Zune Sales, Paul Thurrott, and THUD

So Paul Thurrott retracts his previous post about Microsoft selling one million Zunes. But he does so in a manner that makes it appear to be no big deal.

Paul specifically said in his original post that it was “not too shabby”. Further, it was a big enough deal for him to post it in the first place (and on a holiday, no less). Now that he has to retract it, well, hey, it’s only a month away (if it happens), so it’s apparently still some sort of accomplishment. Um, no.

Of course, Paul doesn’t end there, he needs to try to say something that still makes Microsoft’s Zune sales actually look good, if not impressive:

“BTW: Apple only sold about 500,000 iPods in its first six months. Granted, it’s a different era now. But there’s this notion that the iPod has always sold well, and that wasn’t the case at all in its first year or so on the market.”

First, I believe it was half a million in more like 12 months. Second, even so this is some classic Paul Thurrott THUD!

It’s awfully big of him to mention “it’s a different era now”. What an understatement! When the iPod hit the scene in October of 2001, the market for MP3 players barely existed. But Apple had designed a player true to what portable digital portable music players could be, rather than simply designing a player that looked like a portable CD player. Apple built the MP3 player market almost single-handedly. By the time Microsoft joined the party, it was mature and Apple alone was selling eight million iPods a quarter.

Further, Paul conveniently neglects to mention that the iPod was originally Mac only. It remained this way for about nine months! That’s a considerably smaller target audience, isn’t it? And, of course, the initial price was $399. Most analysts felt it would fail on price alone.

To sum this up for Paul, since he doesn’t get it: Apple selling half a million of the original iPod in twelve months, in a new market, at that price, to mostly Mac users, is far, far more impressive than Microsoft possibly selling one million Zunes in 7.5 months, in a mature market, at a price that’s still current, to Windows users.

In fact, after putting it that way it’s clear that Zune sales are even less impressive than my first post on the subject gave them credit for (which wasn’t much).