Is Microsoft Distancing Themselves From The Zune?

Is Microsoft Distancing Themselves From The Zune?

Given the lackluster success of the Zune line over the years, would anyone really be shocked if Microsoft pulled the plug? We sort of doubt it, and according to reports, the company may be on the verge of doing so. Numerous sites are noticing that Microsoft executives have been hesitant to use the Zune word in discussions, and it's unusual for Microsoft to distance themselves from something they care about dearly and/or are spending valuable marketing resources on.

As for the Zune's future? It's all up in the air for now. There could be a rebranding, or there could be an outright execution. With Nokia now in the mix, there's even an outlandish possibility that Ovi Music technology could take the place of the Zune brand. There's no question that the Zune name is recognizable in the inner circle of tech followers, but outside in the mainstream consumer world, it's pretty much iPod or nothing. Even SanDisk's CEO said years back that it was impossible to "out iPod the iPod," and so far, that quote has proven accurate.


Microsoft isn't one to hold back on killing things that aren't working. The Kin line of phones was abolished shortly after launch, and considering that we've seen a lot more iPod/iPhone commercials of late than Zune ones, we wouldn't be surprised if the rumor mill proved accurate here too. According to ZDNet, this is Microsoft's response to a question about the Zune's future:

"“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.”


That's easy to say for now, but will this still be true in a month? A year? It's tough to say, but each and every day that Microsoft chooses to ignore the Zune, the iPod is pulling farther and farther ahead.
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iPod -> iPhone

Zune -> Kin, Windows Phone 7

Distancing themselves from the brand probably wouldn't hurt them at all.  I've never seen anyone with a Zune, and never seen them referenced on TV except as part of jokes:

Family Guy:  (Carter asks Bill Gates)  "Mr. Gates, can you help me re program my Zune? Oh yeah, That's right. I have an iPod like the rest of the world."

Chuck: Do we carry any Rush CD's?
Morgan: No, but not to worry buddy! I have every Rush track on my Zune.
Chuck: Wait, you have a Zune!?
Morgan: Pfft! No, I'll go get my iPod.

I know there was a joke about it on Big Bang Theory too..  but I can't remember how the line went enough to Google for it at the moment.

It might have been more successful if they had called it "WinPlayer" or anything like that which implied it had something in common with they're desktop OS (Like they're doing with Windows Phone 7) so as to trick people into thinking they need that specific player for compatibility.

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LOL 3vi1.... If anyone wants a free zune 80 silicon case... let me know, i'll send it to you regular mail... pro-bono.

Dont even ask how i have it, i just do. Black and while init? silicon cases. And they're right... its not that zunes a bad device... its just bland, and the zune software sucks... theres not a single feature i want in one of those devices, or anything that stands out.

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Such a shame, the Zune had potential but I guess Microsoft squandered it so much that it never saw the light of day.

Honestly, I never owned a Zune. Sure they looked cool and different but I guess I just wasn't attracted to them. Also this is the first time I've seen a "Zune" in a news article since last year, I guess that's how important the brand really is.

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I feel pretty angry at microsoft for basically stopping all development on my Zune. I bought a iphone to spite them.

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Never bought an iPod or Zune. Got a 2nd gen iRiver Clix instead and love it. Sleek, good sound, cool interface, and a awesome screen for it's size. Check it out.

[View:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2146032,00.asp]

Good luck finding one now though, too bad.

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I actually would have bought a Zune over an iPod... had Microsoft not put the artificial intellectual property rights of the consortiums over the basic rights of the user. Microsoft has the worst track record of all on DRM.

If I'm a good guy and pay for something, but can't use it wherever and however I want, of what use is it to me?

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Totally agree with you. These media companies are entitled to make money, but if I have paid for it, then leave me alone.

And Microsoft is out of control, especially when it comes to business licenses. Not only do you have to buy the OS for each client computer and the server OS, but you then have to buy licenses to connect clients to the server! What's up with that? I though the whole point of having a server was to serve clients. Shouldn't a server be able to do that without the need for extra licenses?

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