Microsoft hasn't killed Zune in Windows 8 consumer preview, new client coming

Zune has always had a somewhat uncertain future. We thought, back at CES, that Microsoft might replace it with a new service called "Microsoft Music" but, it seems that in a video today from Microsoft, the company revealed that Zune is coming to Windows 8, and in Metro.

This should give users some comfort for now, especially those who subscribe to Zune Pass or are still rocking the Zune player. The "Microsoft Music" service is also there in the video (pictured below), but it's now been named just "Music," which means its likely a replacement (or the metro alternative) for Windows Media Player.

What's actually worth noting, is that we've heard rumblings that Zune won't last past the consumer preview, and that it's services will be renamed sometime later this year, and Windows Phone will receive a dedicated companion application. Paul Thurrott said the same thing just a few days ago. 

Windows 8 will be released to the public in a "Consumer Preview" form, which will allow anyone to download it for free. Are you as excited as we are?

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I am relieved they are keeping the brand alive. Its the only Microsoft product name which actually sounds cool. I am a big fan of the interface of the Zune Media Player. I hope they just scrap the Windows Media Player and make Zune the default.

Why even have Windows Media Player?

Why hasn't this awful program been replaced by Zune? Seriously add a couple of features and bam, everyone using windows is now using the Zune brand.

It seems totally stupid to have it as a cornerstone to Microsofts music and video ecosystem and build different software into the OS.

Well as long as they don't kill the desktop Zune client which has a far more beautiful Metro implementation and I am sure more features as well.

"Zune is coming to Windows 8, and in Metro"
zune invented metro! the entire metro interface ideas originated from the zune team! zune provided a bigger role in the big picture than many people think

as with most things MS, they really failed the Zune player in terms of marketing. the quality and interface should have been a huge hit. My original brown zune works just as good as it did when I bought it.

Thurrott commented - if I have it right - that while Zune was a music player, and Zune had a device, and it has a video service, it is really a platform more than anything and Microsoft has decided that the Platform has run it's course.

It's signature will continue to live on in future Microsoft products much the way that the advances from Media Center has had its influence across their offerings. I am a Zune Pass subscriber and will be terribly upset if they decide to abandon or move away from that offering. While the players never really had a good ecosystem like the ipod, the devices are excellent and enjoyable to use (we have two of them). The Windows phone experience is the tri-fecta.

One has to wonder if they're making money after all of the licensing and investment into building the service. Did they achieve the objective they set out on? Is it still a viable business model? Can they grow the business through the partnerships?

I'm a huge fan of Zune and will be sad to see it go away but if what has been written is true, it is a done deal.

I wish they just made a Music + Video hub with Zune as the default player like on Windows Phone. It's gorgeous, its metro and just works. Putting them separate makes it unnecessary. Also, Zune is a really well made brand. It doesn't need to be rebranded. It just needs to be pushed worldwide and gave more marketing. That was the only reason the hardware didn't sell.

Everyone I show my WP7 too thinks it's so sleek and awesome and they even say the name "Zune" sounds wicked.

The "Zune Music" and "Zune Video" there simply looks like apps to access the Zune marketplace, similar to their counterpart "apps" on the new Xbox 360 dashboard.

What is dead though is the actual Zune software player - that is now replaced by that "Music" app that is in the screenshot. Which makes sense meaning that Windows Phone will require a separate connector app.

Guys, there's no need for a rebrand. The only thing which needs to be done is a market relaunch with tons of publicity AND general availability outside the U.S. (Main reason of the hardware's death)

Jose_49 said,
Guys, there's no need for a rebrand. The only thing which needs to be done is a market relaunch with tons of publicity AND general availability outside the U.S. (Main reason of the hardware's death)

+1

Thank you. This is what I've been saying this whole time. Zune is actually a strong brand, it just needs to be re-introduced worldwide.

I suspect that the bigger problem is that most consumers just don't know who "Zune" is. People know iTunes = Apple. Microsoft could either spend millions promoting the "Zune" brand or recognise they have one of the world's most recognised brand names and just call it "Microsoft Music".

Microsoft Music. Available on Xbox, Windows PC and Windows Phone.

if they pull this off with TV content, music and video and make it a big ecosystem of its own. MS will blow the competition away.

What I've heard a couple of days ago (I think from Paul Thurrott) is that the Zune branding will be dropped after the consumer preview. The Zune apps were aparently in fact made by the Xbox team, and Zune will be merged into Xbox around the time Windows 8 reaches RTM. The new video of the Windows Store suggests that it's true, because the Zune apps have the green xbox brand colour.

Meph said,
What I've heard a couple of days ago (I think from Paul Thurrott) is that the Zune branding will be dropped after the consumer preview. The Zune apps were aparently in fact made by the Xbox team, and Zune will be merged into Xbox around the time Windows 8 reaches RTM. The new video of the Windows Store suggests that it's true, because the Zune apps have the green xbox brand colour.

I've heard this too.

Meph said,
What I've heard a couple of days ago (I think from Paul Thurrott) is that the Zune branding will be dropped after the consumer preview. The Zune apps were aparently in fact made by the Xbox team, and Zune will be merged into Xbox around the time Windows 8 reaches RTM. The new video of the Windows Store suggests that it's true, because the Zune apps have the green xbox brand colour.

I added it in for context.

Meph said,
What I've heard a couple of days ago (I think from Paul Thurrott) is that the Zune branding will be dropped after the consumer preview. The Zune apps were aparently in fact made by the Xbox team, and Zune will be merged into Xbox around the time Windows 8 reaches RTM. The new video of the Windows Store suggests that it's true, because the Zune apps have the green xbox brand colour.

I dont like it at all. XBox immediately makes you think of games. I've become a fan of the Zune brand and wish it would stay.

shamburg said,

I dont like it at all. XBox immediately makes you think of games. I've become a fan of the Zune brand and wish it would stay.

It kinda makes sense as they want to reposition the Xbox as a media box. Dont forget that MS is apparently talking to tv content companies.

Exciting times ahead for sure!

bartw78 said,

It kinda makes sense as they want to reposition the Xbox as a media box. Dont forget that MS is apparently talking to tv content companies.

Exciting times ahead for sure!

Yet I can't help but feel dread that it's all too late.

smoledman said,

Yet I can't help but feel dread that it's all too late.


Too late for what? Some imaginary deadline? If it's a good product people will buy it.

The Zune branding is temporary, it is going to become Xbox Live Music, and Xbox Live Video, and the teams are merging I believe

mdtaUK said,
The Zune branding is temporary, it is going to become Xbox Live Music, and Xbox Live Video, and the teams are merging I believe

Yep

mdtaUK said,
The Zune branding is temporary, it is going to become Xbox Live Music, and Xbox Live Video, and the teams are merging I believe

So instead of saying "xbox, start zune", you'll say "xbox start xbox".
Yo dawg I heard you like xbox ....

mdtaUK said,
The Zune branding is temporary, it is going to become Xbox Live Music, and Xbox Live Video, and the teams are merging I believe

They already tried that a few years ago. Zune video on Xbox used to be Xbox Live Video store. Then they switched it to Zune Video, now they are going to be switching back?

I don't really care so much what they call it as long as I can continue to use subscription service and sync my devices easily with the content store. I think the Zune name and logo is actually really good (especially by Microsoft standards). I don't think most consumers see movies/music and games as being all the same in their minds. The Xbox brand might desire to be seen as all encompassing entertainment, but it's been advertised and heavily promoted to consumers as a video game brand for over a decade. It is going to be very hard for consumers to learn to associate the word Xbox with anything other than video games. Video games have a very narrow audience compared to music/movies and so you will lose consumer interest by selling music/movies hidden under a video game brand name.

Anthonyd said,

So instead of saying "xbox, start zune", you'll say "xbox start xbox".
Yo dawg I heard you like xbox ....

No, it'll be "xbox start music" and "xbox start video".

MattGarner said,
Zune is dead according to Tom Warren which funnily enough the article writer told him he knew he was telling the truth!

Check out the updated article, I've added context from my end

Various blogs are saying that in the Consumer Preview, Zune Music will still be mentioned. Yet in the final build, the name will be changed to something like Xbox Music.

Assuming this is true, I am not too surprised to see Zune Music here

You would think they would take advantage of the changes being made in Windows 8 to consolidate some of these things. They should just use Zune to replace Windows Media player and such. Have it handle everything at this point. Does Windows really need 12 different ways to play a song?

They should rename and rebrand Zune, but not because of the "baggage", but because it doesn't make anyone think about music or movies.

bjoswald said,
They should rename and rebrand Zune, but not because of the "baggage", but because it doesn't make anyone think about music or movies.

Neither does "spotify". Honestly, it makes me think of a certain female bodily function that occurs once a month. Ya know, "spotty"... Yeah. Really makes me think of music.

laserfloyd said,

Neither does "spotify". Honestly, it makes me think of a certain female bodily function that occurs once a month. Ya know, "spotty"... Yeah. Really makes me think of music.

Good point. In fact, let's make all these goofy product names reflect what they're really supposed to represent.

bjoswald said,

Good point. In fact, let's make all these goofy product names reflect what they're really supposed to represent.

Eh, "Zune" was meant to sound like "tune"

~Johnny said,

Eh, "Zune" was meant to sound like "tune"

Try telling that to my Kinect. In the UK, if I pronounce it as in "tune" it doesn't respond. I have to say "zune" as in "sun" or "done". Crazy.

laserfloyd said,

Neither does "spotify". Honestly, it makes me think of a certain female bodily function that occurs once a month. Ya know, "spotty"...

You need an iPad for that

Yet notice how there's a Microsoft Music and Video app. I'm thinking these may be stores... though Microsoft's really messing up with their plans.

Zune Music & Video are separate services on the Xbox as well, so they're probably lining up those experiences, whilst the seperate standard music & video aps are just simple players like Windows Media player.

Rudy said,
Failed hardware

From a consumer/marketing standpoint, sure. But from an actual technical standpoint the hardware was fine. It's fine as is.

chAos972 said,

The hardware was pretty awesome from what I've seen.


Still failed in the market => failed hardware

laserfloyd said,

From a consumer/marketing standpoint, sure. But from an actual technical standpoint the hardware was fine. It's fine as is.

Sure the hardware might have been ok but the consumer/marketing IS what matters for a name

They are making a huge mistake going backwards to the old ActiveSync model from the Windows Mobile days. Zune is a nice consumer friendly interface that makes sense to hundreds of millions of people who have been trained to sync their devices with iTunes.

Syncing should be directly connected to the store that allows you to buy content for the device. It is a huge mistake to disassociate the content store from the application that syncs that content to the device.

To put a finer point on it, consumers will buy Windows Phones thinking that they should get movies/music/books/apps for the device from Amazon and iTunes if it is completely disconnected from the Zune store application.

Many consumers still don't even know that Zune exists as an alternative to iTunes/Amazon. Or even that the video & apps in these Amazon/iTunes stores are not compatible with Windows Phone. Syncing should be connected to the content store.

Avatar Roku said,
...

Zune will remain as the primary software on legacy OSes.

I would rather interact through Metro device area for most aspects and only use the media app when syncing media.

Rebrand. As good as Zune is (and the app leaves Mitunes in it's dust) it's never been a smart name/branding and people will I think continue to dismiss it

Avatar Roku said,
They are making a huge mistake going backwards to the old ActiveSync model from the Windows Mobile days. Zune is a nice consumer friendly interface that makes sense to hundreds of millions of people who have been trained to sync their devices with iTunes.

Syncing should be directly connected to the store that allows you to buy content for the device. It is a huge mistake to disassociate the content store from the application that syncs that content to the device.

personal preferences......:
To play, and edit, music I prefer Media Player; to view pictures I use Live Photo gallery.
I use the Zune to interact with my Lumia but I welcome the comeback of desktop sync and the ability to interact with my phone using a dedicated app. And I am not getting to the Business World concerns about having Zune on desktops.....

Avatar Roku said,
To put a finer point on it, consumers will buy Windows Phones thinking that they should get movies/music/books/apps for the device from Amazon and iTunes if it is completely disconnected from the Zune store application.

Many consumers still don't even know that Zune exists as an alternative to iTunes/Amazon. Or even that the video & apps in these Amazon/iTunes stores are not compatible with Windows Phone. Syncing should be connected to the content store.

What are you talking about? I use the Kindle app and I read books bought and downloaded from Amazon both on my Tablet and WP 7.5 phone with no issue.
Granted the ability to have in W8 a central repository for all my books, no matter where I bought them, like Music and Pictures would be great and i hope it will happen but this is a different subject.

Rudy said,
Failed hardware

I have a brown brick Zune, 2 Zune 4gb a Zune 8gb and 2 Zune HD's also 2 Windows Phone 7. The Zune hardware and sound quality beat anything else out their at the time and my Zune Brick brownie is still playing music 24/7 in the cold Wisconsin winter of my car and can play without being hooked up to a power source for 8 hours still to this day since purchase. The Zune brand while it might be changing but just because of people like you Microsoft made great hardware. (each has been dropped at least 50 times on concrete)

The Zune brand became a punchline that produced big laughs all over TV, and the web.

Stop being difficult. You're defending the device when it's not being attacked; a comment about the brand is what you replied to.