Quote ]
| Apple, though, learned from its mistakes and made the iPod work
| with Microsoft Windows-based PCs -- a move that arguably spurred iPod
| sales and created a situation in which Apple's iPod now claims about
| 75 percent of the U.S. market for digital-media players. More
| importantly, this has led to a perception among consumers that if you
| don't own an iPod, you're using something that's second best.
| It's that environment and perception issue that will prove to be the
| biggest hurdles for Microsoft to overcome, if it wants to make any
| impression among consumers who are in the market for portable music-
| and video-playing gadgets.


10 Ways Microsoft Can Salvage their iPod Killer

,----[ Quote ]
| Dear Microsoft:
| I can't help but noticing that this latest iPod killer situation is
| unfolding along the same lines as Origami. It's not too late to call the
| whole thing a 'market research experiment,' or to rebrand all your
| products under a new name to distract attention away from this
| boondoggle: Active-, Direct-, -.net, -Live!... how about -Kaboom! ?


Zune: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

,----[ Quote ]
| The fact is, this meager offering here is not an iPod killer. Nothing
| Redmond can produce in this product line will make much of a dent in
| Apple's lead. This shareholder only hopes Microsoft can avoid
| embarrassing itself too much.


Microsoft's Zune Won't Play Protected Windows Media

,----[ Quote ]
| In yesterday's announcement of the new Zune media player and Zune
| Marketplace, Microsoft (and many press reports) glossed over a
| remarkable misfeature that should demonstrate once and for all how DRM
| and the DMCA harm legitimate customers.
| Microsoft's Zune will not play protected Windows Media Audio and Video
| purchased or "rented" from Napster 2.0, Rhapsody, Yahoo! Unlimited,
| Movielink, Cinemanow, or any other online media service. That's right --
| the media that Microsoft promised would Play For Sure doesn't even play
| on Microsoft's own device. Buried in footnote 4 of its press release,
| Microsoft clearly states that "Zune software can import audio files in
| unprotected WMA, MP3, AAC; photos in JPEG; and videos in WMV, MPEG-4,
| H.264" -- protected WMA and WMV (not to mention iTunes DRMed AAC) are
| conspicuously absent.
| This is a stark example of DRM under the DMCA giving customers a raw
| deal. Buying DRMed media means you're locked into the limited array of
| devices that vendors say you can use. You have to rebuy your preexisting
| DRMed media collection if you want to use it on the Zune. And you'll have
| to do that over and over again whenever a new, incompatible device with
| innovative features blows existing players out of the water. Access to
| MP3s and non-DRMed formats creates the only bridge between these isolated
| islands of limited devices. 


Muted welcome for Microsoft Zune

,----[ Quote ]
| As part of the Zune launch Microsoft flew some influential music bloggers
| to Seattle for a preview of the player and the service.


New Zune Software Eerily Similar to Democracy Player...

 ,----[ Quote ]
| Take a look at the new Zune player software. Notice anything strange?
| It's the fact that the interface is a blatant ripoff of the open
| source Democracy player. Microsoft once again has to take other
| companies ideas and turn them into their own. Almost the same basic
| scenario of Mircosoft ripping off the iPod with Zune.


Could Zune face patent trouble right out of the box?

,----[ Quote ]
| I've speculated that Zune's music sharing features could see a rocky
| road legally, or be so restricted as to make sharing irrelevant as a
| selling point for the fledgling device. It's really tough to put out a
| product these days without stepping on someone's patent, and Zune is
| no exception to that rule of 21st century business.


,----[ Quote ]
| "It's not going to happen with the Zune, it's going to be a closed
| architecture. You'll not be able to load tracks directly form online.
| You might be able to -- stream them from another device, but then who
| cares? I think it's going to be an utter disaster and failure."


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