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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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".

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

"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

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.

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.

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.

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