Daniel Eran Dilger
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Larry Dignan’s Zune Fantasy Highlights CNET’s ZDNet Blogger Credibility Problems

ZDNet Zune Larry Dignan
Daniel Eran Dilger
CNET’s ZDnet bloggers are becoming a parody of themselves in a mad rush to see who can serve up the most inane example of bottom feeding. Somewhat ironically, their excitement for all things Microsoft has been picked up by a major news source: as a joke.

The Onion: America’s Finest News Source.
The headline “Thousands Wait Overnight At Microsoft Stores For Second Generation Zune” lampooned attempts by Microsoft to clone Apple’s culture, marketing, and ultimately sales.

“Though the Zune continues to dominate the world of personal electronics, technology experts believe it will quickly be overshadowed by the fall 2008 launch of the hotly anticipated new Texas Instruments TI-Nspire graphing calculator,” the article concluded.

 Content Files Images Thousands-Wait.Article

Thousands Wait Overnight At Microsoft Stores For Second Generation Zune | The Onion

How Many Suckers Does it Take to Lick to the Bottom of a Zune?

A month ago, Larry Dignan was pictured standing behind Dan Farber in a piece “featuring David Berlind,” which pushed the envelope of ZDNet’s desperate anti-Apple indoctrination efforts. That envelope, of course, was addressed to Microsoft’s Zune, a failure so great Microsoft is still struggling to sell models from last year at fire sale prices, units it already promotionally counted as having shipped to stores back in June.

If one were extremely delusional, one might suggest that Microsoft could at least sell a Zune to every Xbox 360 user on the planet. Even if it could manage that this year, it would only amount to around a fifth of Apple’s iPod sales over the last year. The problem is that most Xbox users bought their console to play games, not to shore up the sales of a consumer electronics failure for political or religious reasons.

Also, the Xbox typically functions as expected as a games console. Sure it has thermal problems, parts that catch fire, it scratches discs, and is loud enough to cause hearing loss among your neighbors, but it does play games. The Zune doesn’t really do anything well beyond mocking Microsoft’s hubris.

Dignan, Farber, and Berlind were so devoid of ideas on how to spin that harsh reality in favor of Microsoft’s train wreck that they were forced to write up an story about time travel, where their only experience in the imagined future involved reading Microsoft press releases about how well the Zune was doing.

Is that a case of art imitating life, or a delusional religious epiphany? Either way, it doesn’t really serve the intended purpose of strengthening the faith of increasingly disillusioned users tired of Microsoft’s vaporously empty promises. Imagine if one could deliver a similar fiction without resorting to time travel; rather than pretending to read invented ideas, one could invent ideas and pretend they’re worthy of reading. That’s where Dignan headed next with Ou.

Why Microsoft’s Zune is Still Failing
Winter 2007 Buyer’s Guide: Microsoft Zune 8 vs iPod Nano
Zune vs. iPhone: Five Phases of Media Coverage

Dancing Around the Truth.
This type of fantasy reporting is at the core of the credibility problem that wraps around ZDNet’s neck like a tourniquet. If the best reporting you can do is a fictional effort at wishful thinking advocacy for a clear failure of a product a year after the failure is obvious, it doesn’t say much about your ability to report news or sift the proverbial wheat from the chaff as an analyst.

The fact that Ou is now hiding behind Dignan to launch a masterful click-bait fantasy denying security problems for Windows and seeding the idea that numbers of vulnerabilities should suggest fear for Mac users hardly needs any serious investigation. We already know Ou is clueless about the tech industry. But, of course, my readers also know I occasionally do like to point precisely why, sometimes even when it seems too obvious.

Recall that Ou is a ballet dancer who took a job at ZDnet because he couldn’t find work dancing. His core competency is pussyfooting around while dramatic music plays, but he isn’t even fun to watch because he spends most of his time arguing with his audience in a fit of rage, trying to justify one clumsy fall after another. It’s a performance nobody would back apart from maybe Microsoft, if the interpretive dance were aimed at getting across its talking points.


ZDNet’s George Ou Exposed as Ignorant Microsoft Shill
Vista vs Mac OS X Security: Why George Ou’s ZDNet Vulnerability Numerology is Absurd

What do you think? I really like to hear from readers. Comment in the Forum or email me with your ideas.

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  • http://www.sistudio.net studiodave

    Yes it is true the Zune could out sell the iPod, If,

    Apple renamed the iPod to Zune.

    I leave for now, Laughing at everything Microsoft.

  • gus2000

    Someone recently challenged my high-tech ideology, demanding to know if I would buy a Zune if it were not sold by Microsoft. “You only bought that iPhone because it’s made by Apple,” I was told.

    Upon reflection, I conceded they were right but not for the reasons they suspected. When you purchase a product, you are also purchasing the company: it’s branding and style, yes, but also it’s support, product lifecycle, accessories, integration, and so forth. Based on the last 25 years of buying Microsoft products, it is risky investing in one of their platforms.

    On the other hand, I am firm believer in the direction Apple is taking their products. Did I buy an iPhone just because it’s made by Apple? Damn right. I looked long and hard at nearly every phone on the market, always disappointed and thinking “sheez I wish Apple made a phone.” I didn’t fully realize how bad the cellphone situation was until I got an iPhone in my hands. I buy Apple for their reputation, and because of my positive experiences with their other products. I avoid Microsoft for same reason.

    I think most people understand the difference, and frankly the ZDnet bloggers get the page hits because they’re the loud drunk at the party. Without an intellectual contribution, that novelty is going to quickly decay.

  • josh

    dan, at this point you are beating a dead horse. you’ve long since made your point about the zune and it’s time to move on…

  • http://lexx.warpedsystems.skc.a His Shadow

    Josh, the time to move on will be when the Microsoft shills cease repeating their myths, lies and deceptions concerning Apple. Until that time when they either grow up, or ZDnet grows up and fires these pathetic excuses for tech writers, they deserve to have Microsoft’s myriad failures rubbed in their faces for as long as it takes them to realise that Apple is on top again, bigger and better than ever. Microsoft doesn’t have a hope of catching Apple because they cannot use them same old tricks in markets where they have to compete on merit, and it’s time that someone told ZDnet that, loudly and continously.

  • http://www.sistudio.net studiodave

    Josh, As long as people are saying that the dead horse is winning the race we need to drag it through the streets to prove that it truly is dead.

    Not a real horse mind you.

  • beanie

    Zune seems to be selling and far from being a failure this year. I think you are blinded by childish Mac versus PC marketing mentality. The reality is that it was a breakout couple of months for the Zune brand.

    Zune 80GB black is selling well. Most major retailers have it in stock and it is selling quite well. Zune 4GB black and Zune 4GB pink are selling briskly.

    Zune 30GB is selling better than last year. Amazon itself ran out and re-ordered Zune 30GB black and brown. So much for the fire-sale argument. The price point of $149-$199, storage space, and screen size are the appeal even though it does not look as nice as the new Zune form-factor.

    [When you repeat that the Zune is “selling well,” do you have any source for that, or are you hoping to wish that idea into existence as a fact? At a $149 (often as low as $80) price point, that’s not a sale, but a liquidation. It was designed to be sold at $300, forced down to $250 by Apple’s competitive prices, and couldn’t do anything but sit on shelves until the fire sales began. I’ve heard from lots of people who bought them for $80 and said it sure wasn’t worth a penny more. – Dan]

  • mmbossman

    Beanie seems to be a troll from zunescene (which I visit when I need a quick laugh), because I’ve seen an almost identical argument there, right down to the zune flashes selling “briskly”. As of this moment, the highest selling flash zune is ranked at 48 in MP3 players on Amazon. And while this may not be the end-all and be-all of what consumers are buying, whenever a first gen zune (briefly) tops the list due to it costing less than half of what it usually does, all the zune fanatics are beside themselves with glee about how it’s finally beating the iPod. And they complain about mac fans drinking the kool-aid… geez.

  • Bill

    I just heard on the business report that the #1 selling computer at Amazon was the MacBook! Incredible!

  • Staticnumeric

    …I like the Zune 80 better than the iPod Classic. There. I said it. However, I would not recommend a Zune 4/8 for any other reason but the interface. Apple has Microsoft beat on the Zune 4/8’s hardware.

    But the only thing stopping my purchase of a Zune 80 to replace my 4G iPod is the lack of Zune software on OSX,which is really a shame.