The Zune may have been a surprise hit for Microsoft this Christmas

Funny things happen at Christmas. I was researching the top gifts this year for Christmas based on Google searches and I was in for a big surprise. Along with hits for Rock Band, Guitar Hero World Tour Cheats and the obligatory iTunes references, one particular search stood out from pack.

Searches for the much derided Microsoft Zune music player.

Zune related searches peaked in the top 20 most searched for terms Christmas morning (in the US) on Google then settled mid range at 40-50 as it came off its peak.

Search terms included zune software, zune, zune.net/setup, zune.net, zune.com and www.zune.net/setup.

The volume to rank in the top search terms on Google is large, so any mention in the top 100 shows a surprisingly large number of people looking for Zune information.

The data can mean two things: lots of people were given Zunes for Christmas, and/ or those that received Zunes had no idea how to use them; the latter isn’t improbable given you need to authenticate a Zune before you can use it, the software to sync music has to been downloaded (you can’t use iTunes with a Zune), and you also can’t easily use a Zune with a Mac (the Zune client itself is Windows only).

Either way, Microsoft won’t be disappointed. The latest generation of Zune’s have received better reviews than their predecessors, and Microsoft has been aggressively pricing them compared to iPods, making them more affordable in an economy where people are looking to save money.

Merry Christmas Microsoft.

If you are looking to set up your Zune, click here.