As we approach the Zune launch Tuesday and I see more and more of Microsoft’s marketing material, it gets more and more disturbing to me that they apparently do not see how big of a failure this will be. The Zune is inferior to the iPod in almost every way but one, so I can see why they are emphasizing it’s wireless features. However, I have not seen any indication yet that they understand that listening to a portable music device is inherently anti-social.Have you taken a train recently? Not very easy to strike up a conversation with someone who has headphones on. Not that anyone talks to strangers these days anyhow. I can just picture the brave Zune early adopters out there trying to find one another to temporarily exchange songs that will be useless before you could possibly enjoy them. Maybe if every Zune came with distinctive shit-brown headphones owners could find one another easier.There is another possible explanation though; one that does not assume Microsoft is naively entering this marketplace. It is even an less appealing scenario, though unfortunately not implausible, and even eventually possibly successful.It could be that Microsoft knows full well that the current Zune is not ready to compete with the iPod, but is just using early adopters to defray some of the development costs. Maybe they have no intention of competing with this generation or even the next one. Maybe they just want to get the ball rolling now, and slowly encroach on iPod and iTunes from both sides until they can squeeze Apple out with massive advertising saturation and more of the record label payouts they have started with Universal. I wonder if even the record labels might find themselves in bed with an unwelcome partner if that panned out. Sounds like Steve has had enough problems with them. I don’t know if that’s really the business plan, but I wouldn’t put it past them. Luckily, you can’t buy cool. This path would likely take too long to be worth pursuing anyhow.