Why The Zune HD Will Be A US Exclusive

zune specs main Why The Zune HD Will Be A US Exclusive

Many assumed the Zune HD would arrive in other countries shortly after its September 15th US launch. But today it was reported by Ars Technica that Zune HD fans won’t be getting any love if they live anywhere outside the US

The news left many international Zune fans frustrated and wondering why Microsoft wouldn’t want to make the much anticipated Zune HD available to as many countries as possible. There are already several conspiracy theories floating around, but we turn to Senior Business Development Manager of Microsoft’s Zune team and ABi Zune forum resident Dave McLauchlan for the answer.

“So why aren’t we shipping in 80 countries worldwide right now even though we’d love to be? Because business hasn’t matured to the point where we can support it,” Dave explained in an ABi forum thread regarding the recent Zune HD news. “It’s as simple as that. There isn’t a simple ‘more countries, more sales, more $$’ equation here. The investment required to enter each individual country is substantial (even by Microsoft standards), not to mention the inventory requirements which require spinning up additional capacity in production lines, etc…“

After plans to axe the entire Zune lineup were revealed, it’s clear Microsoft is seeking a fresh start with the Zune HD. As they did with the original Zune, they’ll want to test the waters of the US market before making the large investment required to branch into other countries.

“[W]e’re not even 3 years old yet as a business and Microsoft had never made MP3 players before” Dave later added. “We, like Apple and others, have had to build a team up, build expertise, and build the relationships to support this business. It’s hard, it’s expensive, and it takes commitment – but it also takes device sales. We’re working on that – hard – and hopefully with an awesome device and great innovations in our ecosystem, we’ll really grow our business this year – BUT, we’re just not yet at a point where we can sustain it.”

Let’s just hope that process doesn’t take 2 years as it did for the original Zune to make it to Canada. Hit the link below to read Dave’s post in its entirety.

[via ABi Zune Forums]


Jim on September 11, 2009 4:35 PM

Considering that ’1.1%’ graphic on the pie chart from the Apple presentation the other day, I’m thinking a future international Zune HD release isn’t in the cards…ever. I mean, even if sales doubled from all previous Zunes, it would get them to, what, about 2% of the overall market? Forget Apple, MS needs to get share from Sandisk and ‘Other’.

jason on September 11, 2009 7:04 PM

Zune HD is just a testbed for the MS Phone in 2010.MS has no interest in mobile media players longterm. They want your telecoms and data.The ZuneHD is dead before its launched.

Richard on September 11, 2009 7:26 PM

The Zune HD is dead even before launch.

Thomas on September 11, 2009 8:37 PM

The Zune may be a great Player but MS spent its power for the wrong features of the Zune.I don’t get the whole Marketplace strategy and the Wi-Fi “sharing” ability.Why dont just make the Zune a “drag’n'drop”-device like most people seek in a non-apple-player?One thing I really don’t get is that the European market isn’t as flooded by apple as the American market might be! So why don’t make the Zune HD a real challenger for the iPood as many Europeans would be interested into then Zune if they only knew about it…( especially since it’s cheaper then the touch )

Joe on September 11, 2009 10:48 PM

Thomas,Agree on most points.It should be both drag/drop and loadable via software like the Sony’s and Sandisk models.MS makes it seem as if they cannot easily set up sales internationally. That is BS; they could have a limited market to include Canada,Europe and Japan to start with and expand from there.The Marketplace is a waste, I agree. I don’t even use the U.S. iTunes store (just Japan). MS feels they have to copy Apple in so many ways. I guess they feel they are playing “catch up” right now.I do disagree with your Wi-Fi sharing concept. I grew up with LPs and then cassettes and minidiscs so I love the idea of sharing music! I also love the ability of the Zune to update via WiFi…very useful when updating single albums or podcasts on a daily basis. I wouldn’t use it to initially sync my library, but YES, definately to keep it up to date. I wish Apple would add such a feature.

henry on September 12, 2009 4:28 AM

Like someone else said, did they wait 4 years before going worldwide with the Xbox.No I dont think they did.Oh well someone else gets my money and the Zune fades into history.

stolenomenclature on September 12, 2009 8:24 AM

Unbelieveable drivel that leaves ones jaw firmly at ground level. Poor little Microsoft having to dip its inexperienced little toes in the chilly waters before it can compete with the big boys. It just has to be April the 1st.

Mark on September 12, 2009 9:54 AM

I am tempted by the ZuneHD but since I live overseas I will have to buy it from someplace like Amazon (which I was going to anyways). However, the lack of official availability will make it that much harder to find compatible accessories overseas. The thing is, the ZuneHD is a product many people overseas would definitely want unlike the previous Zunes which lacked real style. This is a very good looking player and it’s sad MS isn’t going to try its fortunes globally. I guess I will have to opt for an Ipod Touch and its international warranty…..

GimmeTheLoot on September 12, 2009 3:13 PM

Glad i didnt wait for this; got me a Sony X 32gb.And, the rationale is lame. Drop the marketplace stuff, and sell it as a standalone drag and drop pmp like everyone else… there shouldnt be any barriers to this.

H3O on September 13, 2009 11:33 AM

Apple laughs and knows they have won before the battle begins

aniym on September 13, 2009 9:05 PM

If you guys are arguing that the Zune would be more successful if it went for a bare-bones drag-n-drop interface, you’re missing the point. For one thing, MS would not be able to charge the premium they do over comparable players by Sandisk. Additionally, people would be whining about album art and playlist problems, as they regularly do with Creative Zen and Sandisk players. Not everyone has the time or patience to come onto an Internet forum and figure out how to do these things with Media Monkey, or other third party applications. MS is going for the Ipod demographic by offering an alternative that’s higher end than Sandisk/Creative, etc. I’ve owned Sandisk players and can vouch for their quality, but to the market at large, they’ll always be the poor man’s Ipod: cheap and plasticky.Also, without Zune Marketplace/Zune Pass, MS would not be able to get people to install the Zune software, which is leagues ahead of WMP11 and can sync album art, playlists, ratings and what not with far fewer problems than WMP. With successive iterations of the Zune players, the software has gotten better and better. People are saying that it will replace WMP on Windows Mobile cell phones by the time WM7 comes out; if you’ve ever used WMP to play music on your phone, you’ll know that it’s needed replacement for a very long time.I agree with the earlier posters who argue that the Zunne HD is merely a test run before MS introduces its own phone, and begins competing directly with the Iphone (for consumer markets) and Blackberries (for the business markets). It might not be next year or the year after that…MS will most likely wait until WM7 has matured (meaning has a centralized application library and is fairly bug-free), but it’s going to happen.

Jentse, Netherlands on September 14, 2009 5:04 AM

Hey Guys,I live in Holland and it’s been a frustrating week for a Zune-owner. It should’ve been nice because of the HD’s release (even for us), but:- No EU release of the Zune in sight (Music labels being difficult; what the heck? Do these people want to make money with their music or what? Be realistic and embrace the digital generation…) MS should be capable of finding a new, cheaper way to sell the Zune here. Via webstore for instance, just online ordering and delivery! And for the hands-on ‘falling in love experience’: demostands in the main electronics stores.- they stopped making the other flash and HD models; why on earth is that a good decision?? I’m convinced that also these models would do great here in the EU!- Apple just released a 64 Gb iTouch. Damnit. MS should’ve been quicker with that on the HD (132 Gb!!), and also should’ve upgraded the 80/120 to 160 Gb like the iPod Classic.So IMO, what NEEDS TO BE TOLD TO THE ZUNE EXECUTIVES: Launch the Zune ecosystem within 1 year in the EU, Launch the COMPLETE range of devices to make yourself a serious competitor, be quick to anticipate in the capacity-race.BE BETTER!! BE BETTER!! BE BETTER!! BE BETTER!! BE BETTER!!

Joe on September 14, 2009 10:02 PM

Did anyone stop and think that perhaps the real reason is bec ause HD radio is useless in most of the US with 15% penetration, and 0% outside the US, where the ZuneHD needs DAB+?

Doug on September 15, 2009 8:13 PM

^ No.Because the HD radio can be replaced with regular radio. HD radio won’t make or break the Zune LOL

Tim on September 16, 2009 4:54 PM

I was really looking forward to purchasing a Zune HD; however, even Amazon wouldn’t ship one over. This coupled with MS’s official stance on an international release has left me thoroughly disappointed.I don’t care about the Marketplace or the Zune Pass, tbh. I just want a sweet PMP to store and play my existing library of tunes.I want to understand (accept) your reasons, MS, I really do. However, I can’t help but feel totally shafted by this snub. How many Zunes has it been already?You’ve just lost a customer, MS.

Bhagwant on November 23, 2009 12:05 AM

man i live in canada and got the 120gb zune and love it! Once i heard about the zune hd i was so excited only to have my hopes crushed that there is only a us market…

Jim on January 21, 2010 5:35 PM

Three things I really hate about my Zune HD:1) No drag and drop. Hate it gutts. Why do they have to try to be like Apple??2) No international language support. Something so easy, yet they don’t bother to include it.3) No speaker. A tiny speaker like those on cell phones would make it so easy to listen to music or radio.

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