John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Dell Zune Killer Postponed

So, Dell’s ambitious return to the digital music player market? Not quite so ambitious.

The company has reportedly shelved for the time being its new “iPod Zune killer.” Intended to launch in concert with an online subscription service, the device was to use software developed at Zing, a company Dell (DELL) acquired last year, to retrieve and organize digital media. It was to arrive at market in September at a price below $100.

Obviously, it never did. And, according to people familiar with Dell’s plans, it won’t for some time. Dell has reportedly shelved the device for the time being, opting instead to focus its attention on the Zing software that was to accompany it.

So much for that “product lust” company CEO Michael Dell said the company would soon engender in the public.

The “postponement” of the device is likely a wise move given current economic conditions. Wiser still, given Dell’s previous foray into the MP3 market, which was about as ill-starred as such things get. Dell’s first MP3 player–the uncompelling, unpopular and unfortunately-named DJ Ditty–lasted three years before the company scuttled it. And, as I’ve pointed out here before, that was back in 2006, when Apple’s iPod wasn’t quite the cultural icon it is today. How long would a second Dell MP3 player last in a market that’s 71 percent-controlled by Apple (AAPL)?

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work