Here’s a little story about heavy metal. Back in the 1980s a band known as Metallica was busy kicking out troublemaker Dave Mustaine. It’s a long story but the end result was that Mustaine made it a goal of his to lead a band that would be exponentially more successful than Metallica. He called this band Megadeth.
Well Megadeth released some pretty good albums in the 1980s and sort of kept up with Metallica’s success. Then, in 1990 Megadeth released Rust in Peace, an album so great that many people thought Mustaine and company had finally surpassed Metallica. Shortly thereafter, however, Metallica released its “Black” album which went on to sell a bajillion copies, leaving Mustaine feeling like he’d been punched in the stomach.
That’s how I imagine Microsoft might have felt yesterday.
The Redmond giant announced a price drop on its 30-gigabyte Zune player (to $200) and watched as Apple announced not only an 80-gigabyte iPod for $250, but a direct download iPod, a $200 price cut on the iPhone, new Nanos, and more.
So what to do about the upcoming Zune 2? Will it be able to compete with the iPod touch? Not a chance, unless Microsoft’s been able to work in a direct connection to the Zune Marketplace. Will it be able to compete with the iPod Classic? Maybe, but it’s gonna have to bring the noise, so to speak, and the 80-gigabyte version had better cost no more than $250.
Microsoft isn’t worried, according to company blogger Cesar Menendez, who says, “Of course we watched with some degree of interest but our plans have been in motion for some time now.” That’s all well and good but if the aforementioned plans don’t include some very innovative and exciting features, Microsoft may find itself to be the Megadeth of the digital audio game.
Microsoft on new iPods: What, me worry? [CNET News.com]