Microsoft's new iPod-busting "Zune" player has attracted more criticism than praise lately: there's no denying that. The new player was launched on Wednesday in the US amidst much fanfare, going on sale for $249.99 at nearly 30,000 shops across the country with a European launch expected next year. The player comes in just one 30GB model but is available in a choice of black, white or brown.
It was designed to be used with its co-branded online "Marketplace" store where songs can be purchased for download, but the biggest problem here is that — thanks to the ever more ubiquitous DRM spy technology — tracks from other stores will not play on the Zune.
It's no big surprise, perhaps, that songs purchased on iTunes won't work on a Microsoft player as the giants continue to battle it out for market domination, but even songs bought from Microsoft's own MSN music store — which is being closed down soon — will not work on a Zune player. Users must buy and download music from the dedicated Zune music store, or rip their own CDs and copy them onto the player.
Where the Zune starts to win out is that it's a wireless device. According to El Reg:
The player comes with a Wi-Fi connection which will allow users to share music with other Zune users. Tracks may be shared with up to three other Zune owners, although shared songs will delete themselves after three days. Unlike the iPod, the Zune also includes an FM radio.
Anyway, Microsoft's other ceremonious launch is that of Windows Vista, the latest version of its flagship
POS. The much-delayed package is being touted by company founder Bill Gates as "the most important new Microsoft release since Windows 95".
So, get this: the Zune is incompatible with Vista.
Yes, that's right. Whilst Microsoft fights to make Vista as cross-compatible with other stuff as it has to in order to avoid various lawsuits, inter-department communication apparently failed when it came to ensuring that the brand new media player would work with the brand new operating system.
Buried in the Zune website, Microsoft admits that the player is not compatible with Vista and gives no information as to when it will introduce a patch or update enabling the player to do so.
Instead, users are asked to "check back soon for updates".