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Farewell Zune Devices

It seems Microsoft have finally chosen to halt development of the much greatly under-performing Zune media player, in a report published by Bloomberg. Is this a wise decision to cut off their portable media player?

We think so. Sure, the Zune has had its fair share of sales and use but for Microsoft to take the mobile competition seriously and contend with all guns blazing, they need to step up their game and increase development efforts with WP7. While the product line has suffered, the software and service has been a slight-success with the additional coverage on the Xbox 360 and WP7 platforms.

Included in the report, Bloomberg states that Microsoft will continue to sell existing models of the Zune, but will not introduce anything new. What do you think of this latest move, and do you believe it will have a positive effect on Windows Phone 7 development?

Source: Bloomberg (opens in new tab); via BusinessInsider (opens in new tab)

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

26 Comments
  • I always thought Zune was a better media player than the iPod, but as the music marketplace isn't even available in Canada, I don't really care.
  • I bought a Zune 30 about 5 or 6 years ago and I still love it. It works so well and is so sturdy i never had a reason to buy another one. I'm waiting for that HTC Arrive this weekend so I can get a taste of the most recent look and feel.
  • Me too!!! I am giving my Evo to my gf, I love that phone so much and has been so great. Very powerful, but... I have been following WP7 since the beginning of last year and am very intrigued by the interface! Cannot wait!
  • It was about time MS pulled the plug on the Zune hardware. It's been on life support since 2006 and things weren't looking up. And now, as he mp3 market continues to shrink it makes even less sense for MS to pour more money into the Zune hardware. Now, I love me some Zune **** use it everyday, but MS is best to let the software live on via smartphones, tablets, and the home PC. If MS is smart they'll bundle it with Windows 8.Edit:Seriously? P*A*S*S is censored, lol.
  • copy & pasted from https://www.facebook.com/ZuneHey ZuneNation - here's what WE have to say: We’re absolutely committed to providing the best movies, music, and TV show experiences through Zune on Xbox, the PC, Windows Phone 7 and Zune devices. We’ll share more information about the evolution of the Zune entertainment service and Zune hardware as future plans develop. Thanks for being a part of this awesome community!
  • I always felt they needed to expand the Zunesphere to include a Nano and, more importantly, a shuffle competitor. Zune **** is awesome, and I think people would like a small player to take jogging.
  • ... They did create a Zune "nano" ... man, Microsoft's marketing really IS that bad if this isn't common knowledge geeks like all of us here. I love my Zune HD though. It's the best, and i'm really sad that Microsoft isn't making any new devices. :/
  • Very Sad day for microsoft this is a market that they should not leave but improve now with the new windows phone sofware they should have put this on an mp3 player apple in the 4th quarter of 2010 sold 19 million Ipods this market is far from dead and if they can use window phone software and apps on a new zune it would be popular ..not everyone under the age of 13 has a cell phone but they do play xbox and would love a portable gaming device this is a huge microsoft mistake.
  • I agree. They should have had another version of the Zune HD, one with a larger screen, WP7 OS, and obviously without the cellular capabilities. However, for them to do this, the Zune player on WP7 must be improved: Smart DJ needs to be added, ability to edit and create playlists, add an Equalizer, etc.
  • I'm find with the exit of Zune branded devices so long as we get a WP7 Touch to replace it.That said, I think I may buy a Zune HD 64GB before they go away forever.
  • The iPod touch is a giant part of iOS's success. How is Microsoft gonna sell devices to 12-15 year olds if they only come with a phone plan? Not to mention most phones don't offer more than 16 GB. I think the Zune brand is a name isn't gonna go anywhere, but it should be part of Microsoft's strategy to at least offer a PMP only type device that plays the same games. It is conceivable to me that they could release an Xbox branded device as such.
  • How will they sell to 12-13yo? Easy, MS can sell the Zune OS to PMP OEMs and let them make the hardware. It's what MS does best, sell software, it never wanted to dive into a hardware match with Apple.
  • You know......even if Microsoft commissioned HTC, LG, or Samsung to build an Xbox branded device. I mean, Sharp made the Zune HD's and Kin's.
  • Now I wonder if we can finally just have one Media solution from MS on windows. I understand that the antitrust made Zune come into exsistance and as that disapears so does Zune. With a harder push into the market and better ideas put into the software. I can't wait.
  • I Hate this decision!!! im sry but i will not use my WinPhone7 for music playing music sound horrible compared to my ZuneHD ohh not to mention the battery life is completely different my zune battery last for every compared to my phone
  • Complete speculation but: Given Microsoft's history, is it possible they are cutting only *internal* development of the hardware? My guess is innovation & market differentiation could be better achieved by letting OEM's develop stand alone Zune devices. It seems it would match the rest of Microsoft's OS strategy too.
  • Yes, I think this might be the case as well. I think MS just wants to sell the OS, be it a Zune only ZuneHD OS or a WP7 without the phone (and some other bits a PMP doesn't need, like office maybe).I'm sure the PMP makers out there are dying to use something so smoother and slick like the Zune software on their hardware, plus they then get access to the Zune marketplace as a bonus.
  • Guys, I think we're overlooking the possibility that MS will have a PMP version of WP7 (take out the phone and probably office stuff) and then license that out to OEMs as well, this basically lets others make future "Zune" hardware so MS can just do what it does best, sell software.This could be why we have the rumors of the Zune brand changing, the shift to it being a pure software+services only solution means that they could start a new brand that's tied more to WP7 and Xbox which is where a PMP basically falls between.
  • I do hope they have some kind of device without a cell radio so that the ecosystem can expand beyond phones and possibly give iFruits a true competitor.
  • I think MS will license the Zune software out, that's what I expect. Then the 3rd party OEMs can make Zune supported PMPs etc. More choice and more devices (like with smartphones) works out better in the end.
  • I will cherish my Zune 80 until the day it dies. Hopefully many years from now.As of now, it is functioning well as a multimedia alarm clock, alongside my iHome clock radio.
  • Zune employee says otherwise:http://anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=62057
  • Everybody knows that the tech media is never wrong about anything. Here's a blast from the past: http://news.cnet.com/2100-1032_3-1011859.htmlFunny that the rumors on the end of Zune devices are getting traction on IE9 launch day - a day that thoroughly refutes the article above (IE7 and IE8 launch days did as well). :D
  • This disappoints me to the point of making me very angry.There is, and will continue to be, a need for physical portable media players/devices. Apple moves millions upon millions of iPods every quarter, and the demand for which requires a product refresh every year. I simply have no desire whatsoever to subject myself to any product ecosystem that has anything to do with iTunes.Zune media software is superior in every way to iTunes. The Windows Phone 7 running on my Samsung Focus is superior to iOS in every meaningful way (minus the app catalog of course).Microsoft has left me and every Zune owner hanging by giving us a product that we like, then choosing not to compete with the Apple behemoth on their terms. Now they are going to let Zune die on the vine. Why should I maintain a Zune pass any longer? By the way, I maintain two Zune **** accounts for myself and my wife, because between the two of us we have five Zune devices and my WP7 phone along with my Xbox 360 with Xbox Live Gold subscription. Although Zune **** is vaguely interesting on my Xbox 360 and WP7 phone, there is no more need for me to have it if and when my Zunes die or I get tired of them (30, 120, and 32 HD) down the road.The Apple PR machine is intimidating ... and their effect on otherwise normal people's common sense is amazing ... but MS is just incapable of presenting their product to the public in a way that is appealing in any way whatsoever. Are Microsoft going to do the same thing with Windows Phone 7 once I really begin to enjoy my device, but they fail to make market share gains against the iOS and Android monsters, BB OS, and the perhaps up and coming WebOS?Microsoft failed with Zune right off the bat. And now that they are abandoning the devices, they are failing every single one of us who for whatever reason we may have, must now either bite a bullet that we do NOT want to bite, and drag myself kicking and screaming into a frigging Apple Store to buy an iPod ... or make do without a portable media player.This news has been coming for awhile. The rumors of this announcement have been swirling for months now. The more I tihnk about it, the more it really pisses me off.
  • In a way I see this as a mimic of the Apple Strategy. The current Zune devices are very good and fill a niche market (dedicated MP3 players), but are single use. Apple hasn't refreshed or changed the iPod Classic in a number of generations (other than upping the storage on occasion) and instead of focused on the iPod Touch. MS can still make a living with the current Zune hardware and focus on developing the WP7 platform, the consistency of the Zune software between the two platforms gives them an advantage in that the Zune hardware can be more useful (say Zune pass between a WP7 phone and dedicated Zune). I have a Samsung Focus which does great for certain things, but the Zune experience lacks from its inability to output or control through the USB in my Ford Sync. I also have a Zune HD that I keep plugged in the car which gives me complete control over the materials. In addition, I find that the Zune HD is smaller and lighter than the iPod touches, working better for working out and such.Go for it MS, work on the Zune platform and the Zune **** experience and let the Zune HD be, it is as good as it needs to be right now.
  • Good if Microsoft ain't willing to bring the fight to apple then they give up. WP7 is a nice os and needs a lot of help if it wants a larger piece of the market.