01.01.09

Farewell, Zune?

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 12:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Try again next year

Back in September, Microsoft was advised to take Zune out of its suffering and misery by axing it.

The Zune is another matter. Apple’s lead is too large. The Zune is not a product which is terribly different from its competition.

Microsoft can simply say it does not want to take a bath on the Zune while it is taking a more intelligent risk with Xbox profitability.

Kill the Zune. Save some money.

Steve Ballmer calls “Zune” a funny product because the company has not figured out how to actually make money out of it. Like many other products, it only helps Microsoft bleed cash and generate press releases.

Also related to this:

  1. Zune Guy calls Microsoft ‘liars,’ says Zune situation is ‘f***ing bulls**t’
  2. Zune Guy Rant Against Microsoft and Zune no Longer Available
  3. Zune absent from Microsoft exec’s speech
  4. The beginning of the end for the Microsoft Zune
  5. Zuneral this Saturday!
  6. GameStop to Stop Zune Sales
  7. From Vista to Zune: Why Microsoft Can’t Sell to Consumers
  8. Zune Sales Still In the Toilet
  9. Microsoft May Build a Copyright Cop Into Every Zune
  10. Microsoft says Zune executive will leave company [article removed]
  11. Dancing Ballmer subjected to Zune dance therapy
  12. A Legitimate Reason to Hate the Zune (And Microsoft Too)

Is the following news the public relations disaster that’s the last nail on the Zune’s coffin?

Right, so this is a weird one: we’re getting tons of reports—tons—about failing Zune 30s. Apparently, the players began freezing at about midnight last night, becoming totally unresponsive and practically useless.

The crisis has been dubbed by Zune users ‘Y2K9′, due to the apparently synchronized faceplantings across the country. According to tipster Michael, the Zune users experienced something like this:

Other models of the Zune suffer from this error as well and detailed reports, of which there are plenty, suggest that the ‘fix’ is that there is no fix, just an excuse (explanation, apology).

Microsoft’s responded to the Zune 30GB failure, blaming a leap-year handling bug. And they’ve provided a fix. Which is to wait til New Years, when the bug will go away by itself. Huh.

Some products speak for themselves by performing and earning a reputation. As Service Pack 1 of Vista and Windows Home Server prove, not even enormous marketing budgets (exceeding a billion dollars per annum) can turn a dud into a winner.

Smashed Zune
Tom Davis took this photo of a Zune which was smashed in anger

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21 Comments

  1. coffee said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Gravatar

    tough break indeed… first the X-box meltdown and now the Zune. I think most people aren’t all that surprised anyway

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Gravatar

    Video testimonies:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=iWDxa-GNWrs
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=2NGI08hU2wY
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=J7Wr2aUJOnI
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=feAuIhbFNTs

  3. Diamond Wakizashi said,

    January 1, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Gravatar

    “Like many other products, it only helps Microsoft bleed cash and generate press releases”

    We should hope Microsoft continues to make Zunes so they will go into debt faster.

  4. G. Michaels said,

    January 1, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Gravatar

    I don’t think it was even their fault, although of course perception is firmly against them. When Ford recalls lots of vehicles because of a faulty seatbelt lock it doesn’t really matter if that came from a supplier, Ford still takes the hit.

    Of course I wouldn’t expect you to include that in your blog article. You’re not interested in informing people, just criticizing.

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  5. David Gerard said,

    January 2, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Gravatar

    Oh dear Lord. What’s the copyright on that photo? I want to use it on the Notnews I just wrote. Tom Davis, could I please have permission to use it? See http://notnews.today.com/ .

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 2, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Gravatar

    Oh dear.

    http://notnews.today.com/2008/12/25/merry-thursday-and-a-happy-new-thursday/

  7. David Gerard said,

    January 2, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Gravatar

    You haven’t read in that long? I thought you’d enjoy the January 1st one :-)

    Mind you, I needed my week off.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 2, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Gravatar

    We all do. The question is, what do we actually do on that week ‘off’?

  9. David Gerard said,

    January 2, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Gravatar

    I tried compiling Wine on Windows. This is actually a project with a point to it! Even if it’s presently impossible. Newer Windows don’t run older Windows apps, to the point where Wine is already a better Windows than Vista.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 2, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, see:

    Linux has better Windows compatibility than Vista
    http://wine-review.blogspot.com/2008/02/linux-has-better-windows-compatibility.html

  11. David Gerard said,

    January 2, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Gravatar

    “Wine is a better Windows than Vista” is a useful phrase to repeat wherever suitable. Because it’s true.

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 2, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Gravatar

    I’ll add it to my quotes file, under your name.

  13. ml2mst said,

    January 2, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Gravatar

    Here is the reason for the Zune crash (starting at line 259):

    http://pastie.org/349916

    [quote]
    while (days > 365)
    {
    if (IsLeapYear(year))
    {
    if (days > 366)
    {
    days -= 366;
    year += 1;
    }
    }
    else
    {
    days -= 365;
    year += 1;
    }
    }
    [/quote]

    Great piece of code huh? LOL :-)

  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 2, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Gravatar

    Almost nothing was affected by Y2K, yet Microsoft fails on… 2008.

    Windows Millennium Edition was no star, either.

  15. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 3, 2009 at 4:40 am

    Gravatar

    Yeah, that code is classic. Freescale really messed up, see this link:

    http://www.zuneboards.com/forums/zune-news/38143-cause-zune-30-leapyear-problem-isolated.html

  16. David Gerard said,

    January 3, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s interesting to see lots of really loud spin that this is NOT MICROSOFT’S FAULT even though they, ah, designed it, purportedly tested it,marketed it and (fsvo) sold it.

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 3, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, I noticed that too. I guess Microsoft can also also blame XBox failures on its contractors in China.

    “Nothing to do with Microsoft…”

    Ignore the logo.

  18. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 3, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Gravatar

    Freescale does appear to have been the author of the code, so they are most directly to blame, however Microsoft’s inspection of the code (they did inspect it I hope) was also faulty.

  19. David Gerard said,

    January 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Gravatar

    Anyone using the reference design or code untested is insane. It’s Microsoft’s fault, not anyone else’s.

  20. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Gravatar

    Why should a date error render a device unusable (brick) for over a day? That implies that Microsoft designed badly on top of it. It made it clock dependent, possibly because of DRM.

  21. AlexH said,

    January 3, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Gravatar

    The code explains why it bricks, it’s very simple.

    David’s point is basically right, although it’s not the first time anyone has been caught out like this by any means.

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