Microsoft discontinuing Zune HD original devices

Microsoft have now discontinued the selling of its Zune HD original devices which were sold directly from the company. On its website, Microsoft recommends using Best Buy or Walmart to buy a Zune HD device, by saying "we are no longer taking new orders for Zune Originals. To purchase a Zune HD device, please visit one of our retailers." Following on with that, on its website, Microsoft are recommending users to purchase a Windows Phone instead which also offers similar features to the Zune.

While the purchasing of the ordinary Zune HD devices is still open to consumers at a couple of stores, ZuneBoards, which first spotted the change, has stated that they believe this is the beginning of Microsoft's efforts to take the Zune out of the market. Given that the Zune HD original devices were customised versions of the standard Zune device, it won't affect the overall availability to consumers but it does represent the beginning of the end for the portable music device.

In some sense, this has been a long time coming given that we firstly heard rumours that the devices and the brand were being scrapped and later confirmed that parts of the brand would be merged into Windows Live services. Microsoft have done nothing to promote the Zune brand and have been primarily focusing on the release of Windows Phone, so much so that the company recently announced the porting of applications from the Zune HD marketplace to WP7.

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51 Comments

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Zune HD is NOT dead. Only the customized ones from the Zune HD original site. It probably was not worth the money for Microsoft to have this service, so they decided it was best to let that service go.

I'm also kinda under the illusion that the Zune HD v2 was still in progress that last time I checked with a friend that worked there. Might have changed, but he was still confident the last time I checked to see if it was truly dead.

Quikboy said,
Zune HD is NOT dead. Only the customized ones from the Zune HD original site. It probably was not worth the money for Microsoft to have this service, so they decided it was best to let that service go.

I'm also kinda under the illusion that the Zune HD v2 was still in progress that last time I checked with a friend that worked there. Might have changed, but he was still confident the last time I checked to see if it was truly dead.

Exactly, makes me wonder just how many people actually bother to READ THE ARTICLE before commenting.

Microsoft completely lies about 1 spec of Zune - that it supports bframes which greatly increase video quality. It does NOT yet the specs incorrectly say that and they won't correct the page even if their support acknowledges it. The Zune doesn't accept any H.264 video with bframes no matter what software is encoded with. If you are still going for a PMP in this day and age, go with the iPod Touch which now even supports H.264 Main Profile! Better still, don't go for a PMP but buy a smartphone instead.

As a former Zune owner and a current WP7 owner, I'm sad but unsurprised to see this. The Zune was great hardware, and I've personally felt that the Zune software really ought to replace Windows Media Player.

Sam not Spam said,
As a former Zune owner and a current WP7 owner, I'm sad but unsurprised to see this. The Zune was great hardware, and I've personally felt that the Zune software really ought to replace Windows Media Player.

Zune software HAS replaced WMP.

I was hoping they bring out a Zune HD 2 or something. I like the Zune HD. But still lacks stuff I could use that my ipod touch 4gen has... If Microsoft stuck around to bring Zune HD to a huge competition... They could of done a great job too but nope they just drop the ball.. Geez maybe I'll just buy a zune hd for the fun of it lol to say hey I got one sweet lol

Great - just when a real iPod Touch competitor gets off the ground brilliant Ballmer scraps it. He tries to launch FAIL like Kin, but scraps great products like Zune HD. Fire the ****** already.

KingCrimson said,
Great - just when a real iPod Touch competitor gets off the ground brilliant Ballmer scraps it. He tries to launch FAIL like Kin, but scraps great products like Zune HD. Fire the ****** already.

The ZuneHD was never a true iTouch competitor since it never had the apps and games marketplace support that WP7 has right now. It also doesn't have the hardware needed to run the WP7 OS it seems (now they're porting ZuneHD apps to WP7 it seems).

Them not selling ZuneHD's anymore doesn't mean they won't make a future PMP only device (maybe other OEMs will make them this time around). The thing is that smartphones are the growing market while PMPs are smaller and smaller, MS's priority is in phones first.

GP007 said,
Them not selling ZuneHD's anymore doesn't mean they won't make a future PMP only device (maybe other OEMs will make them this time around). The thing is that smartphones are the growing market while PMPs are smaller and smaller, MS's priority is in phones first.

That's true enough. The Samsung Galaxy PMP is coming out now and that should be the first true iPod Touch competitor. Why shouldn't MSFT come up with a WP7 PMP-only device? Sometimes people just need a high-capacity music player with WiFi.

People need to also keep in mind that the service will probably see a name change from just "Zune" to something else probably. Making and selling the hardware was only a means to an ends, which was to build and get the marketplace service out there. Smartphones are taking over the pmp market though, hate it or love it, it's fact. I still think MS will at some point license a media/game version of WP for custom devices as long as OEMs want to build them. Though if they don't MS isn't going to do it, I doubt it, so they'll just stick to phones.

GP007 said,
People need to also keep in mind that the service will probably see a name change from just "Zune" to something else probably. Making and selling the hardware was only a means to an ends, which was to build and get the marketplace service out there. Smartphones are taking over the pmp market though, hate it or love it, it's fact. I still think MS will at some point license a media/game version of WP for custom devices as long as OEMs want to build them. Though if they don't MS isn't going to do it, I doubt it, so they'll just stick to phones.

According to Ballmer, Zune is an iPod killer and should take the world by a storm. /s

alexalex said,

According to Ballmer, Zune is an iPod killer and should take the world by a storm. /s


That would have been possible, if it was released to the world.

xn--bya said,

That would have been possible, if it was released to the world.

You couldn't release the player to the world without the full support of the marketplace behind it, something that still isn't happening so far, even with WP7 due to crappy media licensing and red tape holding it back.

Why would you buy a player that can't fully work in your area exactly? It'd only serve to give MS bad press for lack of "supporting more regions" and so on.

alexalex said,

According to Ballmer, Zune is an iPod killer and should take the world by a storm. /s

MP3 players are a dying market, smartphones are killing them on their own just as well.

xn--bya said,

That would have been possible, if it was released to the world.

Who to blame ? Apple has no problems with iPods and iTunes ?

GP007 said,

MP3 players are a dying market, smartphones are killing them on their own just as well.

I agree. However, I own an Android phone. I use it for long distance directions thanks to Google Navigation. I can't also use this device as my music player unless they can have a special software tied to it that directs audio comes out of the head phone jack is for music, so that I can fully utilize it.

While it would be cool to see an iTouch equivalent of WP7 I think that market will only get smaller over the years, phones are the device to have now as they can do both quite comfortably and people don't really want two devices now. A small device for running or sports, sure but not an iTouch like device.

Reminds me of voice buddy for games(one of the best things they made),that's why I hate buying anything microsoft.If it's good and it doesn't make them billions of dollars,it won't be around in a few years.

spike21 said,
Reminds me of voice buddy for games(one of the best things they made),that's why I hate buying anything microsoft.If it's good and it doesn't make them billions of dollars,it won't be around in a few years.

Alas no WP7 in a few!

bluefisch200 said,
I am still waiting for the WP7 device which looks like the HD...

+1! HD had an awesome unique look to it. Very nice.

So dumb, This device won a lot of design awards also, I don't see why they can't keep it. Just update the software to reflect a stripped down Windows Phone 7 with out the phone part

Whilst I want a WP7 device, I also want a Zune device, so that I get decent battery life for playing MUSIC, good/better/muchmoreawesome sound quality and the ability to dock it for ease of use with speakers. God damn, no wp7 device can give me that, therefore I am not even close to wanting to use any Zune music services, and of course, they really do need to release the damn music store globally.

cleverclogs said,
Whilst I want a WP7 device, I also want a Zune device, so that I get decent battery life for playing MUSIC, good/better/muchmoreawesome sound quality and the ability to dock it for ease of use with speakers. God damn, no wp7 device can give me that, therefore I am not even close to wanting to use any Zune music services, and of course, they really do need to release the damn music store globally.

I used to be worried about battery life on my phone if I also used my phone for music. Oddly, playing music uses very little battery on wp7. So little, that it was similar to being in standby mode.

Invizibleyez said,

I used to be worried about battery life on my phone if I also used my phone for music. Oddly, playing music uses very little battery on wp7. So little, that it was similar to being in standby mode.

Most smartphones can handle music w/o much battery strain. Video on the other hand...

Microsoft is doing its best cisco impression: spend millions launching something then kill it a couple years later. Seriously who would buy something from microsoft knowing that unless it has killer demand microsoft will kill it after a couple years? A company that doesnt stand behind its products is a company no one will trust. So go trade in your zune for a windows phone which will be discontinued in a couple years...

gosh said,
Microsoft is doing its best cisco impression: spend millions launching something then kill it a couple years later. Seriously who would buy something from microsoft knowing that unless it has killer demand microsoft will kill it after a couple years? A company that doesnt stand behind its products is a company no one will trust. So go trade in your zune for a windows phone which will be discontinued in a couple years...

So you think spending money on a product which has no demand is a better strategy? Let's look at Apple for example. They killed XServe, was that a bad move? They killed Apple Pippin, was that a bad move?

gosh said,
Microsoft is doing its best cisco impression: spend millions launching something then kill it a couple years later. Seriously who would buy something from microsoft knowing that unless it has killer demand microsoft will kill it after a couple years? A company that doesnt stand behind its products is a company no one will trust. So go trade in your zune for a windows phone which will be discontinued in a couple years...

The only thing they're stoping is custom ZuneHD hardware, and well the ZuneHD in time will stop being sold once it's out of stock. But the service, the Zune Pass, marketplace etc isn't going anywhere. The name might change but you're not going to be left out in the cold, a ZuneHD will still connect and work with the marketplace/service just fine.

TheLegendOfMart said,
Good riddance, been waiting for the Zune to launch in Europe for years.

Tell me about it If MS actually utilized their regional offices they would have had a real winner on their hands i think... Sadly it was not ment to be and again MS has left a good market...

Lame.
They should have pushed the Zune HD as a WP7 lite instead of just ditching it as soon as WP7 came out.
Still think they should release a Zune HD 2 with WP7 OS for people who just want a media player, not an expensive contract.

the better twin said,
Lame.
They should have pushed the Zune HD as a WP7 lite instead of just ditching it as soon as WP7 came out.
Still think they should release a Zune HD 2 with WP7 OS for people who just want a media player, not an expensive contract.

+1

the better twin said,
Still think they should release a Zune HD 2 with WP7 OS for people who just want a media player, not an expensive contract.
They need a new name, the Zune name has a huge stigma attached to it

the better twin said,
Lame.
They should have pushed the Zune HD as a WP7 lite instead of just ditching it as soon as WP7 came out.
Still think they should release a Zune HD 2 with WP7 OS for people who just want a media player, not an expensive contract.

I know from an internal source that Microsoft never wanted to launch the Zune hardware devices in the first place.

About 5 years ago, they just wanted third party manufacturers to build Windows Media DRM v10 compatible devices (in order to support the then upcoming zune music store), but they were not interested because WMDRMv10 were much more complex to implement than WMDRMv9, and every music providers (like virgin mega) were already using WMDRMv9.

That's why microsoft decided to build his own device. Now that WP7 is available, there is no more need for the zune HD device, and a year ago we already knew that the Zune HD devices would not get renewed.

But if third party manufacturers want their device to support the zune music marketplace or zune Pass, theorically, microsoft could licence them the right to support this service, if they implement WMDRMv10 (even on an android device).

Anyway, the Zune brand will completely disappear, and will be relaunched as part of the Xbox family with a more understandable name.

the better twin said,
Lame.
They should have pushed the Zune HD as a WP7 lite instead of just ditching it as soon as WP7 came out.
Still think they should release a Zune HD 2 with WP7 OS for people who just want a media player, not an expensive contract.

Good idea. Then Microsoft will have two completely different mobile OSes.

That is the mistake Microsoft has been making for years, and a mistake they shouldn't make again. If they want to release a media player, they should pare-down WP7 and use *that*. (Of course, this screws over existing Zuners, but that's Microsoft.)

the better twin said,
Lame.
They should have pushed the Zune HD as a WP7 lite instead of just ditching it as soon as WP7 came out.
Still think they should release a Zune HD 2 with WP7 OS for people who just want a media player, not an expensive contract.

Unfortunately the name itself hurt it more than anything with the general masses. What an ugly/stupid name period.

link8506 said,

I know from an internal source that Microsoft never wanted to launch the Zune hardware devices in the first place.

About 5 years ago, they just wanted third party manufacturers to build Windows Media DRM v10 compatible devices (in order to support the then upcoming zune music store), but they were not interested because WMDRMv10 were much more complex to implement than WMDRMv9, and every music providers (like virgin mega) were already using WMDRMv9.

That's why microsoft decided to build his own device. Now that WP7 is available, there is no more need for the zune HD device, and a year ago we already knew that the Zune HD devices would not get renewed.

But if third party manufacturers want their device to support the zune music marketplace or zune Pass, theorically, microsoft could licence them the right to support this service, if they implement WMDRMv10 (even on an android device).

Anyway, the Zune brand will completely disappear, and will be relaunched as part of the Xbox family with a more understandable name.

I work at MS, and have friends on the Zune team.

Your post is a load of bunk.

Mountain Dew said,

I work at MS, and have friends on the Zune team.

Your post is a load of bunk.

funny, as I was told these informations by a friend working at MS on projects relative to Zune!
And so far, everything he told me proved to be true, including the end of hardware Zune devices built by MS, and informations about windows 8 he got from another friend ;-)

So I would rather trust my source than some random guy on the internet pretending he works for MS.

lunarworks said,

Good idea. Then Microsoft will have two completely different mobile OSes.

That is the mistake Microsoft has been making for years, and a mistake they shouldn't make again. If they want to release a media player, they should pare-down WP7 and use *that*. (Of course, this screws over existing Zuners, but that's Microsoft.)

there wouldn't be two OS for I believe the person meant something like just disabling the phone capabilities since the hardware us there. Like iOS. And how are zuners being screwed. There will be a rebranding but the services will remain and Microsoft will continue to support the devices to sync your content. Its not like the device will just stop working. It sucks to see the brand go away, but it's what it is.

the better twin said,
Lame.
They should have pushed the Zune HD as a WP7 lite instead of just ditching it as soon as WP7 came out.
Still think they should release a Zune HD 2 with WP7 OS for people who just want a media player, not an expensive contract.

or maybe they are clearing stock for the second one.. hmm

lunarworks said,

Good idea. Then Microsoft will have two completely different mobile OSes.

That is the mistake Microsoft has been making for years, and a mistake they shouldn't make again. If they want to release a media player, they should pare-down WP7 and use *that*. (Of course, this screws over existing Zuners, but that's Microsoft.)

Um, why would it be a different OS?

How has Microsoft been making this mistake for years. They only have TWO OSes. WinCE and WinNT. Do you not realize this?

Microsoft also just demonstated Windows 8 running on 'light' devices, meaning that WP8 will probably be the same as desktop Windows 8. (And the Apps won't have to change, as WP7 development is .NET/Silverlight based, which already runs on desktop Windows.)

Care to clarify, cause I really don't follow your thinking.

Rudy said,
They need a new name, the Zune name has a huge stigma attached to it

Actually, the Microsoft name has the huge stigma. People will buy Windows PCs, Office software and Xbox but nothing really mobile with the Microsoft name attached to it anymore.

Xbox