What really pisses me off about companies like Sony or Microsoft is not how badly they do things, but how good they could make it. The PSP could have been a fantastic device. So could the Zune. If instead of focusing on its own petty interest (pushing Windows, screwing partners, sleep with music industry executives), Microsoft had just decided to push for the consumer in a big way, the device would have been fabulous. Here is what they should have done:
1) Mac and Linux support from the get goWould this had been hard? Yeah, specially because the music industry would have sue them, but Microsoft could have used that money to defend itself and defend us! (and if push comes to shove, could have bought the whole music industry! ). But they decided to do it their own way with their own little screw ups. The device is severely more restrictive than the already restrictive iPod: Windows only, Music only plays in one computer, Only one size for everybody (and, previously, they defended choice? ). The result? look at Top Sellers in electronics at Amazon. On the top 50 (updated hourly, your mileage may vary) there are 18 Mp3 players. Of those, 12 are from Apple, 4 from Sandisk, 1 from Creative, and 1 from Zune (yes, Microsoft doesn't want you to know they make the Zune, they want to create a "brand" and they think you are dumb). The Zune comes in at number 14 (this is only two days after launch). They beat the Creative and most of the Sandisk players (the only ones that work with Mac or Linux), but there is a Sandisk at number 7! Apple has appearances at numbers 19, 16, 11, 9, 4, 3, and 2. It's interesting that at number eleven is the 8GB Nano, almost the same prize of a Zune, less than 1/3 of its prize. There is a lesson there. Windows only in consumer space doesn't cut it anymore.
2) Storage device support and an option to just put music in folders to have them play (no program necessary, but a program available for those who prefer it that way)
3) A browser for Wi-Fi
4) A way to buy music from the device through Wi-Fi
5) Real music sharing thru Wi-Fi. Limit the sharing of DRM music and videos, but not of other music and videos
6) Movies from the get go