New numbers from a market research firm indicate that

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

surpassed

SanDisk

(SNDK)

as the No. 2 vendor of MP3 players behind

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

during the week of the

Zune debut.

For the week ended Nov. 18, Microsoft had a 9% unit share and 13% dollar share of the U.S. portable player market, while Apple had 63% unit share and 72.5% dollar share.

"Microsoft attracted early adopters in a successful launch week for Zune, eking out SanDisk as the No. 2 digital audio player vendor," NPD's Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis, said in a statement. "This was especially impressive given the Zune's single capacity configuration and relatively high price point."

Still, the Zune was outsold by players that are compatible with Microsoft's PlaysForSure technology as a group, he said.

PlaysForSure prevents unauthorized copying of music and ensures that songs sold from music services like

Napster

( NAPS) and

RealNetworks'

(RNWK) - Get Report

Rhapsody will play on a variety of different MP3 players. Portable devices that run Windows-based software are compatible with PlaysForSure, but Microsoft's own Zune is not.

The new statistics are a bit of encouraging news for the beleaguered behemoth which has received

less-than-stellar reviews of its new music player and has been

handily outsold by its competitors on sites like

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

since the holiday shopping season kicked off on Friday.

Microsoft shares added 21 cents to $29.60 in recent trading on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Apple slipped 19 cents to $91.62 while SanDisk shed 84 cents to $43.93.