November 9, 2006
@ 11:18 PM
A few days ago there was an article on the BBC News site entitled Zune problems for MSN customers which stated

But in a move that could alienate some customers, MSN-bought tracks will not be compatible with the new gadget. The move could also spell problems for the makers of MP3 players which are built to work with the MSN store.
...
The problem has arisen because tracks from the MSN Music site are compatible with the specifications of the Plays For Sure initiative. This was intended to re-assure consumers as it guaranteed that music bought from services backing it would work with players that supported it. MSN Music, Napster, AOL Music Now and Urge all backed Plays For Sure as did many players from hardware makers such as Archos, Creative, Dell and Iriver.

In a statement a Microsoft spokesperson said: "Since Zune is a separate offering that is not part of the Plays For Sure ecosystem, Zune content is not supported on Plays For Sure devices." The spokesperson continued: "We will not be performing compatibility testing for non-Zune devices, and we will not make changes to our software to ensure compatibility with non-Zune devices."
...
Microsoft said that its Windows Media Player will recognise Zune content which might make it possible to put the content on a Plays For Sure device. However, it said it would not provide customer support to anyone attempting this.

On a similar note there was an article entitled Trying Out the Zune: IPod It’s Not in the New York Times today which states

Microsoft went with its trusted Windows strategy: If you code it, the hardware makers will come (and pay licensing fees). And sure enough, companies like Dell, Samsung and Creative made the players; companies like Yahoo, Rhapsody, Napster and MTV built the music stores.

But PlaysForSure bombed. All of them put together stole only market-share crumbs from Apple. The interaction among player, software and store was balky and complex — something of a drawback when the system is called PlaysForSure.“Yahoo might change the address of its D.R.M. server, and we can’t control that,” said Scott Erickson, a Zune product manager. (Never mind what a D.R.M. server is; the point is that Microsoft blames its partners for the technical glitches.) Is Microsoft admitting, then, that PlaysForSure was a dud? All Mr. Erickson will say is, “PlaysForSure works for some people, but it’s not as easy as the Zune.”

So now Microsoft is starting over. Never mind all the poor slobs who bought big PlaysForSure music collections. Never mind the PlaysForSure companies who now find themselves competing with their former leader. Their reward for buying into Microsoft’s original vision? A great big “So long, suckas!” It was bad enough when there were two incompatible copy-protection standards: iTunes and PlaysForSure. Now there will be three.

(Although Microsoft is shutting its own PlaysForSure music store next week, it insists that the PlaysForSure program itself will live on.)

Microsoft’s proprietary closed system abandons one potential audience: those who would have chosen an iPod competitor just to show their resentment for Apple’s proprietary closed system. To make matters worse, you can’t use Windows Media Player to load the Zune with music; you have to install a similar but less powerful Windows program just for the Zune. It’s a ridiculous duplication of effort by Microsoft, and a double learning curve for you.

So how is the Zune? It had better be pretty incredible to justify all of this hassle.

As it turns out, the player is excellent.

On days like this, I miss having Robert Scoble roaming the halls in the B0rg cube. It sucks when you let the press tell your story for you.


 

Friday, November 10, 2006 12:10:29 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
The BBC link is wrong - you want http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6120272.stm
Friday, November 10, 2006 12:12:02 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
No evangelist in the world can make an incredibly short-sighted and stupid decision seem like a good one.

The day Microsoft confirmed that Zune was killing PlaysForSure is the day I converted all my WMA Lossless files to FLAC, decided I'd be able to live without a music subscription, and swore off DRM forever.
Friday, November 10, 2006 12:38:09 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
You missed another negative Zune story:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/09/technology/09music.html

I think even Scoble would have a hard time spinning all of this.
Friday, November 10, 2006 12:41:10 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
>The BBC link is wrong - you want http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6120272.stm

I've updated the link. Thanks.
Friday, November 10, 2006 3:12:09 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
These articles reflect my opinion exactly. I have a PlaysForSure Creative MuVo Slim that I'm happy with at the moment. When it fails the only chance MS has of getting me to buy a Zune after being burned by their lack of continued support for PlaysForSure is if they have a significant lead in the market and right now that just doesn't seem possible given Apples continuing success.
Friday, November 10, 2006 5:23:49 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Not working with PlayForSure isn't that big a deal for me (assuming you're price competative). Not using WMP 11 is. I refuse to load up another media player software package. This is rediculous. If you can get URGE to integrate so nicely, why not this other system? I know it's hard, but take the effort to make some people's lives easier.
Orion Adrian
Friday, November 10, 2006 6:26:36 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
"It sucks when you let the press tell your story for you."

So refute the errors and misstatements like you usually do, Dare. Are you defeated on this one for some reason or what?
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