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.