Doom for Zune as Hardware Halted


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Microsoft is said to have abandoned plans to release any new Zune hardware. It will still work on the underlying media player, including versions running on Windows Phone 7 handsets.

The news comes from Bloomberg, quoting a “person familiar with the decision.” Microsoft hasn’t disputed the claims, simply noting that there is nothing to announce about a new device, but noting the company’s “long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms.”

The Zune was a classic story of Microsoft being far too late to the party. The first Zune players came out in late 2006, by which time the iPod was already on its fifth generation. Facing a major marketing handicap, Microsoft struggled to come up with reasons why people should opt for the Zune over other portable media players. The result was sales that look to have been a few million, compared with something in the region of 300 million iPods to date.

The company also tried its own online music store, Zune Marketplace, which currently has a range almost as broad as iTunes. And it even tried manufacturing its own mobile phones with Zune built-in, a costly project that was abandoned after reported sales of less than 10,000 units. The technology does remain available as an app running on third-party phones running Windows Phone 7 though.

It’s telling that the most notable story about the Zune came on New Year’s Eve 2008 when 30GB models around the world crashed and then froze up. That turned out to be a 24 hour problem caused by the Zune not realizing that 2008 was a leap year and thus being confused when it found an “extra” day at the end of the year.

Of course, Microsoft is hardly alone in such matters: as iPhone users who rely on the handset’s alarm are becoming well aware, Apple seems to have trouble with the concept of Daylight Savings Time.





10 Responses to Doom for Zune as Hardware Halted

  1. I have a zune and i like it better than the Ipod. The Zune have a FM radio receiver which Ipod doesn't come with and my zune lasted more than 2 years now and its still going strong. My Ipod, not so much, it broke after a year in change, right after the warranty expired.

  2. This makes me sad :( all my music is on Zune and I've been saving to purchase a replacement as my last one went to hell and back and still made it out alive, only to die months later from careless friends :/ 120gigs of space on an amazing device that I can't use…way better than 8gigs that are long ago full for my crappy iPod Touch :(

  3. Do remember that they're not halting production, but rather putting new Zunes at a far lower priority.

  4. Well, that’s crappy.
    I was just telling someone the other day about how I’ve had it with Itunes. I have an ipod touch I got a year or so back, and just recently bought a new computer. I did EVERYTHING THEY TOLD ME TO DO to ensure my music would transfer to the new library. I made backup discs and everything. Well, half of my music Itunes can’t locate because of some anti-piracy bullshit, even though the files are on the new computer, and some of the music is just gone. Period. I spent upwards of $300 on music from Itunes, and they can’t even let me transfer my files, or play the songs on windows media player or any other device? I would rather just get a zune and be done with it.

    • i know what your talking about. that is why i refuse to buy any Apple mobile devices with their BS iTunes being the only way to transfer things to and from the device and DRM media. i make sure when i buy something it has a mass storage type interface. just copypasta compatible files into the directory, power on and maybe let it rebuild its library and voilà.
      actually- i just did a search and there are other programs that will sync with iPods and such. but i'd still rather just access the file system instead of having to use extra software.. and the whole sync thing. for those who actually buy all their music off itunes and have invested hundreds its horrible when you sync with a new computer and, oops. hey! where'd all my music go? not a problem when you download from elsewhere or have your collection on CDs. no copyright bullshit

  5. Well, that’s crappy.
    I was just telling someone the other day about how I’ve had it with Itunes. I have an ipod touch I got a year or so back, and just recently bought a new computer. I did EVERYTHING THEY TOLD ME TO DO to ensure my music would transfer to the new library. I made backup discs and everything. Well, half of my music Itunes can’t locate because of some anti-piracy bullshit, even though the files are on the new computer, and some of the music is just gone. Period. I spent upwards of $300 on music from Itunes, and they can’t even let me transfer my files, or play the songs on windows media player or any other device? I would rather just get a zune and be done with it.

  6. Well, that's crappy.
    I was just telling someone the other day about how I've had it with Itunes. I have an ipod touch I got a year or so back, and just recently bought a new computer. I did EVERYTHING THEY TOLD ME TO DO to ensure my music would transfer to the new library. I made backup discs and everything. Well, half of my music Itunes can't locate because of some anti-piracy bullshit, even though the files are on the new computer, and some of the music is just gone. Period. I spent upwards of $300 on music from Itunes, and they can't even let me transfer my files, or play the songs on windows media player or any other device? I would rather just get a zune and be done with it.

  7. I made backup discs and everything. Well, half of my music Itunes cannot locate because of some anti-piracy bullshit, although the files are on the new computer, as well as some of the music is gone. Period.

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  8. I owned an iPod for about 3 months. The day the Zune was released, I sold my iPod to a coworker and bought a (brown!) 30Gb Zune. I still use it and love it, and have added a 16Gb Zune HD to my collection. I don't love the HD as much, but I still like it more than any iPod I've ever seen.

    Sad news, indeed.

  9. Zune's real failing is the marketing, in my opinion. It's like they gave up and 'admitted' the iPod was better before they even got started. I've had Zunes since they started coming out, because they're cheaper for more space, and they can use a lot more file formats. I do remember when my 30 GB crashed (I'd upgraded by then, but a friend was using it), and that WAS almost the end of it for me, but they came back from it shortly afterwards with more robust software.

    Anyway, if they actually advertised this in a straightforward way, instead of trying to come across as maybe vaguely 'edgier' than the iPods, maybe they would've succeeded. I currently have a red 80GB Zune with a huge screen on it (although not a touchscreen, like I care). I have several movies and a number of tv shows on it, and the battery lasts about 6 hours for VIDEO, about 10 hours for music. They're great for flights. I really hope they keep making these, but even if they don't, I'll buy old ones off of eBay.