InsideMicrosoft

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Zune Demand Respectable, About Half Of iPod

Compete.com has done analysis of “demand” for the Zune, basing it on traffic to online retailers Zune sales pages, and shows that after an initial boost that pushed the Zune to near-iPod levels, Microsoft’s player has settled in at just under half the demand for the full-size iPod, or a quarter of that for the iPod Nano. Considering the product is brand new to the market, and, blogosphere aside, has not had a lot of build-up, this is a very promising start for the Zune.

I don’t think it is unreasonable to say that, barring some other company coming out with a killer product, the Zune will be a solid number two in the MP3 player market before the next holiday season. Version 2 of the Zune is going to be a highly-anticipated product, based on that sort of credibility. The Zune isn’t perfect, but it looks like Microsoft has created a serious competitor and infused some life into the market. Lets see what bombshell Apple head prepared to combat them.
(via Paul Kedrosky)

December 18th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Apple, Windows Media, Zune | one comment

ITunes Sales Did Not Plummet, Just The Register As Usual

Forrester Research’s Josh Bernoff, who did the study that supposedly “proved” iTunes sales were collapsing, has written an official blog post explaining how the whole thing was misunderstood and blown out of proportion. Essentially, all the study proved was that 181 people bought less songs from iTunes, and that sales tend to peak over the holiday shopping season. The fact is, The Register, one of the least credible news organizations on the planet (and I got news: Its far worse than anything FOX does), deliberately misled its readers and all the linking journalists.

Why did this happen? Simple reason: The Register had access to the report, and the rest of the internet didn’t. Yes, even if I had access to the report, and all the other well-read bloggers had it, it would still take days to debunk. However, most prominent bloggers would have read the report before posting about it, knowing how little we all trust The Register. I didn’t want to write about the story because The Register wrote about it, but I was willing to write about it because Forrester’s name was on it.

The Register was trading on the good name of Forrester Research, dragging Forrester’s name through the mud in what could only be called a deception. No intelligent person could have drawn the conclusions stated by The Register, so either this was deliberate, or their reporters are morons.

The fact is, we all need to stop relying on The Register, which is trying to lie to us. No matter what you may like about them, they are trying to mislead their readers, and cannot be trusted. I am making a pledge: I will no longer rely on The Register as the main source of a news story. If I slip up, I will have to donate ten dollars to charity. If every blogger makes that sort of pledge, and some stupid story like this happens again, it will cost the blogosphere thousands of dollars. There needs to be a deterrent against shoddy reporting.

Also, Forrester needs to open up their reports to bloggers. No blogger is going to pay hundreds of dollars on a report, yet we’re the ones who need that information for accurate reporting. The fact is, it isn’t our reputations that are hurt the most when we don’t have these reports, it is Forresters, and it isn’t the blogosphere that benefits when a Forrester report gets a lot of press, it is Forrester that benefits. It is in their best interest to give bloggers with a large enough audience complete access, and it will get them plenty of good press, and prevent stuff like this.

(via Slashdot, the biggest part of the problem, as they continue to allow links to The Register as though it were legitimate)

December 18th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Blogs, Apple | one comment

New Microsoft.com Goes Live

Microsoft has launched the next version of their home page, microsoft.com, one of the most popular sites on the internet. The new design features some modern (you could say “Web 2.0″) design touches, including gradients and dynamic elements. The front page now appears to contain as much, if not far more, information and links than before, while having more white space, less clutter and taking up less space than before. On looks, I give it an A.

Not everyone is a big fan. The PC Spy makes some valid complaints, especially on how the page does not “degrade gracefully” on older browsers with bad Javascript support. His points definitely drop it to a B, but as far as advanced sites go, I still consider it a job well done.

A lot of people are going to see the site. Microsoft.com hovers at about the 15th most popular site on the ‘net. The site isn’t as popular as it used to be, as it used to spend more time in the top ten than out of it, but the late 2005 fall appears to have slowed if not stopped. Here’s Alexa’s rank graph over the last five years:

Xbox 360’s got a nice pinata snowman holiday site worth checking out as well.

UPDATE: Microsoft has a short (and mostly useless) article about the redesign.
(via Nick Mayhew)

December 18th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Xbox, Xbox 360, Corporate | one comment