Well, the Microsoft Zune launched yesterday, and unfortunately I’m not as enthusiastic as I used to be. There was so much potential that I think MS squandered away…at least on version 1.0.
You see, MS abandoned the one main thing that gave it an advantage over Apple, it’s not using its own PlaysForSure DRM scheme. The Zune is using it’s own DRM. So music from the Zune store can only play on the Zune player. Also, none of the PlaysForSure partners tracks will play on the Zune. Microsoft has become Apple. [sigh].
I know WHY they did it, they followed the successful model of the iPod. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. Basically, by having the one store, one player approach, they can make the ease of use the main feature. The two just work together seamlessly. They are betting (like Apple proved) that if you make it easy and sexy enough, you will win normal users. You just won’t win over people like me.
I like choice. I like the ability to choose different vendors to buy from (for both the hardware and the music) and I like to be able to play my legally purchased (or rented) music anywhere I want. Both Apple and MS limit this, and because of it, I have stopped buying music with restrictive DRM. I happily subscribe to Yahoo Music Unlimited instead.
All of this said, I AM glad that MS got into the market. Hopefully it will force some more innovation on Apple’s part and cause some price wars. We can only win in the end. Until then I’ll stick with my Creative Zen Vision!