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Friday, October 13, 2006

GoogleTube and the Zune

With life back to some semblance of normality, I thought I would try and get a decent informative post in this week, so without further ado..


The big news this week is of course Google’s 1.65 Billion dollar purchase of YouTube. I for one really don’t see what the point of the buyout was, considering YouTube is a copyright law nightmare waiting to happen, and Google’s own video service is alive and kicking-and a lot better in many ways. There has been a lot of debate going on as to what Google intends to do with the service, and YouTube’s users are amongst the most vocally involved, wondering what the effect will be on the ‘casual’ feel of the service. Of course YouTube’s creators must be grinning from ear to ear.. That’s a lot of pocket money.

Dating the Zune

Microsoft have announced a November 14th release date for the Zune, as well as confirmed the $249.99 price point (why can’t we just say $250?) and what goodies will be preloaded. The preloaded content is actually really impressive, including 9 songs, 12 music videos and 3 short films. It’s really nice to see Microsoft making a habit of making their devices usable ‘out the box’ without additional purchases, let’s hope other manufacturers catch on.

I am a bit skeptical of their approach, and am not convinced that really niche features like WiFi will make much of a dent in the iPod market. The device needs to be a competent and stylish media player first, with a really easy to use interface as a close second and decent battery life rounding out the package. Battery hogging features like WiFi may end up being a bad choice, and the enourmous size of the player is not likely to help. It really does appear as if the original Xbox hardware design team members working on the device made the same mistakes they made with the console and produced a big ugly device that simply won’t appeal to casual users. Sadly they didn’t bring along their wisdom when it comes to focusing on the device’s core competence first and focused on what may prove to be add-on gimmicks instead of core functionality.

On the positive side, codec support is reputed to be much better than that of the iPod, which is great, and if integration with Windows Media Player is as tight as I suspect it will be, users already comfortable with that software may be an easy market. The one price monthly service allowing unlimited song downloads for $14.99 a month might also be a big seller, as I think this would certainly sit better than having to pay for individual songs amongst regular downloaders. I am of course also curious to see what sort of integration the Zune will have with the Xbox 360 and Live (which coincidentally is due for some downtime-or is that not such a coincidence?).

I suppose only time will tell how the Zune will stack up against the iPod. With lots of potential PS3 buyers bound to be disappointed by stock shortages even more sever than those of the Xbox 360 last year, Microsoft’s chosen release date is certainly interesting. I am sure they are hoping to cash in on some of those padded wallets, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a 360/Zune bundle released at around the same price point as the PS3.


Lord Spaceman said...

I think Google's plan is rule the web. Notice how they have also invested in MySpace ?

It now has the best search engine, with the most visitors, the best talk program (GoogleTalk), the best email (GMail; with almost 3GB of space), Google Video, Blogger (the best blogging software) and a lot more.

They own the best, free, most used, most talked about websites on the web. They current OWNAGE the web, no denying that!

It won't be long before we get a Google filing system (GNTFS or GFAT 32 anyone ?), Googindows (Google's operating system), Googlefox (Google's webbrowser) and Google toilet paper.

Justin said...

google videos doesn't really have as much "marketshare" as a site like youtube. It's not the technology infrastructure that google is buying - it's the social infrastructure and from that standpoint it is a good investment! :)

Flint said...

The thing is, YouTube isn't even the top video download site-in fact it's a few slots down from the top-and there are quite a few new competitors snapping at it's heels.
I know the logic, they're buying the community, and with it a potentially large chunk of advertising revenue, but I still wonder if it wasn't a bit of a misguided decision. I suppose we'll see.

Justin Paver said...

Misguided? :)

He he...

Lord Spaceman said...

All our bases are belong to Google.

Flint said...

Set us up the Googleplex.


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