Thurrott Thinks the Old Brown Zune 30 is Suddenly Great.


Paul Thurrott believes shoppers think the year-old Zune 30 (you know, the huge, brown, Boat Anchor one) is suddenly a great MP3 player.

Paul uses an article by Macworld as an excuse to drool all over the “success” of the closeout brown Boat Anchor 30 (BA30) Zune being #1 on Amazon’s MP3 player list (it’s given away for $172). The black BA30 is also cheap, but even with a better color the extra $25 is too much, so it’s at #10 — behind five iPods.

Does Paul reasonably conclude this is nothing more than people getting pulled in by the blowout pricing, will only last until old inventory is gone, and therefore can’t be deemed a “success” by anyone thinking clearly? Nope. This is Paul, a shill among shills, so instead he treats us to gems like this:

“So, yeah, I get it: 7 of the top 10 MP3 players on Amazon are iPods. But two of them are Zunes. (The other is a SanDisk player.)”

It’s disingenuous to say “two of them are Zunes”. Let’s characterize them properly as “two of them are first-generation BA30 Zunes at blowout prices”, OK? With that fact in mind, there are two very obvious conclusions to be made:

  • Blowing out the old BA30s was bound to find buyers sucked in by price. Big deal. Microsoft was losing money at $250, and losing even more now, but it’s better than sending them to the land fill.
  • The new Zunes (i.e., version 2) are a bust; they’re nowhere to be found on the Top 10 list.

Yep, the most obvious thing is that the new Zunes are failing. Instead, Paul concludes that shoppers — who avoided the BA30 for an entire year — have suddenly decided it’s great. I guess that’s the best way Microsoft could spin it, and Paul had to go along for the ride.

In order to try saving a little face, Paul writes:

“The real story here, of course, isn’t that Apple is still doing great… It’s that those two Zune players in the top 10 on Amazon aren’t even the new ones. They’re both Zune 30 models that have been discounted since last year. Yikes.”

I guess “Yikes” is supposed to imply Apple should somehow be concerned that the old BA Zune is selling. But since it’s only at blowout prices, and new Zunes are nowhere to be found, that’s laughable! Again, Paul implies last year’s failed BA30 is suddenly a legitimate product. Not only that, apparently the brown one is everyone’s favorite! Heck, even Microsoft disagrees with Paul on that; they’ve admitted brown is a disaster by discounting it more heavily than black and avoiding it in the new model lineup.

Moving on, Paul let’s a little truth slip in:

“So how are the new Zunes fairing on Amazon? Not too well”

In other words, see the second obvious assumption above.

“..the highest-ranked Zune 4/8 model is number 69 from what I can tell. That doesn’t seem right, but that’s what it says.”

Nice strategy: When all else fails, feign ignorance.

The new Zunes are duds so far. Period. Microsoft should be thrilled that during major holiday shopping they cracked the Top One Hundred. That’s all the BA30 ever did last year. No matter what Paul implies, perceptive people will conclude that being behind Apple this year is fairing Microsoft no better than being behind Apple last year.

Sometimes I feel sorry for Paul. Apparently he can’t go back to Microsoft for better material to work with, and he’ll be tagged as pretty foolish for the Zune crap he’s spewing now. Oh well, he must have known the shill job could be embarrassing when he took it.

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