One thing you have to realize is the big tech companies really don’t care about the Canadian market.

Take for example the iPhone. More than a year after its original release, it’s finally coming to Canada and 21 other nations on July 11. And tomorrow, the Microsoft Zune makes its official arrival in Canada, almost two years after its release.

It’s a good thing there’s Internet shopping, or quick trips across the border if you really want to buy something NOW!

The Zune is a product that wants to take on the iPod. Well, good luck. Sales figures tell the tale. In the first four months of this year Apple sold nearly 11 million iPods. Microsoft, by comparison, has sold two million Zunes since its launch. iPod has about 73 per cent of the world’s market for MP3-style players. Microsoft must certainly like a challenge.

Microsoft is spending millions to hype the Zune. Parties are planned in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax. I guess Ottawa as one of Canada’s premiere cities for testing out new consumer technology just doesn’t rate.

The Zune price in Canada will range from $140 to $250. Microsoft commissioned six Canadian artists to come up with original designs for the case and if you want to customize your unit with one of the designs engraved on it, that will be free for the first three months of sales.

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced a limited edition Zune designed by Peter Saville and commemorating the DVD release of the documentary “Joy Division”. There is a special price tag of $400. The official site is

If you check out blogs and websites there are fans of the Zune who like its big video screen and its basic design but many of them admit they don’t like the limitations put on the device by Microsoft, and so there are hacks and work-arounds to get the device to do what you really want.

Experts say the Zune has just been too slow at bringing new features forward, it seems to be forever following the iPod. And Microsoft may want to watch out for the Archos device — a portable movie, music, and photo viewer — which has been turning heads. The latest version of the French-made machine has been racking up favourable reviews all over the web.


Hate those grainy cell phone or digital camera videos? Well, this site allows you to upload a movie, have it upgraded and then you can post it. It’s free in the Beta test format.

This Sunday one of the stories on TECH NOW will be a look at Ottawa’s first crop of students trained in video game design. And don’t forget to check our website