What does the iPod have going for it? It is ubiquitous. It was out before the Zune and, frankly, more people own an iPod than own a Zune. What does the Zune have going for it? EVERYTHING else. 🙂
This is a post that I take a little evil delight in writing. I have friends who own iPods. Quite a few of them. I also have friends that own Zunes. The friends that own iPods are a little uppity about it. I've heard questions like, "Why'd you buy a Zune, dude?" When asked of me, that's a pretty obvious answer -- I work for Microsoft. For some of my friends, it was to support me and my affiliation with MS. For most, it was simply that the Zune was a better fit for their needs (or because I make it sound really good when I talk about it). The reason I bring it up is because the Zune was already, in my opinion, light years ahead of the iPod in certain areas -- and now, it's just gone farther. The Zune Pass is my favorite feature of the Zune. It is the subscription service that you can purchase for $14.99 a month. Essentially, you can download any music in the Zune Marketplace. You can download that music on up to three PCs and two Zunes, which means a whole family can easily share a subscription (or two, depending on the size of the family). As long as you continue to pay the subscription fee, you can continue to enjoy all the music you've downloaded. This lets me discover a lot of new music that I may not otherwise listen to. But, the Zune got better. First, there was the introduction of the new wireless feature, letting you download music directly from the cloud to your Zune at any wireless hot spot. Nice! But, it got even better this week. Microsoft has introduced a new feature with the Zune Pass. Simply, you get to keep 10 of your downloads forever and ever. Yes. You did read that right. Every month you have the Zune Pass, you get 10 free song credits to use as you see fit. That means that you can add 10 new songs (that you already know you like because you downloaded them via the subscription) to your permanent music collection. If you do the iTunes math here, at $.99 per song, that means you are getting $9.90 worth of music free every month. Assuming you would spend that anyway, it knocks the overall cost of the subscription down to $5.09 per month.
It reminds me of the old Domino's Pizza commercial. The deal was unlimited pizzas (I think) for $5 after the first was regular price. One of them showed a guy asking the girl to clarify the pricing structure:
Guy: "So... a medium pan with sausage, a medium with pepperoni, your phone number, and a medium with pineapple."
Domino's girl: "Regular price, 5 bucks, not for a million bucks, 5 bucks."
In the Zune commercial, it'd be:
Guy: "So... access to download millions of songs and keep 10 of my favorites. Net result?"
Zune: "$14.99. Nothing extra. 5 bucks."
iPod: "Wait. You want to do what now?"
Hear that? That's the sound of Zune owners everywhere cheering. 🙂