The Microsoft Zune is Dead, Long Live the Zune
The Microsoft Zune is Dead: Apple's iPod Killed It
In somewhat unsurprising news, the Zune has been discontinued. Microsoft will continue to sell existing stock, but no new models of the would-be iPod killer will be designed or released.
Once touted as the next big thing in portable music technology, the Zune never found its audience. The Zune had cool features, but those features had bizarre limitations (I'm looking at you, music-sharing). The Zune's propensity to crash didn't help, and it was debuted as a device that tethered to Windows Vista.
I never made it through a Zune demo unit's features without it crashing, but that wasn't a scripted test- just me in a gadget shop. My experience was not an isolated one: Zunes just had trouble working. It didn't help that the Zune installation error page seemed to depict a woman having a screaming fit.
At any rate, the iPod continued to choke Zune's sales numbers, especially when Apple's music player became a full-fledged gaming device as the iPod Touch. Even the iPond Nano got in on the touchscreeniness. The Zune got HD capability in 2009 (and Truemors dissed it), but that's not particularly useful for a mobile user.
Zune DNA in Windows Phone 7
Like Ben Kenobi, the Zune's physical form is dead, but its spirit lives on in Windows Phone 7. Zune software powers the media players in the new breed of Windows smartphones, whose UIs are undeniably slick.
Having risen phoenix-like from the ashes, how long will the new incarnation of the Zune survive? That depends on the success of Windows Phone 7.
The Zune’s last completely new hardware model, the Zune HD, was released in 2009. A version that featured more storage went on sale a year later. Microsoft will continue to sell existing versions of the Zune, the person familiar with the matter said.