Brown Is Not the new White

Stephen Wildstrom

A story by my colleague Jay Greene describes Microsoft execs' happiness with the initial sales of the Zune handheld media player. But I suspect the sound out of Redmond is mostly whistling past the graveyard.

Brown Zune

Zune hit number 2 in retail sales among music players during its first week on the market, according to data compiled by market researcher NPD, but fell back to #5 in the week ended Nov. 25. Data from Amazon.com suggest a bleaker picture. On Dec. 9, the black Zune (Amazon counts each stock keeping unit, or SKU, as a separate product) was the 60th most popular consumer electronics item with Amazon customers. That's a good performance only in comparison with the brown Zune, which ranked 292nd, and the white model at 423rd, suggesting that if you want to sell a white music player, it had better be an iPod.

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