ForbesAn analyst has said he's "frankly underwhelmed" by Microsoft's highly-hyped Zune media player, and considers the Apple iPod the "de facto standard" in the portable media market.
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu maintained a "buy" rating on shares of Apple Computer, which he considers to have the competitive advantage in the media player market.
The Microsoft Zune is expected to launch later this year.
"Microsoft had hinted of an all-new design from the ground up, but from our analysis, it appears that the Zune is essentially a repackaged Toshiba Gigabeat that has seen limited success," said Wu in a report.
Microsoft recently announced the Zune will be manufactured by Toshiba.
The analyst said the Zune is likely to have some success against other Windows media players due to Microsoft's heavy marketing and strong brand. That said, the Zune may be limited by "its lack of differentiation" from other Windows players made by companies including Creative Technology, Samsung, SanDisk, Sony and Toshiba, among others, according to the analyst.
Moreover, the analyst likened Zune to Microsoft's Xbox and Xbox 360 video game consoles, which he views as a "financial failure" with its huge cost to the company and profitability not in the cards for years.
"We believe Microsoft's effort in portable media will likely result in similar economics," he said.
Wu said he expects Apple to introduce new iPod and iTunes products in late September or October.