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Elon Musk weighs in on Windows 11: 'Bring back the Zune!'

Zune HD
Zune HD (Image credit: Windows Central)

Windows 11 has been making waves, driving an uptick in Microsoft's share price while dominating the news cycle over the past two days. Even celebrities have been weighing in here and there, including the intrepid entrepeneur Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame. Musk, as it turns out, is a fan of the Zune.

In a tweet reply to CEO Satya Nadella, Musk tells the Microsoft head honcho that it's time to revive the Zune, Microsoft's cult-classic iPod competitor that was, in some ways, ahead of its time.

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The Zune was a nifty little device, but it eventually got swallowed by the rise of smartphones, with its all-you-can-eat music service eventually evolving into Xbox Music, and then Groove Music, before being shut down. Although I never had the opportunity to experience the Zune for myself (since they weren't sold in the UK), I used Groove Music for years. The superior app experience and cloud storage for music you own was, even now, far ahead of what Spotify offers. Alas, like many good things Microsoft does, it failed to achieve mainstream adoption.

Elon Musk may be joking around with his Zune tweet, but it underscores the point Satya Nadella was making in the Windows 11 reveal, about how for decades, Windows has always just kind of been there. Things like MS Paint, Solitaire, and even the Start Menu itself provoke massive nostalgia responses. And of course, our dear old Windows Phone, cut down in its prime (wipes away a tear).

With Windows 11, Microsoft potentially has an opportunity to bring a more polished and inspiring experience to a new generation of users. And who knows? Maybe twenty years in the future when we're all on Windows 18: Holographic Edition, a new generation of bloggers will be writing nostalgic posts about Windows 11 too.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

28 Comments
  • https://twitter.com/ClickHole/status/960568745298223104?s=20b as always this tweet remains relevant
  • If Elon Musk is the worst person you know (through the internet), you must be in some really great digital and physical social circles.
  • For real, what doesn't lack on the internet is people caught being a pedo.
  • Big fan of the Zune here. I still actually use my Zune HDs almost every day. Kind of collect them all. I have like 10 ZuneHDs, 6 Zune 30s, 2 Zune 120s, 1 Zune 80, and about 10 Zune flashes from 4GB to16GB. All working great (the flash Zune batteries have been replaced). Awesome little devices; especially the Zune HDs were the pinnacle of portable music players. Nothing comes close even till today!
  • Yep, just keep it in the car with all my uncompressed music attached by USB. great little device the ZuneHD
  • How ? WMA Lossless ?
  • If you liked Groove, you'd love the Zune software. So easy to use and yet quite powerful. It's still my favorite music app.
  • I use it till this day.
  • I think he was trolling.
  • He often does anyway. It should not always to be taken seriously.
  • I want Zune for Android device. Groove is already primary player on my system.
  • Oh Dear Jez, you had to give them an idea for another bland name for Windows eh? Haha. Joking aside, who knows maybe it won't take 20 years for holographic computing - when you take into account the rate of progress for digital storage. I too wish Zune was not region locked to the US either.
  • The Zune music app is still one of the best-looking music apps to date, beating Groove Music by a mile. They should just revive the app, evolve the UI/UX naturally to the Fluent Design Language, and if they don't want to focus on the music store/streaming, they can build it into a basic audio editing tool, sort of like GarageBand for MacOS. Maybe? The "Zune" name still has impact and every impartial observer can see that the hardware and software was way ahead of its time. When a product is legitimately ahead of its time and thus didn't succeed as intended, you put the concept on ice and let the times catch up then rejig and re-release! You don't just bury it forever! Courier as a concept remained in Microsoft's DNA and has now been returning bit-by-bit in the dual-screened devices. Xbox Live has transformed with the advent of cloud and now we have Xbox Game Pass which is transforming the industry as we speak. I guess the issue with Zune might be that the iPod was there all the while and streaming services have changed the landscape, but that does not hold back the need for strong local-device music. "Bring back the Zune! It's time."
  • I have an original ZUNE 80 that still works perfectly that I carried with me all over the world in my business travels, but is now a little black brick since Microsoft killed the Zune App in Windows 10.
    I can no longer load any new musics/videos on it since that requires the Zune app, so it sits in it's box now. Useless., supplanted by my smartphone.
    Sigh. Good times traveling internationally with my Zune 80 and Windows Phone(s) and having people in the airline seat next to me asking "What is THAT!?!?" and me explaining the Zune and Windows Phone (and my early Sony Noise-Reduction Headphones) to them (neither of which they had ever heard of.)
    Ahh,,, memories.......
  • If you liked groove, you would love zune. Superior in almost every metric by far. Groove was already at a point where they were on a downward spiral, especially on phones. Slow and buggy.
  • LOVED my Zune. Too bad it failed, it was a great device and the PC was was phenomenal! Too bad there is nothing like it still (close, maybe, but not 100% like it)
  • To this day, as far as I know (I searched, but gave up quickly, maybe I would have eventually found a solution), there is no way to sync a playlist for local music between Windows and a modern Android smartphone (iTunes would do it to an iPhone). I own all the music I play, so won't pay for a streaming service. Since MS shut down the Groove service attached to OneDrive, I have to manually sync via USB and manually set-up playlists on both devices. This seems barbaric. I realize I'm in the minority in not caring for music streaming, but I can't imagine I'm such a small minority that there's no market for syncing playlists between Windows and an Android phone. I'd happily pay for that app. Ideally, MS would make a Zune app (or some other name, I don't care what the name is, but I like Zune for the nostalgia angle) for Android (for the Surface Duo!!!) and for Windows and just let it sync the music and playlists when they're on the same network so it works wirelessly, via Bluetooth, or via a music folder on OneDrive. Is that too much to hope for? Go ahead and use my OneDrive data for it. Or build it into the new Your Phone app.
  • I think I'll submit that in the Feedback Hub right now for the Your Phone app...
  • Zune 4 Life!!!!! :-D
    What I really miss along with this is how fast the Windows phone was with listening to what was playing, identify it, and give you the option to purchase it.
  • That's a silly thing for a man of such wealth and power to say. But rich people can get away with anything, even this kind of childish trolling.
  • Like others here I was a big fan of Zune but mine died years back. But the Zune experience underscores MSFTs inability to appeal to the mass market. For some reason they just cannot put all the pieces together. My concern right now is that my Duo will go down the same path to oblivion as they lose interest. Anyone seen a Duo ad? Or a Duo push of any type? It is a great dev ice except for the poor integration with Android and would be even better as a native Win Mobile device.
  • Musk is just stirring the (sh**) pot.
  • Thank you guys I wonder if Microsoft might get mad at me if I create a app called zune.
  • To be honest, not even groove was accesible for me since im in romania, but windows phone was killed mostly because of microsoft and the company' multiple missed oportumities to make it stend out and bring developers to the platform. Honestly, windows phone was more popular in china, europe and africa then US, so its possible that they only conted US feedback for improvements. I still miss the lumia series when everything was fun from livetiles and xbox games to security becouse of any kind of virus/malware absence.
  • I just want MS to make a proper music player for content stored on OneDrive. Grove Music was perfect for that! Instead, the shut the Android version down completely, leaving users to find alternatives. I've found a couple that work, but still prefer Groove. It looked and worked better, IMHO.
  • One I will always say that Microsoft really had something with the Zune and it should have replaced Windows Media Player. And now I kind of want to see a Zune HD 2 running Windows Phone
  • The Zune can still succeed. The product was good. The problem was mostly bad timing and implementation. https://8bitpickle.com/products/why-did-the-microsoft-zune-fail/
  • I posted this on that thread: I still use Zune media player over groove. Last year i bought myself a Zune as is was never released in Australia. It is my favourite MP3 player ever and needs a comeback. Please Microsoft