Farewell, Zune. Microsoft’s red-headed stepchild of the mobile content world has been put out of its misery. The official statement from Microsoft follows.
We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players. So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. Your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honour the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our very last devices. Customer service has been, and will remain a top priority for us.
As early as March this year, speculations abounded regarding the fate of the Zune, with Microsoft shelving the product in stores. The Zune Store will live on though, especially with its Xbox Live integration.
Microsoft vehemently denies the death-knell of its Zune services, saying “We’re not ‘killing’ any of the Zune services/features in any way. Microsoft remains committed to providing a great music and video experience from Zune on platforms such as Xbox Live, Windows-based PCs, Zune devices and Windows Phone 7, as well as integration with Bing and MSN.”
The Zune’s downfall was epic in nature. The Zune launched in 2006 as competition for the iPod, offering many advantages over the Apple device such as a much larger screen, an FM radio and album art.
Microsoft’s attempt to address the issues of smartphones becoming the preferred media device resulted in the release of the Kin. It spectacularly crashed and burned upon entry.
In 2009, the Zune rebooted with the Zune HD but in the wake of phones such as the iPhone 3GS, the newest Zune was left to gather dust on the shelves despite Microsoft continuing to support the hardware.