World of Zune

Interview with Zune MVP Marques Lyons

If you tweet (and of course you do!), you might be familiar with the #ZuneTune hash tag. It is used on twitter to create a community generated playlist. After all, sharing music is what the Zune is all about.

#ZuneTune is the brainchild of Marques Lyons, Zune MVP and chief editor of the popular Zune site Inside The Circle. He's a very influential figure in the Zune community. As a Zune MVP he meets with the Zune product team at Microsoft and relays community feedback. So if there is something you would like to see in the next Zune release, let him know!

World of Zune caught up with Marques and got this exclusive interview where he talks about his site, the Zune HD and the future of the Zune brand.

Marques also publishes a podcast and has tons of great Zune information on his site, so be sure to check it out.

Enjoy the interview...

Why did you start InsideTheCircle? What makes it different from the other Zune sites out there?

Inside the Circle was started because I wanted to engage with people outside of Zune Social. Zune Social was great as a starting point because it allowed me to message my friends, see what music they're listening to and all of that, but Inside the Circle allowed me to dictate the conversation and make it as long and as engaging as I wanted.

As far as what makes it different from other Zune sites, Inside the Circle primary focus is Zune and Music, but moreso we like to engage with the community pretty much on anything they want to talk about. I prefer to see Inside the Circle as a supplement to the major tech sites out there rather than direct competition. We also don't run our own forum or anything, because we see as our primary forum to work with J

By the way, I can't emphasize enough how Inside the Circle wouldn't be where it is today without our wonderful readership and the consistent contributions of my three other writers, Neville Williams, Alfa Santos and Julio Angel Ortiz. Those guys have been stellar in what they've brought to the blog in the past year and a half.

Most people automatically gravitate towards the iPod. What got you interested in the Zune?

I was always interested in the Microsoft ecosystem as a whole. I liked Windows Vista (contrary to what others may feel about it), I loves my XBOX 360 and recently when I got a Media Center PC it was great to be able to record TV shows and movies, etc. My first Zune (a Black Zune 30, which I still have) was won in a raffle, so from there it just spiraled. I've been pretty satisfied with my experiences with Zune.

Now, I'll go on record and say that iPod is a great device. We can't knock it just because it's not Microsoft or because it's made by Apple. iPod has done a great service to the overall digital music and media consumption space, so I give credit where it's due.

Do you think the Zune HD is a better offering than the iPod Touch? Why?

It's a question I get quite often. It's funny because a majority of people who brag about iPod Touch to me will always tote the apps side of it. They'll kind of glance over how the device is as a media/music player. When I try to press them on that, they revert immediately back to apps. So from what I gather it basically boils down to if you want a Media player or an Application machine. Since I'm a guy who loves his music and episodes of "Frontline" the Zune HD has more than satisfied me.

Share your thoughts about the future of the Zune brand.

Well, Microsoft is on this whole software+services kick, meaning that it will be more about the software/firmware that runs the devices more so than the devices themselves. However, in order to have great software and services, the devices that run them have to be equally as outstanding.

The Zune brand, I think, will end up in plenty of Microsoft properties. It's already on XBOX 360 with their movie marketplace, people can watch Zune video podcasts in Windows Media Center and I would expect Zune to take a stronger foothold in the mobile space. So the brand itself will get out there and I think it will fare well for people who want to enjoy their media.

What advice would you like to share with readers who are trying to decide between a Zune HD and an iPod Touch?

Realistically, it's about apps. Right now the Zune HD has a very small app story so if you're the kind of person who wants a portable computer in your pocket, by all means go for the iPod Touch (it's doing very well as far as apps go), but if you want an ecosystem that tailors to your music and media consumption, I would recommend the Zune HD.

I would also recommend that people go out and try both devices if they can. Take a look at their day to day routine and see where the strengths of both devices would fit in with their daily lifestyle. Even though Zune has done exceptionally well for me, the reality is it won't be the ideal thing for everyone, so give both of them a whirl and go with what you feel is best.

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