The Zune media player was released in 2006 just in time for my birthday and I was very lucky to get a 30Gb White one as a present. I didn’t think much of it at the time, of course the device didn’t live up to the hype and felt like a too-little-too-late effort to compete with the iPod.
After a couple of pretty significant firmware upgrades, it was very clear that Microsoft had something different in mind, that it was more than just an iPod clone.
As the social features and the Zune pass became part of the experience, the device quickly became part of a bigger ecosystem that I loved so much that later on, I purchased a couple more: I got a smaller 8Gb 2nd generation device as well as a 4th generation 64Gb Zune HD.
Looking back, it is clear to me that Microsoft and Apple clearly had two different philosophies: where the iPod/iTunes ecosystem was made for people to purchase music, the Zune ecosystem was first and foremost made for people to listen to music.