Microsoft's (MSFT) Zune was launched in November 2006. The world's largest software company believed that it could compete with the Apple (AAPL) iPod, which had been in the market since 2001 and dominated the multimedia player and music download business around the world. Apple had sold well over 100 million iPods, when the Zune was launched. Microsoft was able to get the four largest music labels to sign licensing agreements with the company. Sales were dreadful during the first several months after the launch. Bloomberg Television said that between the launch date and mid-2007 only 1.2 million Zune players were sold. In May 2008, Microsoft said that it had sold two million players since its launch. The Wall Street Journal reported that revenue from the Zune player was $85 million during the 2008 holiday season compared to $185 million in the same period in 2007. Apple's iPod revenue during the last quarter of 2008 was $3.37 billion. Microsoft, which had access to as much hardware development expertise as any company in the world and the capital to support a massive marketing budget for new products failed completely in its attempt to get a large part of the iPod market.
Douglas A. McIntyre