Microsoft buries Zune

Daniel Ionescu, Macworld
16 March, 2011
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Microsoft has nixed any future iterations of its Zune music and video player, according to a Bloomberg report, adding another name on the list of devices killed by Apple’s iPod hardware and entertainment ecosystem.

Microsoft has yet to make the death of its Zune official, but unofficial it’s believed the decision is based on poor demand for its players since the Zune line was introduced almost five years ago.

In the music and video player market, Apple’s iPod is still king. NPD’s figures put its domination at around 77 percent of the market last year. In comparison, Microsoft’s players weren’t even in the top five devices on the market, despite a price drop in early 2010.

Zune’s inevitable hardware demise won’t be sudden though. According to Bloomberg’s sources, Microsoft will continue to sell existing versions of Zune, probably until remaining stock is exhausted.

In 2009, when the last major overhaul of the Zune hardware was introduced, I wrote that the device was no iPod killer. Two years down the line, Microsoft’s ambitions to beat Apple in the industry it revolutionized didn’t work. But the Zune name won’t be consigned to the annals of tech history any time soon. As Technologizer’s Ed Oswald predicted back in February, the software platform from Microsoft will live on.

In 2009, Microsoft separated the Zune team into two separate divisions: software and hardware. So if Bloomberg’s sources are accurate, Microsoft will continue to invest in Zune software through integrating it in Windows Phone 7, the company’s latest smartphone OS, as well as with the Xbox ecosystem and, of course, Windows.


6 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Peter T. says:

    As so many sites have been saying, “Zune has been Kinned”.

  2. bennish says:

    Why is every single picture for this story the old, original Zune?

    It went through like, two more generations after that. Kinda like showing a 3rd gen ipod classic.

    Ohhh, of course. It makes it look dumber. Here I was thinking facts and journalism were important, not slant and sensationalism.

    You’re usually MUCH better, Macworld. Don’t start giving in to childish bias like a lot of the online blogs.

  3. bennish says:

    Not to mention, Zune is ‘dead’ in the same way ‘iPhone OS’ is dead… the name basically changed (became ‘ios’).

    Zune is now part of Windows Phone 7 which, from my understanding, is enjoying reasonable (not amazing, but reasonable) success.

    Credit where credit’s due, guys, and FACTS are really nice too.

  4. Peter T. says:

    Bennish, that is not quite correct in my understanding. Zune is the hardware, like iPods, and it has been canned, or “Kinned”. What you refer-to is the Zune Marketplace, or whatever name it has this week, and that has been integrated into other areas. Zune Marketplace is the equivalent of iTunes. So, the FACT is that Zune HAS been Kinned.

  5. bennish says:

    Peter T, I’m not sure what the snide remark ‘whatever name it has this week’ means. As far as I know, Zune Marketplace has been called Zune Marketplace for the past, what, five years, and hasn’t changed name once.

    Fair enough on your other arguments, but that bit baffles me.

    For the record I’ve never owned a Zune, all I’m interested in is unbiased reporting.

  6. Peter T. says:

    Zune was only released in the USA (and possibly, only fairly recently, in Canda), which probably accounts for why you have never seen one.

    The remark was not snide; rather referred to reports that MS has changed or is about to change the name of Zune Marketplace to something else and I cannot recall the speculation of that new name.

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