The net is abuzz with news of Microsoft's supposed iPod killer, the Zune. Microsoft made a really good move by putting their xbox team on the Zune project, as they delivered a great product with the 360. But Zune will be different, more difficult and here's why:
Taking on Sony and the Playstation was no small feat. Playstation was deeply rooted in the mainstream gamers mind as the console of choice. The Playstation 2 sales reinforced this point. However, the Playstation 2 was not a superior product to the Xbox, it just had more games.
I'm not a fan of Sony's and have been unimpressed by most of their products. So it was no surprise that come time for Playstation 3, the competition had caught up in a big way. With a complete product gone through it's lifecycle, the Xbox team were now seasoned veterans, and were perhaps the most innovative branch within Microsoft.
The 360 is a great product, from the looks, to the UI, and now, many games seem to be coming it's way. It seems that Sony is out of the running for this generation, with it's elitist pricing, and repetitive technical failures on the Playstation 3.
So now Microsoft wants to take on the cultural icon known as the iPod. They have beaten Apple before, but Apple has never had a product with the mainstream popularity of the iPod. Apple has been the innovators, and have yet to release any details on their next generation of iPods.
My guess is this next generation iPod will continue to innovate, and be even cooler in the mindset of the general public. Apple has had a few generations of iPod's, and will win this round. If you take a look at the first generation, and then turn your eye to the nano, you can see why they are so popular (aside from the millions poured into flashy marketing).
What Apple also has is iTunes. DRM issues aside, it still ranks as the premier online music store. Microsoft has Urge, which as I reviewed before, is an incredibly subpar product.
I'm happy to see some competition from Microsoft, as they may very well release an excellent product. iLounge has a review of the interface and features which leads me to believe it will be very difficult for them to defeat the innovators.