Wireless and DRM
Technically, there is much to like about the Zune. Apart from a Leap Year bug which caused problems for some Zune 30 users, reviewers have been generally positive about the screen display, battery life, sound fidelity and overall robustness of the device. Some concerns have been raised over the 'twist' interface, which varies the button functions as the user switches between menus, music and pictures / video. And Microsoft gets a plus for adding magnets to their earphones so they clamp together for storage. But most criticisms of the Zune relate to the wireless interface, the use of DRM, the lack of support for other formats, the PC-based Zune Player software, and the Zune Marketplace distribution system.
Wireless communication. As found on the original Zunes, wireless communication was a great idea crippled in the implementation. It allowed your Zune -- with their permission -- to find the Zunes of other users nearby, see what songs they were playing, add them to a Friends list and send music and video files back and forth between them. For copyright reasons, however, new songs received in this way could only be played three times and retained for a maximum of three days. In recent models the wireless capabilities have been stepped up so that Zune users in Wi-Fi hotspots can purchase and download music tracks, videos and games from the Zune Marketplace, and the three-day limit has been removed.
Digital Rights Management (DRM) -- i.e hardware-based copy protection. Microsoft received a good deal of flak for abandoning their PlaysForSure DRM system, designed for downloading media on to the XBox gaming console and other devices, and inaugurating a new DRM system for the Zune. DRM in general attracts a bad press from the computer media and presents many disadvantages to the user; in effect, DRMed media is never owned, but only rented. Having said this, however, Microsoft's Zune DRM system doesn't appear to be any worse than any other. Like every other DRM system, it has, of course, been hacked. Microsoft has recently begun to offer lower-quality DRM-free versions of about 1 million out of 3 million Zune Marketplace tracks.
Red Zune 80Gb player