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MSFT to Kill Off Zune Hardware, Retain Software

By - Source: Bloomberg | B 36 comments

Sorry Zune fans, but it seems your beloved PMP’s days might be numbered.

Last month, there were some unpleasant rumors that Microsoft was about to kill off the Zune devices and retain the brand for media services on the company's Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system. Microsoft attempted to dispel such talk with a statement via its Facebook page that said Zune services were safe. The company insisted it wasn't killing off "any Zune services or features" but that still left room for speculation about the devices themselves.

Fast forward a month and the rumors have come back for round two with Bloomberg citing a source that says Microsoft will stop introducing new versions of the Zune "because of tepid demand." Instead, this source says Microsoft is going to focus on putting the Zune software onto other devices, such as phones running Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft is staying quiet, telling Bloomberg it has nothing to announce about another Zune device but remains committed to supporting Zune devices in North America. The company did, however, hint that we could soon see Zune services on WP7 and Xbox 360.

"We are thrilled by the consumer excitement for Zune across many new platforms, including Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360," Microsoft said in the emailed statement to Bloomberg.

"Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms."

So, Zune services are going to hit WP7 and Xbox 360 eventually, but what of the Zune's fate as far as hardware is concerned? Well, it doesn't take a genius to piece it all together. Though Microsoft has not confirmed plans to ditch the Zune as a device, the company has confirmed it has nothing to announce about another iteration of the Zune. And, while it's pledged to continue support for Zune devices in North America, Redmond's statement about continuing North American support leads one to believe other markets can forget about ever seeing the Zune on shelves.

Do you think Microsoft will ditch the Zune hardware? Let us know in the comments below!

Discuss
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  • 2 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , March 15, 2011 9:59 PM
    Wow, and so it finally happens... well, unofficially. Microsoft basically killed off the Zune HD five months after its release, so this is no surprise whatsoever. All I remember is getting marked down like crazy a year ago for suggesting basically the same thing as this article. I wasn't alone either, anyone with the time should have a quick look at the official Zune forums, it's not pretty.

    "because of tepid demand."
    LOL, it was never marketed to begin with. Has anyone here ever seen a Zune HD commercial? I'm not even sure I've ever seen an advert for one... anywhere. It probably doesn't help that software development for the device was locked from the get go, or that Microsoft basically killed off what little development existed for the device 5 months into its release.
  • 2 Hide
    STravis , March 15, 2011 10:04 PM
    In essence, they had no idea how to market this device and had no idea how to attract customers.
  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , March 15, 2011 10:17 PM
    The only problem with Zune was that it's not an iPod and only worked with Windows systems. They should have called it iZune.

    Realistically though, separate media players will eventually disappear as the functionality will be merged into cell phones. Consumer digital cameras may suffer the same fate.
  • -1 Hide
    beta tester , March 15, 2011 10:25 PM
    Another Microsoft failure.

    If Zune failed, then it's inevitable that the Zune phone (Windows Phone 7) will fail.

    Both late to market. Poorly executed. Not sold in all regions of the world. Unwanted by the public. Always destined for failure.
  • 1 Hide
    g-thor , March 15, 2011 10:31 PM
    If they kill off the hardware and only support the software, let's hope they are smart enough to not lock it into WP7 only. I would be very happy to see a viable alternative to iTunes for my computer and Android phone. I've never taken to the iTunes interface.
  • 0 Hide
    11796pcs , March 15, 2011 10:33 PM
    STravis- you hit it right on the money- you would have to be a diehard Microsoft fan to have even heard of the Zune. Microsoft didn't do anything to advertise the Zune. How do you expect to sell anything if no one knows about your product? In the meantime Apple is going crazy with the iPod to the extent that everyone knows its name. You can't throw a device on the market and just expect it to catch on. Microsoft should have made it competitive with the iPod. Sell it for nothing and get a userbase. Do some of those ads that Apple does where they showcase a couple of apps for the iPhone that everyone oohs and ahhs at. EVEN IF THEY COPYED AND PASTED APPLE'S COMMERCIALS AND REPLACED IPOD WITH ZUNE THEY WOULD STILL BE DOING A BETTER JOB THEN THEY ARE CURRENTLY DOING TO MARKET THE ZUNE. It's almost like they design their products to fail because they put such lack of effort into marketing them.
  • 0 Hide
    soundefx , March 15, 2011 10:59 PM
    I didn't see this one coming. I thought that they were doing ok.
  • 0 Hide
    zoemayne , March 15, 2011 11:03 PM
    dam i was gonna get one cause the price dropped nicely
  • 0 Hide
    starryman , March 15, 2011 11:07 PM
    I swear I thought the Zune was on the clearance rack last year. I guess I was wrong but I guess now it's official that it's dead.
  • -1 Hide
    eklipz330 , March 15, 2011 11:24 PM
    THIS NEWS IS OLD READ THIS

    "ALL consumer electronics products have a lifespan, and the Zune HD is 18mo old. We were completely frank about this year's Zune hardware being the WP7 phones, and we continue to both sell and fully support the Zune HD line of products. And as I've promised – we continue to bring new apps and games to the platform. More of those are in the works, I promise you."

    -Dave McLauchlan, Senior Business Development Manager for Zune
  • 0 Hide
    eklipz330 , March 15, 2011 11:24 PM
    zoemaynedam i was gonna get one cause the price dropped nicely


    you should. the 16gb is a STEAL compared to the ipod nano
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 15, 2011 11:59 PM
    @beta tester

    dare you to go pick up a Zune HD and then say it's poorly executed, the Zune HD was a pretty decent media device actually, it did some really good things like over the air sync, media sharing and superior sound quality and the on board software wasn't half bad too, i for one will be sorry to hear it's demise, ultimately the iPhone had more to do with it's demise then the iPod
  • 0 Hide
    mdillenbeck , March 16, 2011 12:06 AM
    jhansonxi. . . Realistically though, separate media players will eventually disappear as the functionality will be merged into cell phones. Consumer digital cameras may suffer the same fate.


    While I can see it happening with MP3 players, consumer cameras disappearing is not realistic. No one wants a bulky phone, and may people want a decent picture and thus need a better lens that what cellphones will have. However, I will agree the market will shrink significantly as more people will settle for typically having a cellphone camera on them when they are doing general activities (no zoom/large prints needed).
  • 0 Hide
    xerroz , March 16, 2011 12:26 AM
    Let's be honest though, the Zune, especially the Zune HD was not only raelly good looking but it did everything else exceptionally. The only thing holding it back was that the fact that MS barely marketed it and maybe that it doesn't have apps or at least as much as the iPod could have, but tbh its better than the iPod at everything else.

    I like MS and all but I SWEAR, I never heard of Zune until months after the Zune HD came out. You can get a Zune HD 32 GB for $190 on Newegg which is quite nice!!
  • 0 Hide
    dgriffs , March 16, 2011 12:48 AM
    I actually bought a 32gb zune hd and I have been very happy with it. It's disappointing though because zune seemed to be the only set of devices that could realistically compete with apple.
  • 0 Hide
    nebun , March 16, 2011 12:56 AM
    jhansonxiThe only problem with Zune was that it's not an iPod and only worked with Windows systems. They should have called it iZune.Realistically though, separate media players will eventually disappear as the functionality will be merged into cell phones. Consumer digital cameras may suffer the same fate.

    i would love to have a well performing 10 megapixel cam on my cell....can't wait for the day when i will not need carry a separate camera to take pics
  • 0 Hide
    K3vBot6000 , March 16, 2011 1:09 AM
    I love my Zune 80GB and it is still running strong after 3 years, which is more than I can say about iPods my friends have had over the years. It is sturdy with a nice interface and software, the screen is beautiful, it is the perfect portable music device for me.
  • 0 Hide
    caeden , March 16, 2011 1:46 AM
    man, I thought they stoped making the zune years ago, never even heard about the Zune HD. Kinda sad to see them go. I know the old ones had much better quality output than the iPods ever have.
  • 0 Hide
    Czar ZAch , March 16, 2011 3:04 AM
    I use my Zune HD 16gb every day driving a tractor around from dusk until dawn. I use the HD radio continuously and it still has about half of a charge at the end of the day. Battery life is excellent, size is conveniently slim for your pockets, User interface is drop-dead sexy and fluid. It's good stuff ladies and gentleman, get yourself one while their still around. Or at least since you know about them now, do some digging.
  • 0 Hide
    blakeniel , March 16, 2011 4:01 AM
    what took so long?
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