Microsoft looking to kill off Zune branding

The big news over the past few days has been the partnership between Microsoft and Nokia. With Nokia given exclusive rights to further customize the platform and the ability to make great hardware, the partnership looks promising. However, one thing that has been left out of the discussion has been Zune.

According to Paul Thurrott, Microsoft is looking to remove the Zune branding and will move the services into the Windows Live and other business sectors. Thurrott writes,

My sources tell me that the Zune brand is on the way out and that all Zune products and services will be moved into other businesses, including Windows Live. Zune will essentially cease to exist under this plan.

The news comes as a bit of a surprise considering that amount Microsoft invested to promote the Zune platform. But, at the same time, if Microsoft is looking to bring the WP7 platform and Zune platform closer together, uniting them under Windows Live services does make a bit of sense.

No matter the final outcome, the Zune services you know today will most likely not go away; they will more likely just be rebranded.

Image Credit: Thisisyou.org

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I agree at least that the Zune branding feels out of place in the new Microsoft ecosystem. You have WP7 and Zune is supposed to be somehow related to that without any clear connection on how.

But on the other hand, if they don't get rid of the Zune hardware, they'll have to give a new brand name to it, and it'll likely be worse.

Stupid rumor. I've had 3 zunes. My current one is the zune hd and it blows past my friends iPod touch in quality. She even wants one now. This rumor better be false or else i've lost all hope in microsoft. To change the branding is just retarded.

Im not reading all the comments but i enjoyed the Zune. My original Brown Zune still works as do my other 2. But with WindowsPhone 7 out there really isnt a need for a physical Zune. I suspect MS will come out with a small nano type media player but that would probably be it.

i too would like microsoft to merge windows media player and the zune software. that or allow me to sync my zune with wmp. they seem so disconnected. i have a library of music that is accessed by both programs, but no real reason for it. i am another member of the got rid of my ipods for zunes group. very happy with that decision.

Chemaz said,
As long as the software remains the same. Its the best music software out there overall tbh

nah, I prefer MusicBee, but then again, who really cares? There is no definitive "best overall music software" out there except for personal opinion.

briangw said,

nah, I prefer MusicBee, but then again, who really cares? There is no definitive "best overall music software" out there except for personal opinion.

There is no definitive best anything... Best is always the fodder of personal opinion. So always read "best" as if it had "In my personal opinion" in front of it and you're good.

Frazell Thomas said,

There is no definitive best anything... Best is always the fodder of personal opinion. So always read "best" as if it had "In my personal opinion" in front of it and you're good.

ummmm. I just said what you said.

So... by "killing the Zune branding", they mean that Microsoft will keep the Zune Software and Zune Hardware, but name it something else?

I'm not sure what that means... So future Zune players will have a different name?

Or do they mean that they are killing Zune branding WITHIN WINDOWS PHONE?

They can kill the hardware, who needs a Zune when Windows Phone 7's are basically Zunes. But keep the Zune software, far superior to the Malware known as iTunes for PC. Ok, it's not malware, but Zune if much better (personal taste) and efficient. Zune Software and WMP need to merge the best of both into one, one player/marketplace to rule them all.

Looking at the apps for the Zune I can see there was really never any love for the Zune. I still like the software player and I hope that doesnt get a major change.

Hope this isn't true. My Zune HD is the best music player I've ever owned, and the software is pretty damn good, too. I think Microsoft just needs to stick with it, because it's a great platform, and their devices have always been solid. The marketing, however, has just been odd.

Geez, MS finally has a cool brand name and they kill. They probably should have done some advertising to let people know of Zune.

>:-(
I own a Zune and was looking forward to purchasing a Windows Phone device in the future just so I could replace my Zune with a Phone that supported the Zune Marketplace. It would have been like the iPhone+iTunes partnership.

I've had 2 zunes, a 30gb first gen and currently using a 120gb second gen. They are great media mp3 players but don't get it for the apps. I've never had a problem with my zune.

RDJ said,
I've had 2 zunes, a 30gb first gen and currently using a 120gb second gen. They are great media mp3 players but don't get it for the apps. I've never had a problem with my zune.

I've never understood the need for millions of apps on a MP3 player. I wanna listen to music, not kill my battery.

Frylock86 said,

I've never understood the need for millions of apps on a MP3 player. I wanna listen to music, not kill my battery.

Because some people want all-in-one devices. Having access to all those 'millions of apps' does not necessarily "kill the battery". The current generation of iPod touch report 40 hours of battery life while playing music. Thats pretty impressive. The Zune HD does about 33 hours of battery life for audio and has no 3rd party apps.

Your post reminds me of my father who dragged his feet to upgrade his computer when I was younger. "Why do I need a computer that does more than word processing?"

Shadrack said,

Because some people want all-in-one devices. Having access to all those 'millions of apps' does not necessarily "kill the battery". The current generation of iPod touch report 40 hours of battery life while playing music. Thats pretty impressive. The Zune HD does about 33 hours of battery life for audio and has no 3rd party apps.

Your post reminds me of my father who dragged his feet to upgrade his computer when I was younger. "Why do I need a computer that does more than word processing?"

He probably didn't but you unnecessarily dragged him into it.

Shadrack said,

Because some people want all-in-one devices. Having access to all those 'millions of apps' does not necessarily "kill the battery". The current generation of iPod touch report 40 hours of battery life while playing music. Thats pretty impressive. The Zune HD does about 33 hours of battery life for audio and has no 3rd party apps.

Your post reminds me of my father who dragged his feet to upgrade his computer when I was younger. "Why do I need a computer that does more than word processing?"

I understand the "all in one devices" argument...but some people just don't care to have "all in one" devices. I live my Zune, because it works GREAT as an MP3 player. If I want my apps, Ill use my HTC Hero, and if I want to browse the web, Ill browse on my desktop.
If I'm doing things around the house and listening to music, what good is a Facebook app....I'm not even looking at my ZUNE! I understand not wanting to carry around an MP3 Player and a phone....so ill just carry my phone and use it as a ....wait for it...phone! Most of the time my Zune sits in the car and acts as an MP3 player, not a super app machine...
I think that Microsoft made a huge mistake by touting is as an iPod killer...maybe they should have said "Just a great MP3 Player".
As for the ZUne software, only one gripe there...the fact that my Zune does not allow me to shuffle within groups, meaning that while I can shuffle All music, or All in the genre but I cant shuffle All Pink Floyd.
Other than that, Ill end it just like Apple does, "It just works"
BTW I've never tried the Zune HD....why am I going to pay all that money for a touch screen player with less storage....

I wonder if MS has the ability to keep with a long-term strategy at all. It seems like they have very little vision compared to their competition. They seem to operate with a knee-jerk philosophy, quickly changing their minds about everything. They dumped Kin, now they are dumping Zune. How is this suppose to make the WP7 platform attractive? Given Microsoft's recent history, they are liable to drop the WP series next year for something completely different. Haste makes waste.

Shadrack said,
I wonder if MS has the ability to keep with a long-term strategy at all. It seems like they have very little vision compared to their competition. They seem to operate with a knee-jerk philosophy, quickly changing their minds about everything. They dumped Kin, now they are dumping Zune. How is this suppose to make the WP7 platform attractive? Given Microsoft's recent history, they are liable to drop the WP series next year for something completely different. Haste makes waste.

Dumping Kin was actually a good move .particularly because it made no sense.Dumping Zune as a service is just a rumour which isn't true

Shadrack said,
I wonder if MS has the ability to keep with a long-term strategy at all. It seems like they have very little vision compared to their competition. They seem to operate with a knee-jerk philosophy, quickly changing their minds about everything. They dumped Kin, now they are dumping Zune. How is this suppose to make the WP7 platform attractive? Given Microsoft's recent history, they are liable to drop the WP series next year for something completely different. Haste makes waste.

Remember how they just killed "Play for sure" and people that bought any music from it could no longer unlock music (DRM) they bought around the time of the Zune launch and Microsoft swore when it launched the zune it be there in the long run and they knew they had to stick with out for years but there were committed.... yeah....

There was a comment in the recently published 'accelerating the windows phone ecosystem' blog post in the windows blog by tim scudder (timscud), he said

"...we haven't forgotten about Zune. Cools stuff coming..."

Zune has been out for too long and i still have yet to see someone walking around with one in their hand. I'm probably the only poor sap who has one in my town

The name "Zune" was dumb then, and it's still dumb now.

It's also been the butt of too many jokes, so it's beyond saving. It's had years to gain traction, and it hasn't. Go ask the average person what "Zune" is, and they'll either get confused or ask if it's that "other iPod thing". Not like Xbox, their only free-standing brand success, which is synonymous with gaming.

The only people who think it's a strong brand at this point are Microsoft diehards.

Microsoft has let Zune become a laughing stock in spite of the fact that it could be a serious rival to itunes.
Admittedly some of the hardware lacks the sex appeal of the apple devices, but matches or exceeds them in functionality.
Microsoft has completely failed to put any serious weight or dollars behind the Zune. So when they finally let the brand (hopefully not the functions as well) die, they'll claim it never got any traction. Well who's effing fault is that? Why in the world put all the effort into building a complete music/video/podcasting ecosystem just to let it languish into obscurity?
I love Zune, (I've bought 5!) love WP7 (bought an HTC HD7 the first week it was out) and given that I've made my living for the last several years administering Windows systems, I'm a bit of a Microsoft fanboi, but some days I just want to yell, "Hey, Microsoft - SCREW YOU!" I at least deserve a kiss and some flowers before the next time you screw me over!

AKLP said,
Hope they keep support of the Zune Music Player, its awesome

Player needs to be updated to support touch/multitouch.
Why can't I grab the background of a list and scroll it. why do I have to grab those little teeny scrollbars with my chubby fingers. doesn't work well

Zune is an awesome brand and I'd instantly buy the damn thing if it was available in Europe. Don't kill it, Microsoft, expand it!

Rudy said,
Makes sense, at this point the Zune name has a bad stigma attached to it

Why? Because they LET it happen! I've seen a million ipod commercials, to the point that ipod has become synonymous with an MP3 player. I have never seen a single Zune commercial. The only exposure it gets is as the butt of jokes on Family Guy and Robot Chicken.

Yes create a new brand with an even longer name and worst design, excellent thinking microsoft. People are going to enjoy your Windows Live Media Zune 7 HD service.

Digitalx said,
Yes create a new brand with an even longer name and worst design, excellent thinking microsoft. People are going to enjoy your Windows Live Media Zune 7 HD service.

"even longer name" implies that the current name is long. "Zune" ... wow, that took all half of a second to say !

Ridlas said,
I love my Zune HD and my Zune player.

Me too. I don't know what I would do if they removed their subscription service. I read the article and thankfully they're not killing that.

This article is not true.
I work at MS and there is actually a PUSH for zune services on all devices (PC, WP7, Xbox, etc.).... not really as a device anymore, but as a SERVICE.

The person who started this rumour was only because Zune wasn't mentioned on the Nokia presentation. The main reason it wasnt mentioned was because it will probably be the same service on Nokia devices as it is on the other devices. But Nokia will probably want a hub for their own music store too. That's all.

Stupid rumours. Zune is actually a wonderful brand that just needs to be marketed better.

j2006 said,
Stupid rumours. Zune is actually a wonderful brand that just needs to be marketed better.
I am so glad that you posted. I thought that it was stupid given that Zune was growing due to Kinect sales and integration.

j2006 said,
Zune is actually a wonderful brand that just needs to be marketed better.
Can you please tell them to add Zune to the iPhone. Bing on the iPhone is already vastly superior to the WP7 implementation (though I prefer the UI on Bing's WP7 implementation, the sheer number of features in the iPhone version easily trounce the WP7 version), so why not devote some resources to getting Zune onto the iPhone? Clearly the hardware support is there. Plus, once it's on there, then it's on the iPod touch as well.

I'd also love to see Apple block the app for anti-competitive reasons, and get stomped on by the government. I had three Samsung Focus WP7 phones (each one had something seriously wrong hardware wise), so I returned them and stuck with my iPhone. But I loved the software, and I love my Zune HD. Sticking an all-you-can eat Zune Pass onto the iPhone would hopefully loosen Apple's grip on the market in general, and lead people toward WP7.

Other than fear of the investment being wasted (denied app), I've often been shocked that Microsoft has not done this already. Though it might put them back on Apple's "enemy" list in lieu of Google, at least until Google finally releases its own music service.

j2006 said,
This article is not true.
I work at MS and there is actually a PUSH for zune services on all devices (PC, WP7, Xbox, etc.).... not really as a device anymore, but as a SERVICE.

The person who started this rumour was only because Zune wasn't mentioned on the Nokia presentation. The main reason it wasnt mentioned was because it will probably be the same service on Nokia devices as it is on the other devices. But Nokia will probably want a hub for their own music store too. That's all.

Stupid rumours. Zune is actually a wonderful brand that just needs to be marketed better.


I hope this is true, I love the zune service. I just wish they would bring the Zune app to the mac.

cloaked said,

I hope this is true, I love the zune service. I just wish they would bring the Zune app to the mac.

There's already an app for the Mac to connect WP7 and Zune HD devices.. but I haven't heard of Zune softare for mac yet... but I know it's definitely been suggested a LOT. I think it would be a great idea and I hope they do it.

pickypg said,
Can you please tell them to add Zune to the iPhone. Bing on the iPhone is already vastly superior to the WP7 implementation (though I prefer the UI on Bing's WP7 implementation, the sheer number of features in the iPhone version easily trounce the WP7 version), so why not devote some resources to getting Zune onto the iPhone? Clearly the hardware support is there. Plus, once it's on there, then it's on the iPod touch as well.

I'd also love to see Apple block the app for anti-competitive reasons, and get stomped on by the government. I had three Samsung Focus WP7 phones (each one had something seriously wrong hardware wise), so I returned them and stuck with my iPhone. But I loved the software, and I love my Zune HD. Sticking an all-you-can eat Zune Pass onto the iPhone would hopefully loosen Apple's grip on the market in general, and lead people toward WP7.

Other than fear of the investment being wasted (denied app), I've often been shocked that Microsoft has not done this already. Though it might put them back on Apple's "enemy" list in lieu of Google, at least until Google finally releases its own music service.

Why would they bring Zune to the iPhone when Apple has the iTunes Store?

Zune integration is a big selling point of WP7, porting it to iOS means that WP7 would lose one of the major reasons for it's existance, the other being Xbox Live Integration.

How about Microsoft devote those resources to actually make Bing on WP7 better than the iPhone version, it is their own search engine after all.

Edited by neo158, Feb 15 2011, 8:20pm :

Only the branding? What about the hardware?
I find the idea of a "Windows Live Music" brand particulary unoriginal and bland

Vykranth said,
Only the branding? What about the hardware?
I find the idea of a "Windows Live Music" brand particulary unoriginal and bland

I could not agree more. I think its a stupid idea. Zune is the only full service marketplace to take on iTunes and extablish a community. Now they wanna come alone and fold it into Live Services where it will slowly disappear? Leave the Zune brand alone.

Vykranth said,
Only the branding? What about the hardware?
I find the idea of a "Windows Live Music" brand particulary unoriginal and bland

+1

The Teej said,
Well no wonder it didn't take off, it was only ever released in one country. Reeeeeeeeeal clever.

That's Microsoft's mistake with several things including Games for Windows live. They act as if countries outside the US (sometimes Canada/Europe/ Australia) don't exist.

The Teej said,
Well no wonder it didn't take off, it was only ever released in one country. Reeeeeeeeeal clever.

The zune branding is not the zune pmp. I love the zune branding as well, sounds nice, has a nice unique symbol, so I hope this rumour is bs.

Why would they kill the Zune brand ?

What are they going to sell music and movies under ?

Please don't change to

Windows Live Music
Windows Live Movies

or

Xbox Live Movies
Xbox Live Music

This all seems a bit odd. More likely a shuffle of the cards rather than dumping it.

OceanMotion said,
Why would they kill the Zune brand ?

What are they going to sell music and movies under ?

Please don't change to

Windows Live Music
Windows Live Movies

or

Xbox Live Movies
Xbox Live Music

This all seems a bit odd. More likely a shuffle of the cards rather than dumping it.

They're re-organizing things, social stuff under the "live" umbrella, gaming under that as the x-box brand etc. Would make sense, and they need it imo seeing how everything they're producing seems unconnected brand-wise.

OceanMotion said,
Why would they kill the Zune brand ?

Don't worry they won't kill it anytime soon... it's still growing strong especially thanks to WP7 and Xbox and Kinnect.

It is Microsoft's equivalent to iTunes and they are pushing zune in all their latest marketing... dont worry

OceanMotion said,
Why would they kill the Zune brand ?

What are they going to sell music and movies under ?

This all seems a bit odd. More likely a shuffle of the cards rather than dumping it.


If they do I'd expect it to become Bing Music and Bing Movies or whatever. I hope not but I could see it.