Microsoft Courts Blogs for Zuneposted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/03/2006 06:16:00 PM
Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Not long after Microsoft Corp. announced in July that it would challenge Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod, Internet blogger Craig Lile found himself on a flight to Seattle to get a first look at the competing device.
Lile, 29, who writes under the pen name Dodge, was one of six tastemakers from the independent-music scene hand-picked by Microsoft -- and given free air fare and hotel -- to check out its Zune player, which goes on sale Nov. 14.
Microsoft says it can crack iPod's monopoly on ``cool'' by harnessing key Web reviewers like Lile and sponsoring band tours to court fans of so-called indie music. Emerging fringe bands on independent labels can sway the larger market, Microsoft says. With Apple controlling 77 percent of the $4 billion U.S. market for digital-player sales, gaining converts may be difficult. Lile's own conclusion about Zune won't make it any easier.
The Zune is geared towards the XBox crowd which is 18-28.
When Zune hits stores, about 140 paid college students designated as ``Zune ambassadors'' will fan out on campuses to organize parties and events, Stephenson said. Microsoft is also funding tours from bands such as Brazil's CSS, or Cansei de Ser Sexy (Portuguese for ``tired of being sexy''). The group is known for the profane broken-English lyrical stylings of lead singer Lovefoxxx.