Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirms no Zune HD for Europe

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed on Monday that the software giant has no plans to release the Zune HD in Europe.

Speaking at Microsoft's UK Tech Days event, Ballmer denied there were any plans to release the Zune HD in Europe. "We need to focus on Windows Phone 7" said Ballmer when questioned if the Zune HD would arrive in the UK.

Microsoft revealed in September that they will be expanding their Zune marketplace, music and video services to international markets this fall. Many had hoped that this could mean the Zune HD would arrive overseas but Ballmer put these speculations to rest today. Microsoft is pinning its hopes on Zune Pass in the UK and European markets. Zune Pass provides unlimited access to the several million songs Microsoft offers with its Zune Marketplace. Users can access the Marketplace using PC software, in a browser or on a Zune HD device. Microsoft also offers the service on Windows Phone 7 and the Xbox 360 devices.

Image Credit: Alfonso Surroca (Flickr)

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I hope I haven't caused too much with this question, I'd been asked many times by people here in the UK about Zune HD and the Q&A at TechDays in London was a surprise and the question entered my mind once again, and thought I'd ask - I actually expected the Zune for Windows Phone 7 being the focus, it looks great and in many ways better than the Zune experience and a "nothing to announce for Europe" answer, the definitive "no" was the response instead, which at least means those who want Zune in Europe (they exist) can get the experience on Windows Phone 7 or on the Xbox 360, which includes me (although I own 2 Zunes myself) and no longer have to wonder if a Zune is coming, not that anyone would not buy a phone on the off chance of a Zune HD release in the UK. I just wanted that point clarified, it was not meant as a direct criticism.
I think the Zune experience as a whole is great with the Zune Software, Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7 being the main platforms for the service - no Zune HD is not the end of the world.

Right, they don't have plan for Zune HD in EU that doesn't mean they are not planning to release a Zune HD2 in EU.

dhan said,
Right, they don't have plan for Zune HD in EU that doesn't mean they are not planning to release a Zune HD2 in EU.

People want a WP7 devices without the Phone yet can't seem to understand that the ZuneHD ISN'T that at all.

I like the fact that WP7 is the priority first, Zune is just a part of that.

dhan said,
Right, they don't have plan for Zune HD in EU that doesn't mean they are not planning to release a Zune HD2 in EU.

Dreaming much?
Like a unicorn the Zune HD 2 is not coming. Better get an iPod Touch or an Android PMP from Archos Samsung if you dont want to expend in a phone.

Ricardo Dawkins said,

Dreaming much?
Like a unicorn the Zune HD 2 is not coming. Better get an iPod Touch or an Android PMP from Archos Samsung if you dont want to expend in a phone.

Eh, the Zune HD 2 is coming out in 2011. They're doing hardware upgrades on 2 year cycles now. Just because you don't know, doesn't mean you should being rude to those that hope for one.

Next time Europe will think twice about suing Microsoft for billions and asking them to modify their OS. I won't be surprised if Microsoft will decide not to release the next version of Windows to Europe.

.Neo said,
Microsoft will think a thousand times about giving up a market with half a billion potential customers.

When you get sued for some silly things and ordered to pay an insance amount of money, it's no longer a half a billion market.

Andrey said,
Next time Europe will think twice about suing Microsoft for billions and asking them to modify their OS. I won't be surprised if Microsoft will decide not to release the next version of Windows to Europe.

If thats the case: They can also say goodbye to their marketshare then while Mac OS X and Linux distros will take over.

Andrey said,

When you get sued for some silly things and ordered to pay an insance amount of money, it's no longer a half a billion market.

You should submit your resume to MS....... you could have more chances to be hired than you imagine.
Similis cum similibus....

Andrey said,
When you get sued for some silly things and ordered to pay an insance amount of money, it's no longer a half a billion market.

Microsoft being sued reduces the amount of people living in the European Union?

Andrey said,
Next time Europe will think twice about suing Microsoft for billions and asking them to modify their OS. I won't be surprised if Microsoft will decide not to release the next version of Windows to Europe.

Hahaha...oh dear, it gets me when unbelievably ignorant people make ridiculous comments, it really does!

A phone less version will probably come out summer next year, which will be the Zune HD 2 for all intents and purposes.

The ZuneHD is fine if all you want in Europe is Zune, those who want or expect it to be the Ipot Touch to WP7 are way off. The hardware doesn't match, and the OS's aren't the same and never will be. Apps made for WP7 WILL NOT run on the ZuneHD. There is no point outside of adding yet another MP3 player only to a market that has a good chunk of them as it is.

Now if the rumors of a ZuneHD2 that is basically WP7 without the "phone" are true, that will be the device that goes outside the US since it'll work with all the WP7 apps as well.

Is the Zune HD ever going to see an update? I'm sorry, but they are going to need to do a serious refresh of the hardware to stay alive in the market.

Shadrack said,
Is the Zune HD ever going to see an update? I'm sorry, but they are going to need to do a serious refresh of the hardware to stay alive in the market.

Why?....the Zune HD is less than 13 months old. That hardly requires a refresh.

NPGMBR said,

Why?....the Zune HD is less than 13 months old. That hardly requires a refresh.


Yet Apple releases a new iPod touch every 12 months.

I agree with Ballmer, for now Zune benefits most by staying focused on Windows Phone 7. Its not that wouldn't want to but let Windows Phone 7 create some marketshare for Zune. Also, with the upcoming Windows slate devices you have to wonder how much of a market there will be left for those handheld slates. If and when they are ready to launch a handheld slate in Europe, I'm pretty sure it will be a next generation Zune HD and not the current model. I do think Microsoft would be wise to have a low cost flash device available in most markets. Do they do that themselves is the question. I would like to see Microsoft try the partner model once again for sub $100 flash devices. You know, if Zune makes some significant gains, I wouldn't be surprised if OEMs approached them to do just that.

It's a really great device. It seems a shame that Microsoft seems to have back-burnered it. Perhaps they should just turn it into a WP7 "microtablet" like the iPod Touch.

In other words: "The Zune HD really wasn't worth all the time and money, so we're better off selling what we've already made domestically to save a few bucks."

Business is business and Microsoft knows it best.

Educated Idiot said,
In other words: "The Zune HD really wasn't worth all the time and money, so we're better off selling what we've already made domestically to save a few bucks."

Business is business and Microsoft knows it best.

It is not really true, because the service bit of Zune is now integrated in Windows Phone 7 and XBox, which should be internationally available.

.Neo said,
And Microsoft still wonders why Apple is doing so well after the introduction of the iPod.

ZuneHD =/= WP7 version of the iPod Touch. It seems to me you're clueless about the differences between the two. Why go looking for a touch like WP7 device and getting a ZuneHD that has ZERO compatibility with WP7 apps? You're asking for something that doesn't exist at this point in time period.

Just speculating, but hopefully an international release of a Zune HD2 sometime in 2011 instead, after the WP7 dust settles a bit. The Zune Marketplace is coming to Europe* this fall, after all.

* Some countries, at least.

I can see why they want to focus on Windows Phone 7, but continuing to deny the non-American market of Zune HDs is ensuring the continued dominance of iPods. Before I bought the reasons of Microsoft being unable to release it worldwide due to the Zune Marketplace requiring to abide by the copyright laws and/or industry rules of various countries (for instance up here) but now there's simply no excuse.

Cue all of the Europeans on here crying foul that an American company decided to release a device only in America. Nevermind that many European and Asian companies do the same type of thing all the time.

roadwarrior said,
Cue all of the Europeans on here crying foul that an American company decided to release a device only in America. Nevermind that many European and Asian companies do the same type of thing all the time.

Asia isnt in Europe and name something that a Euro company has released that hasnt been released in US?

roadwarrior said,
Cue all of the Europeans on here crying foul that an American company decided to release a device only in America. Nevermind that many European and Asian companies do the same type of thing all the time.

What about your northern neighbours?

Richard Hammond said,

Asia isnt in Europe and name something that a Euro company has released that hasnt been released in US?

There are plenty of cars made by European companies that never make it to the US, just for starters. I'm sure if you look around there are plenty of other things made in Europe that aren't available elsewhere in the world as well. I'm quite certain that Nokia probably makes tons of phones that are never released in the US as well.

roadwarrior said,
Cue all of the Europeans on here crying foul that an American company decided to release a device only in America. Nevermind that many European and Asian companies do the same type of thing all the time.

Cue uppity Americans on here bitching about "Europeans".

roadwarrior said,

There are plenty of cars made by European companies that never make it to the US, just for starters. I'm sure if you look around there are plenty of other things made in Europe that aren't available elsewhere in the world as well.

Because they are completely different markets, a car that sells well in Europe might not appeal to Americans which is why you have the same auto companies but different models, it also works both ways there are a load of American cars that will never come to Europe.

Consumer electronics however work well everywhere, there is no logical reason why the Zune HD cant come to Europe.

roadwarrior said,

There are plenty of cars made by European companies that never make it to the US.

That's because here in Europe we don't need cars with caterpillar tracks in order to travel over roads.

Edited by .Neo, Oct 5 2010, 3:45pm :

.Neo said,

That's because here in Europe we don't need cars with caterpillar tracks in order to travel over roads.

Right, you just have normal tracters that tend to close roads from time to time when farmers go on strike.

GP007 said,

Right, you just have normal tracters that tend to close roads from time to time when farmers go on strike.


Luckily that's not a problem during every day, week or even month of the year.

Richard Hammond said,

Asia isnt in Europe and name something that a Euro company has released that hasnt been released in US?

Actually there are an endless number of automobiles that European automakers have refused to release in the U.S. because they believe U.S. Consumers don't want them. Matter-of-fact, U.S. Automakers do exactly the same thing.

For many years the Europeans have had access to better vehicles than their U.S. counterparts. It was not until this year that we really started to see European derived vehicles i.e. the Chevy Cruze, Ford Festiva and Buick Regal all of which are derived from European models hit U.S. shores.

roadwarrior said,

There are plenty of cars made by European companies that never make it to the US, just for starters. I'm sure if you look around there are plenty of other things made in Europe that aren't available elsewhere in the world as well. I'm quite certain that Nokia probably makes tons of phones that are never released in the US as well.

Of course! People in the US still think that gas will be cheap forever.....
Also in Europe Carriers do not control the phone market as here.

You all that want Zune HDs should be happy microsoft doesn't sell you them... They are saving from the disspointment of not haveing any apps... lol

However, I still enjoy my brothers ZuneHD and my regular old zune... (waiting for wp7..)

.Rik said,
I agree, with WP7 in europe the need for a zune HD isn't very great...

I disagree. Many people don't want the added expensive of a smartphone. Especially teenagers who are not old enough to have a phone contract.

WelshBluebird said,

I disagree. Many people don't want the added expensive of a smartphone. Especially teenagers who are not old enough to have a phone contract.

I'd normally say this, but look at the iPhone...

.Rik said,
I agree, with WP7 in europe the need for a zune HD isn't very great...

Well it's about 10 years too late even if they did release it in the UK. Apple have the MP3 market totally saturated

WelshBluebird said,

I disagree. Many people don't want the added expensive of a smartphone. Especially teenagers who are not old enough to have a phone contract.

Also people who just want a phone, and some smartphone-like device to play around with, but do not want a data plan or cannot justify paying an ETF to jump to another carrier. They may already have a candybar/slider phone so something like a iPod touch or Zune HD is good for them.

WelshBluebird said,

look at the ipod touch


Does anyone still buy those? I don't think I've seen any friends buying any of these devices for the last 2 years.

RuuddieBoy said,

Does anyone still buy those? I don't think I've seen any friends buying any of these devices for the last 2 years.

Yes, people do still buy them.

DomZ said,

Well it's about 10 years too late even if they did release it in the UK. Apple have the MP3 market totally saturated


In the UK probably, not sure about the rest of europe.

RuuddieBoy said,

Does anyone still buy those? I don't think I've seen any friends buying any of these devices for the last 2 years.

iPods are everywhere you look here in Amsterdam. Yea, Microsoft sure makes the right call not to introduce them here. Saves Balmer the embarrassment when yet another product fails.

RuuddieBoy said,

Does anyone still buy those? I don't think I've seen any friends buying any of these devices for the last 2 years.

lol. Yes they do.

RuuddieBoy said,

Does anyone still buy those? I don't think I've seen any friends buying any of these devices for the last 2 years.

Yep, I own one and my friends all think its the best iPod out.

.Neo said,

iPods are everywhere you look here in Amsterdam. Yea, Microsoft sure makes the right call not to introduce them here. Saves Balmer the embarrassment when yet another product fails.

Exactly. It makes no sense to introduce something when the market is saturated with others who have already succeeded.

/still waiting for Opera to shut down operations

Joshie said,
Exactly. It makes no sense to introduce something when the market is saturated with others who have already succeeded.

In that case Microsoft might as well give up now on Windows Phone 7.

.Rik said,
I agree, with WP7 in europe the need for a zune HD isn't very great...

True that. Only makes sense. Then again, nobody buys Zunes, so no loss.

RuuddieBoy said,

Does anyone still buy those? I don't think I've seen any friends buying any of these devices for the last 2 years.

Yeah, I have one. I don't need a phone as I have my Blackberry Bold for work.

WelshBluebird said,

I disagree. Many people don't want the added expensive of a smartphone. Especially teenagers who are not old enough to have a phone contract.

But how large is that market when Microsoft has a new platform to focus on? When the Zune HD's successor is released, compatible with WP7 apps, I'm sure everyone will get that