Today, Microsoft announced that its Zune MP3 player was the number two selling device in the hard drive-based MP3 player market for the month of December, the first full month of Zune's availability. Microsoft says that Zune accounted for 10.2 percent of all hard drive-based MP3 player retail sales in December, behind Apple's dominant iPod.
"We're happy to report that we achieved our goal of establishing Zune as the clear number two seller this holiday behind an entrenched competitor," a Microsoft representative told me Wednesday evening. "No other single device has been able to achieve these kinds of results in a six week launch period and we remain on track to exceed one million units in sales by ... June 30, 2007."
Microsoft says it sees enormous potential in the digital music space and it is using a three-year plan to solidify its position in the market. Additionally, Zune-related sales are strong too, Microsoft says. The Zune Marketplace, Microsoft's online store, saw "exponential growth" for both individual tracks and full album downloads, which makes sense considering the service was just launched in mid-November. Microsoft also notes that the Zune Pass subscription service doubled between November and December.
Though Zune doesn't enjoy the level of support enjoyed by the iPod, Microsoft also says that its device is supported by a robust line-up of accessories from a variety of add-on makers, including Harmon Kardon, Griffin, Belkin, and many others. And automobile makers--notably Ford Motor Company--are starting to deliver integrated Zune solutions as well.
Microsoft's Zune was widely panned when it was originally launched because of its lackluster feature set when compared with the iPod and the lack of podcasting support, downloadable movies and TV shows, games, and other features. However, Microsoft has cautioned analysts and reviewers that its original Zune device is just the first step: The company plans to add features and new models in the future.