Zune Sales Lagging Behind iPod, Others

Sales of the Microsoft Zune appear to be trailing off rather quickly after a fast start, leading some analysts to believe consumer interest is waning.

The player, which stayed in the top 10 in sales in the Amazon.com electronics category for several days following its launch, has now nearly fallen out of the top 100. As of midday Tuesday, only the black player registered, coming in at #96.

Several other manufacturers beat out the Zune: Apple held six of the top 10 spots; SanDisk's Sansa M240 held eighth and 14th spot; Creative's Zen Vision:M also made an appearance in the top 20. Analysts pointed to the player's low rank as an indication that many consumers are passing over the Zune in favor of more established brands.

Microsoft in a statement to the Wall Street Journal said that "exactly within our expectations," and sources told BetaNews shortly after the launch that internal sales data indicated the player sold the best in the West, with sales strong in the Northeast and in Florida as well.

However, that buzz appears to have been short lived. Whereas the iPod is expected to sell as many as 15 million players this holiday season, analysts only project Zune sales of about 300,000 to 500,000 units at most.

Part of the problem may be the beating the Zune has taken in the hands of the media. Reviews of the product have been nearly all negative, with one going as far as calling the experience "about as pleasant as having an airbag deploy in your face."

"The Zune is a complete, humiliating failure," Chicago Sun-Times technology pundit Andy Ihnatko wrote recently. "Throw in the Zune's tail-wagging relationship with music publishers, and it almost becomes important that you encourage people not to buy one."

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