John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Thanks, Stevie — But What Am I Going to Do With 1 Million Zunes? I Hope You Saved the Receipt …

My 85-year-old uncle probably will never own an iPod, and I hope we’ll get him to own a Zune.”

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, USA Today, 2007.04.29

503637222_9b5f32feb4_m.jpgNo one believes Microsoft’s Zune media player will displace the iPod anytime soon, if ever. Except, perhaps, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division, who is not only paid to believe that, but to make it happen as well. Of course, these things do take time, as Bach can certainly attest. “We’re still about nine months into having Zune in the marketplace,” Bach told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re very pleased with the progress. We’ve sold a little over a million Zunes. In the category we’re in, the hard-disk-based category, we’ve got about 10% market share. It’s a good start. It’s not an overwhelming start. I’m not going to pretend it’s some gigantic move. … There will be new things down the path (in the fall). We just came out with a special edition pink Zune and a watermelon-colored Zune, which are the personal favorites with my kids.”

I guess the “National Park-bench brown” Zune was a nonstarter in the Bach household. Anyway … Selling 1 million of any product in nine months is certainly an accomplishment–especially when that product competes with a market leader like the iPod. That said, with Apple recently celebrating the sale of its 100 millionth iPod, Bach’s got his work cut out for him.

UPDATE: Looks like Microsoft may not have yet hit that 1-million-Zunes-sold mark. Business 2.0 points out that Bach didn’t really say Microsoft had already sold a million Zunes. “If you listen to the interview,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes, “what Bach said was:

When we finish our fiscal year in June we’ll have sold a little over a million Zunes, so we feel very good about that.” [emphasis added]

“That’s what we used to call an editing error,” Elmer-DeWitt continues, “one that mistakes a projection with actual sales and expands the time frame by about 15%. Microsoft still has more than a month to sell its first million Zunes, which would put it on the schedule it set for itself, not ahead.”