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Robertson: Microsoft ZUN will be the music

Robertson: Microsoft ZUN will be the music

Everyone talks about it, everyone rumors, everyone is raging. Blogs resonate, among whose commentators nestle fanboys of one or the other faction, the enthusiasm of certain press goes wild: the fact is that now the new player on which Microsoft bets a lot, Zune, has been “excommunicated” no less than by Michael Robertson.

In Robertson’s opinion, Zune it will not go beyond 50 thousand units sold : “It will be the flop of 2007, because consumers are not stupid, and do not let themselves be harnessed by the enthusiasm of the press or by blanket advertising campaigns”. Robertson assumes that the music the Zune user will have to pay for will be one rental form due to DRM anti-copy technologies. Because you have no way to recover your musical heritage, should, for example, the hard disk “crash”, or if the device is stolen or if Microsoft suddenly changes its strategy on DRM.

Criticisms that are certainly not surprising, given that they come from Robertson, whose counter-current streak (and, in some cases, hostility towards Microsoft) is the leitmotif of his volcanic career: creator of mp3.com (when everyone still believed that the future standard was Realaudio), creator of Lindows / Linspire and founder of MP3tunes, a DRM-free digital music store and, last but not least, CEO of SIPphone, a VoIP company.

And therefore, just as Apple claims the etymology Pod, Robertson coins the term “Zunare” , almost a Chinese ideogram that encloses a universe in a symbol drawn on rice paper. Zu-nà-re = ​​V.Tr. , ie causing the loss of all its library due to DRM systems, of the interoperability that this new Microsoft gizmo does not guarantee, of the fact that the PlaysForSure standard will be set aside. And to allow the purchase of music only from the store that will form an inseparable combination with Zune.

Robertson analyzes the main reason that induces the press to praise the incoming device, the fact that it is equipped with 802.11g. It is true that Zune will be equipped with connectivity – says Robertson – but it is also true that Zune WiFi will be “imperfect” as it does not allow you to browse the Internet or download music.

It is a failed killer application – claims the creator of mp3.com – because it only allows you to communicate and transfer data between Zune, or at most between Microsoft platforms. And they are data to which specific protection is applied: there are also those who say that the Zune DRM management system would violate the Creative Commons licenses. The data exchanged – Robertson accuses – will be “3 × 3 invitations to purchase”: three days in duration or three plays, before they vaporize (and can only be purchased on the Zune market store). There is no shortage of those who have already sided with Robertson’s anti-Zune party: an article has appeared on Wired in recent days that prophesies the triple reason why Zune will not defeat iPod.

In addition to not being cool enough and in addition to the “DRM lock” that Microsoft seems to be preparing to prepare through a vertical and very integrated value chain – explained Wired – the Zune WiFi will not be able to create social networks.

According to Leander Kahney, columnist of Wired, the file sharing, or rather the “taste of files”, of Zune it will not be a P2P exchange , but rather an exchange between users connected to a local network. It can only take root in existing social networks: colleges, schools, clubs and concerts by artists who want to try to spread their music.

It will not be able to favor plots and warps between social networks, above all because everyone’s archive will be a business card. This will lead the user to thin out their library so as to be able to offer the best image of themselves to those who stand in front of them, equipped with Zune. Given the innate conformism of many people, and given the need (or the inevitability) to entertain social ties between “similar”, each will end up expanding very little their heritage of musical culture.

On Marketingshift, on the other hand, John Gartner welcomes Zune with enthusiasm, seeing Microsoft’s strategy as a clear example of superdistribution, a mechanism analyzed by Wired Magazine as early as 1994.

Superdistribution consists in exploiting social networks by bringing them to the maximum income. Do people like to exchange information society goods with each other? It is possible to take advantage of it, making the exchanged goods arouse the interest of those who receive them and, once they are no longer in their possession, invite users to purchase.

Gartner also hypothesizes the possibility of using this viral marketing scheme not only to advertise the object of the exchange, but to attach an advertising message to it, conveying it to each share.

Gaia Bottà