According to Engadget, Microsoft's customer support center has received a flood of angry phone calls from Zune owners. For some reason if you let your Zune change for an extended period of time the screen will crack. A recent post on Mac Daily News conjectures that the issue is with the lithium ion battery located directly behind the Zune's screen. When the battery gets too hot it expands and cracks the screen.
You'd think that Microsoft would consider this issue a major design flaw and offer to replace the cracked screens. So far there hasn't been an official statement from Microsoft yet and unfortunately cracked screens are not currently covered under the Zune's warranty. So where does that leave Zune owners with busted screens? They can either wait for Microsoft to address this issue or pull out their wallet and have a 3rd party like iPodMods repair their cracked Zune screen.
On last Thursday's episode of Mad Money, host Jim Cramer selected Apple Computer as his No. 2 growth stock of 2007.
Cramer picked Apple Computer over Microsoft and decided to vent his rage against Microsoft by smashing a new brown Zune with a baseball bat. In case you missed it, the Zune smashing video is now on YouTube.
Although Apple's up more than 175% the last two years and more than 50% since July, Cramer believes Apple Computer will move higher because "picking stocks is not like flipping a coin." There's no balancing out that occurs, he said. Instead, "winners keep winning and "losers keep losing."
Cramer considers Apple a winner that has changed the way people listen to music with the iPod and the iTunes Store. "Not only [Apple] a brand people trust and love, but it is cool... Microsoft's Zune MP3 player will not be able to push past Apple."
Cramer went on to say that there are always bears and short-sellers, but in Apple's case "they are wrong and should get buried... [Apple] has a winning formula, and nothing is going against it."
Want some positive blogger buzz about your product or service? Maybe you should just buy it like Bill Gates. To help promote the Zune and get some positive Microsoft buzz, Gates coughed up a dozen round trip plane tickets to Redmond, hotel rooms, and Zunes (of course) for a group of gadget and tech bloggers. He then hung out with the bloggers for an hour and answered one question from each of them. Once you factor in the total cost of this stunt, I wonder how much Gates paid per letter for a handful of blog posts?
So what did Microsoft get in return for all of this? Were the bloggers wooed by Bill's big wallet? Yep.
Check out the tech-news search engine Techmeme.com. Today their homepage was practically a mural to anything related to Bill Gates, the Zune or Microsoft in general.
While most reviewers are panning the Zune, blogs like TechCrunch [see post], Micro Persuasion [see post], and GigaOm [see post], are restricting their Zune coverage to DRM issues or posting "feel good" pieces about Microsoft.
Honestly, my criticalness against these other blogs is probably part jealously. Why wasn't MethodShop.com invited out to Redmond? Oh well, I'm an iPod guy anyway and we're too small of a blog to make much of a dent for M$. But I do give some of these bloggers credit. Most of them (not Ryan) were upfront and disclosed that Gates gave them free Zunes and paid for their flights out to Microsoft headquarters.
But on the other hand, should corporate blogs like Micro Persuasion and GigaOm, who have venture-capital financing and/or big name PR firms, really be accepting free stuff and sacrificing their objectivity?