The sad part of the Zune’s failure is the fact that it was a really cool product, which Bach noted a decade ago when he discussed the player’s inability to thrive. Sure, the Zune was larger than the iPod, but despite being less portable, it allowed for a larger screen—screen size was often one of the reasons fans of the now-defunct device really liked it. In addition, the Zune’s biggest innovation over the iPod was that songs and photos could be shared over Wi-Fi, which is why Microsoft focused on the wireless aspect of its player as part of its marketing efforts.
There was much to appreciate about the Zune, but as Bach touched on in his remarks years ago, there was ultimately little reason for consumers to buy into the unfamiliar budding ecosystem that Apple had already established in the industry and pop culture. He had established himself in both. Marketing can’t be blamed entirely for this, though, as Bach pointed out, the industry itself wasn’t ready — at the time — to entertain a new contender. Also, one of the areas that has legitimately pushed the Zune forward was its wireless sharing feature, but unfortunately, it wasn’t very useful due to heavy-handed DRM restrictions outside Microsoft’s control. Without something like unrestricted wireless sharing to give consumers a true reason to pay attention, the Zune eventually left the market without gaining an audience of its own.
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