Apple 2 Microsoft 0

To quote a Sesame Street song -- one of these things is not like the other one. It's not like Microsoft didn't have plenty of time to come at Apple's iPod with a vengeance. And the new Zune is their second attempt. The comments have been very polite so far in expectation that this time Microsoft has outdone Apple CEO Steve Jobs. But the early reviews on the Zune by respected tech writers are anything but gushing. The New York Times David Pogue gave the impression he felt Zune was more revenge of Microsoft than anything else. The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg was fair but not impressed. What was Microsoft thinking? To buy songs for this rather ugly, clunky device a consumer will have to purchase points from Microsoft. And here's something Steve Jobs would never do -- you have to buy a 5 point minimum to buy one tune. That is, the consumer gets to give one of the world's biggest companies four extra dollars until they spend it all on downloads. You just can't buy one song for a dollar. Another thing Apple wouldn't do is make a big deal out of sharing music from device to device and then give the consumer three chances to preview a shared song and only three days to make up their mind to buy it or else it goes away forever. And if you play only part of the song -- it still counts as one of your three free plays. Also, Jobs wouldn't make a clunky device. You'd never see Apple pick that brown (pictured here) as one of its three inaugural colors. He wouldn't start with a woefully insufficient music library if he had four years to get it right. Battery life on the Zune is reported to be not that good. But less than sufficient battery life is something Apple would do and has done, but their customers would forgive them for getting everything else right. The Zune has barely launched and it may prove to be a turkey even before Thanksgving. It's a good bet that the number one software company will still be number two to the number one music device and music store -- iPod and iTunes.