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Microsoft Sets Up Zune HD for Failure - Again

The Zune HD's lack of a compelling software market will make it nothing more than a repeat failure, according to mobile developers and an analyst.

Microsoft on Tuesday released its newest media player. Priced at $290 for the 32GB version, it's packed with impressive hardware features, including a vibrant, touch-sensitive OLED display. Still, the hardware alone won't be enough to make the device a success, observers say.

"They apparently had no idea the App Store was coming or was going to be big," said Phillip Ryu, co-creator of the popular iPhone app Classics. "This all reeks of last-minute scrambling."

The center of criticism is Microsoft's Zune Marketplace, the Zune HD's version of an app store. But it's not really a store: Third-party developers cannot easily create apps to be sold through Zune Marketplace. In fact, no apps will be sold at all.

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