Laughing at the Zune

Around midnight Pacific time last night, 30GB Zunes began restarting and locking up at their boot screens. Reports have swamped official forums and fan sites, and Microsoft has yet to officially comment on the reason for this pre-New-Year’s Zune apocalypse.

I guess all part of the coming Zuneday apocalypse that all the Zunesayers have been predicting.  As someone who has owned multiple mp3 players all the way back to a Rio MP3 CD player before there were any solid state or hard drive mp3 devices up to a couple of iPods I find this kind of funny.  Instead of the Y2K bug it is YZK. Welcome to the social, oops never mind.  Good to see that the blue screen of death has a Zune equivalent.

Though there is the Simpson’s bully saying “Ha, Ha” over the misfortune of others that is not right.  iPod owners having a laugh at fellow mp3 owners having their devices go dead on the last day of the year is not exactly charitable.  But people do like their cliques and the Microsoft/Apple divide is just another way we like to divide ourselves.

Actually I would like to see the Zune become an even better player. It has certainly come a long way since it’s first release and the software has improved with more features (except this new “feature”).  In any market you really want to see at least two or more dominant players (pun accidental, but I like it).  When you have such competition it keeps prices down and usually gives us more choices and better products.  The iPod is so dominant and other mp3 players only have a minor market share in comparison.  Though the different iPods have certainly steadily improved and Apple seems to be a company not all that concerned with market forces when it comes to prices.

Plus having different players can continue the pressure that downloadable music be free of DRM. We have come along way in that regard with the Amazon MP3 store being totally DRM free and Rhapsody, Napster, and others having the same thing now.  The iTunes store is only partially DRM free, but that is because music publishers for some reason want to punish iTunes for being succesful and have not made the same deals with them as of yet that they have done with others.  Having device independent music formats is extremely important.  Somebody could be quite happy with iTunes with their iPod now, but who know in five or ten years what will be the best player?

Oh well, for you 30gb Zune owners may they patch this one quick.