Apple to Microsoft: Resistance is futile

Why is the iPod killing the Zune worse than ever? Disney Channel teen star Selina Gomez has the answer.

Published January 26, 2009 6:45PM (EST)

Apple's iPod continues to annihilate Microsoft's much-vaunted Zune MP3 player, reports Barry Ritholtz at the Big Picture:

According to Microsoft's latest 10-Q, "Zune platform revenue decreased $100 million or 54 percent reflecting a decrease in device sales."

A precipitous decline. And one that stands in stark contrast to the record 22,727,000 iPods Apple shipped during its latest quarter, representing three percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.

I just happen to be in possession of some inside information as to why the Zune continues to get clobbered. Saturday night, for reasons that do not require extensive explanation, I happened to be watching "Another Cinderella Story" on the ABC Family channel, starring Selina Gomez, one of the more recent productions to tumble off the Disney teen-star assembly line.

Despite considerable plot similarities, "Another Cinderella Story" should not be confused with "A Cinderella Story," starring the now mostly forgotten Hilary Duff. For one thing, there's a lot of dancing in "Another..." (although not so much by Gomez herself, who frequently appears to be employing a stunt-dancer). Most crucially, in the Duff vehicle, the protagonist leaves her cellphone behind at the ball instead of a glass slipper. But in the Gomez-vehicle, the masked dancing queen drops her MP3 player.

Prince Charming picks it up, and remarks to his sidekick, "She forgot her Zune."

"What's a Zune?" asked my 14-year-old daughter.

At which point we had a nice talk about product placement marketing strategies. But let me tell you, if my 14-year-old daughter does not know the name of your flashy, teen-targeted consumer electronic device, you are DOOMED, KAPUT, FINISHED. Give up, go home, write the whole thing off.

But the humiliation doesn't end there. The next day, my daughter pointed me to a smarmy, snark-laden "review" of "Another Cinderella Story" posted on YouTube by Michael "BuckHollywood" Buckley, who seems to have decided that there is career gold to be mined by poking fun at teen culture for the consumption of teen culture. (Of course he's right, but as a father, I still feel an irresistible urge to tell him to grow up. [And yet, here I am myself, obsessed with teen culture.  Oh, the contradictions!])

Anyway, in his review, Buckley goes on at great length on the topic of how the Selena Gomez character lost her "iPod" at the ball.

Can't you just feel the Microsoft marketing executives cringing? I have no idea how much money it costs to get your Zune into a straight-to-video teen schlock release, but suffice to say, that cash went down the drain. When the the rest of the world assumes that, despite numerous prominent mentions by the two main characters, the critical plot-device device is actually your competitor's pride and joy, well, that's really gotta hurt.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

MORE FROM Andrew Leonard

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Apple Globalization How The World Works Microsoft