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Michael Robertson calls out Zune as biggest flop of 2007

Ryan Block, @ryan
10.08.06
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In our line of work we hear a lot of noise from the talking heads day in and out, but we can't help biting down on this latest hook courtesy of Michael Robertson. The anti-tech-powerexec is known for founding MP3.com, Lindows / Linspire, Skype competitor SIPphone, and DRM-free online music sales biz MP3tunes, not to mention former employer of DRM freedom fighter Jon Johansen -- so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that after the ruckus being raised around the Zune's crippled WiFi and worthless DRM system that he stepped in to take a potshot. We're with him a hundred percent on railing against DRM and the somewhat absurd position Microsoft is taking by scrapping PlaysForSure in their own device efforts (what he calls "Screwed for Sure"), but things get a little bombastic: "At first glance the features seem compelling but my prediction is it will be the biggest flop of 2007 with less than 50,000 units sold worldwide." Also, says Robertson, "I've been looking for a good verb to describe losing all of your music to DRM because it's increasingly common and I think I have one: zune." Only 50,000 units? Doubtful; and maybe it's a little much to repurpose the product name to summarily encompass a near universal embitterment for digital rights management (after all, wouldn't "ipod" work better, especially after the podsuits?), but we're absolutely not going to argue his thesis: DRM is bad market and bad for the consumer.

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