Zune's Disastrous CNN Appearance

George pointed to it in his entry titled Zune Clearance Sale: All Links Must Goa Michael Gartenberg piece on the CNN segment in which in the Zune gets covered and “un-sold”:

Gary Stein – “I watched CNN this morning and Soledad O'Brien literally interrupted the tech-biz reporter, who was talking about the Zune, to extoll the virtues of her new, $70 iPod Shuffle. The next time the story came through the cycle, she had gotten her iPod out of her office and demonstrated how cool it was that you could clip it, and essentially un-sold the Zune, and pitched the iPod.”

It's one thing to read Stein's and Gartenberg's summaries of the report, but it's another thing altogether to watch this little train wreck. Thanks to YouTube, you can:

The first sign that things are about to go terribly wrong is when guest reviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin says that the Zune “does a couple of things that are a little bit cooler than the iPod, but a lot of things that probably aren't”. He then goes through a short list of Zune's features, but Soledad and Miles O'Brien's questions reveal each one's downside. When he brings up the “backlash against the iPod”, Sorkin sounds like he's pulling a “Hail Mary” play from the Microsoft marketing handbook.

If that weren't enough, Soledad then decides to show off her new iPod Shuffle. “Now that's the thing that's a lot sexier than this,” replies Sorkin. Bad enough that the Zune's getting trashed in its own segment, but it's getting beaten out by Apple's cheapest iPod. Sorkin counters by saying that Microsoft will eventually come out with something almost as nice-looking as the Shuffle. (Dude, when you promote vaporware, you should say that it will be better than the existing competition, not a second runner-up.)

No train wreck is complete without a spectacular explosion at the end, and it comes in the form of Miles O'Brien's unintentional punchline: Miles O'Brien, looking at the Zune, asks “Why don't they get some decent design people?”

Ten years ago, a Microsoft product getting featured on CNN would be fawned over by the anchors and have competitors running for the hills. It's a different world today.