I think that the Zune's failure to launch will become a textbook case study for students of business and marketing.
Here is are links to the outfall, as Microsoft's external marketing firm, Edelman, is frantic at making a recovery. Frantic, because a failure this big could cause them to lose the Microsoft account. The blogosphere is ensuring the recovery is fumbled:
* Valleywag: Zune Abandons hostile blogosphere.
Microsoft's marketers had entertained a fantasy: that the blogs, which increasingly determine buzz on products, would embrace it; the virtues of digital device would spread, virally, as people exchanged music with their friends; and a traditional press relations campaign, with a focus on tame business and national titles, was redundant.
Microsoft's approach to launching the Zune feels a little bit like a politician managing expectations. First they try to build up as much hype as possible. Then when it looks like the poll numbers aren't coming in as high as they promised, they insist that they expected it would be a tough fight. But when all the pundits start writing off the politician as dead, they come back and say things are trending up, and that they're exceeding (internal) expectations.