Microsoft's Joe Belfiore still working on upcoming Zune hardware

The saga of the Zune hardware has been one for the record books. First it was rumored to be dead, then Microsoft said it wasn't, and then rumors surfaced that the Zune software will live, but the actual hardware will cease to exist. The previous reports that Zune was dead came from a reliable source, but if Microsoft is killing the brand, why is Joe Belfiore still responsible for upcoming Zune devices?

The quote comes for Microsoft's Mix website that states, "for the second year in a row, Joe Belfiore, who oversees Windows Phone Program Management, and is responsible for the design and software product definition of forthcoming generations of Windows phones and Zune devices will keynote MIX". The line leaves a lot to the imagination but clearly states that he is still in charge of design for forthcoming Zune devices, which is peculiar considering that rumors suggest that the hardware side of that platform is dead.

While this latest small bit of information doesn't provide any more clarity into the platform, it does suggest that Zune hardware is still being developed at Microsoft. The best a Zune fan can hope for at this point is a firm announcement from the company about its future hardware plans. Microsoft's Zune's Senior Business Development Manager David McLauchlan, did previously state that "'i'll be going to work tomorrow, working on Zune hardware bizdev. And when Microsoft announces news that is actually news, you'll hear it from us directly, and I'll be sure to pass it on immediately". 

The Zune saga continues on with less clarity than before, at this point the future of Zune is still foggy, but it does appear that Microsoft will not be abandoning the platform for the time being. Until we hear an official statement from Microsoft, the Zune, for the time being, appears to be alive. 

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They already stated that WP7 and Zune hardware will be one and the same in the future. Perhaps, hardware focuses on media playing and will be running WP7 is probably what they are talking about. The Zune brand clearly is not dead.

jasonon said,
its alive because of that one line? didn't microsoft officially announce zune was done for?

No.

And you know why you think they did? Shoddy "journalism"

burnblue said,

No.

And you know why you think they did? Shoddy "journalism"

Completely agree, websites publish multiple rumors and then call it a "saga" when they're the ones publishing the rumors in the first place.

Most of the time Microsoft's startegy is all right, it is the execution that falters.

What Google would do in a week will takes Microsoft three months.

What Apple would do in a day (Jobs reply emailing a customer that iPod Classic lives!!!), will take Microsoft a month (endless series of useless meetings that would finally arrive at the same conclusion),

WP7 Touch (Zune) was and is a good strategy, but where is the product? The product's fate is still being decided by endless series of useless meetings.

Democracy does not work in development. Each development team needs a dictator, s/he decides and is the final word, and that is it, everybody follows. In decmocracy nobody is directly responsible for the product whereas in dictatorship it is the dictator that is directly responsible for the product. He lives and dies by the sword (product's success in the market).

As much as Microsoft has failed in offering a solid competition to the iPod, this is a great device. I've been holding off buying a iPod Touch until the summer when I know for sure if Microsoft is coming out with a new Zune hardware.

So you guys paid no attention when the manager over at the Zune hardware business said he still has his job? Neowin has gone so downhill. How does this sensationalism benefit you?

Obviously the Zune team is working on making Windows Phone a success. Obviously the focus is on phones right now. Obviously Microsoft is not going to make some decision or statement right now that they'll never ever be putting Zune in a non-phone device ever again. All this talk of Zune being dead is so retarded

This is a marketing/PR mistake, and a big one. Microsoft really needs to get their **** together, and not just on this.

I think the main thing where people get confused with Zune/WP7 vs iPod/iPhone is that the Zune and WP7 do not share the same codebase per se they only look like they do since the WP7 takes so much from the ZuneHD interfaces. So current Zune's cannot run WP7 apps and WP7 phones cannot run Zune apps. Whereas iPod touchs / iPhones can run all of the same applications which currently gives Apple a marked advantage over Microsoft still even though the Zune HD is a great device/platform. Also, no one seems to make apps for the ZuneHD outside of Microsoft for the most part.

pupdawg21 said,
I think the main thing where people get confused with Zune/WP7 vs iPod/iPhone is that the Zune and WP7 do not share the same codebase per se they only look like they do since the WP7 takes so much from the ZuneHD interfaces. So current Zune's cannot run WP7 apps and WP7 phones cannot run Zune apps. Whereas iPod touchs / iPhones can run all of the same applications which currently gives Apple a marked advantage over Microsoft still even though the Zune HD is a great device/platform. Also, no one seems to make apps for the ZuneHD outside of Microsoft for the most part.

Who knows maybe for Zune HD2 they use WP7… (They should!)

I wanted to buy a Zune 1-2 years ago when they came out...but Mircosoft's refusal to sell them Internationally mean't I couldn't get one unless it was a dodgy one online with no warranty etc

Well I now have a great Android phone with 48gig of space....I no longer need a Zune!
Well Done Microsoft!

I'm just hoping we get a software update for our Zune HDs. This ui is starting to bug me after seeing how beautiful metro ui has become.

This is not how I would choose to treat my customer base. If the Zune hardware (i.e., the MP3 device) still has a future, I'd come right out and say it. If it won't, again, come right out and say it. I wouldn't leave people hanging. What's Microsoft's deal?

srprimeaux said,
This is not how I would choose to treat my customer base. If the Zune hardware (i.e., the MP3 device) still has a future, I'd come right out and say it. If it won't, again, come right out and say it. I wouldn't leave people hanging. What's Microsoft's deal?

Then it wouldn't be a surprise!

srprimeaux said,
This is not how I would choose to treat my customer base. If the Zune hardware (i.e., the MP3 device) still has a future, I'd come right out and say it. If it won't, again, come right out and say it. I wouldn't leave people hanging. What's Microsoft's deal?

Matter of fact Microsoft never said that the Zune is dead…

Yesterday I had a dream while sleeping. Some reliable source told me a rumor that Neowin is dead. You should realy publish it too since it's from reliable source.

People get all stupid over baseless rumours, and noone does the real work to identify WHERE the rumour came from, to verify it's legitimacy, or lack of.

So, the lesson here (and everywhere else, for that matter) is: relax unless Microsoft (or said company) actually announces anything.

Geez....

I completely agree. I think most people think that the Zune HD is in direct competition with the iPod Touch when Microsoft never said that. The Zune HD is about the music experience. It does it so much better than the iPod Touch. The Zune HD to this day still stands at that position, it still is an incredible product that has a great music experience.

Nobody ever said it was going to mimic Windows Phone 7 except it would not include phone functionality. When the time comes that a better Zune entertainment experience can be brought to the consumer, it will come with improved technology and hopefully a bigger screen resolution and display. I'm assuming once the Tegra 3 comes out, it will be first to use it.

I am not sure about the zune but I have my HTC Arrive with all the No-do update and so far the phone has been a joy to use. Althought I am not a big keyboard fan, I suprisingly love it. With the pre-installed Nodo update, the phone is functional enougth that I won't mind waiting for the Mango update even if it comes late 2011 or early 2012. But, I wonder how a zune phone-less. If Microsoft offer a desireable PMP with 3G, I might actually think about it.

The Black Mamba said,
I am not sure about the zune but I have my HTC Arrive with all the No-do update and so far the phone has been a joy to use. Althought I am not a big keyboard fan, I suprisingly love it. With the pre-installed Nodo update, the phone is functional enougth that I won't mind waiting for the Mango update even if it comes late 2011 or early 2012. But, I wonder how a zune phone-less. If Microsoft offer a desireable PMP with 3G, I might actually think about it.
Even without the NoDo the phones are working very well. This coming from an impatient to get the update Optimus 7 user

The Black Mamba said,
I am not sure about the zune but I have my HTC Arrive with all the No-do update and so far the phone has been a joy to use. -snip-
How is it, truthfully? I actually have one on hold at the Sprint store! Is it pretty good even though it is the first WP7 on Sprint? And a dumb question: can you still sue the landscape on-screen keyboard even though it has a physical one?

Tom W said,
This "information" was posted months ago at the mix site. It's his official job title and means nothing!

Yeah, thought so too. Zune devices just means whatever the software/service runs on. WP7, PC, Xbox etc.

Still, I think doing an iPod Touch yearly device would be great for hardware improvements along with more apps and games.

Tom W said,
This "information" was posted months ago at the mix site. It's his official job title and means nothing!

I know, I've been hearing about this quote since the beginning of the year on other sites, yet Neowin just barely noticed it? You should have used your power of editor and redacted this article, Tom, saved Neowin the embarassment.

I've always thought it would be a good idea to keep Zune devices around like Apple does with the iPod Touch relative to the iPhone but for Microsoft, refreshing the Zune devices gives Windows Phone a hardware base with a yearly bump to keep things moving forward just like Apple does with the iPhone pushing the Touch forward.

Zune hardware will indeed be replaced by WP7, but this is not that time. I mean look at iPod 4g sales. They are getting less year by year but its still a huge number.