Zune HD killed off - for the third time in a week [Updated]

Is this the end of the road for the Zune HD? After the events of the last few days, it feels like it might still be premature to confirm its demise.

Last week, we revealed the news that Microsoft had removed all references to the player hardware from the Zune.net site, while the Zune HD player itself had suddenly become ‘out of stock'. Just a few hours later, Microsoft contacted Neowin with an update, claiming that the removal of the Zune HD and references to it from the site was “an inadvertent publishing issue”, and the player had magically become available for purchase once more from the site.

A day later, though, we reported that Microsoft had published a page on its support site, unequivocally stating that “going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players”, while assuring customers that Zune hardware and software would continue to function as normal, and all warranties would continue to be supported.

That should have been the end of that. But the very next day, Microsoft confused things yet again, as a tweet from the official @ZuneSupport account claimed that the page that had been published on its support site the previous day had been “added to the Zune website in error”, and the page subsequently vanished. A further tweet, an hour later, appeared to reaffirm Microsoft's commitment to its Zune hardware: “We are still supporting the Zune HD hardware. No official info has been released stating hardware is being discontinued.”

Now, the support page is back up again, although the Zune site retains links and references to the Zune HD hardware. However, the Microsoft Store is showing the devices as out of stock once more. With the restored page on the support site confirming that no further Zune player hardware will be produced, this must surely mean that the Zune HD has, at long last, reached the end of its journey.

We can only hope that this is the end of this increasingly absurd saga… but don't be too surprised to hear that Microsoft has changed its mind again within a day or two, giving its Zune HD yet another short lease of life.


Update: The latest official 'Windows Phone Radio' podcast (episode 45) includes confirmation that the Zune HD is no more. In the middle of a discussion, the comment is made that "we're not going to be making the Zune HD any more, which is a bummer", around 12m40s in. The link to the podcast can be found on the Windows Phone Blog on the Microsoft website. Thanks to WPDownUnder for letting us know in the comments below.

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SuperKid said,

Because Spotify has Facebook and Last.fm integration, it works on multiple devices including my Phone, and no where near as much music on Zune Pass than there is on Spotify.

Exactly. The only reason I still keep Zune is b/c of the free tracks - I like to sample my music, then keep the stuff I like. Zune service should be on every platform. It's a no-brained, and I don't understand the stubborn refusal to do this. Not many people buy a phone for the MP3 capabilities - that's usually just an added benefit. So it's not really going to make or break WP7, and it can only help to provide more exposure to the incredible Metro interface for users of other phone OSs.

I guess the comment in the previous Zune news by a user:
"we killed it, no we didn't, yes we did, we have a new one, no we don't...." was very true lol.

Balmer must have forgotten to take his meds this week and he's terrorizing Microsoft headquarters. One day he's freaking at you telling you to discontinue it and the next day he's saying you're going to be fired if you don't take that crap off the internet because they're going to continue to market the Zune.....Bring back Gates. We should do an Occupy Microsoft to demand the return of Bill Gates so that stability will return to Microsoft.

Dead'Soul said,
Ballmer: Zune HD! You're fired!!!!
...Ballmer: Hired!
....Ballmer: Nope, fired again!
....Ballmer: Would like to work with us again, Zune? Good, that's what I wanted to hear.
....Ballmer: Get out, didn't I fire you a day ago?
....Ballmer: Welcome to the team, Zune. I hope you enjoy your- you are FIRED!

FMH said,
...Ballmer: Hired!
....Ballmer: Nope, fired again!
....Ballmer: Would like to work with us again, Zune? Good, that's what I wanted to hear.
....Ballmer: Get out, didn't I fire you a day ago?
....Ballmer: Welcome to the team, Zune. I hope you enjoy your- you are FIRED!


thanks it was great

I'll probably still be using mine til the end of time or somewhere around there. I certainly don't need more space or a cellphone contract.

Maysky said,
It's like in horror film, the "killer" just won't die.


I was going to say cockroach, but this also right.

For the love of god, WHO CARES?!? Yes, I actually own the 64gig version of the Zune HD. I love the device and glad I bought it. It does everything I need it to do. We know that Microsoft was not going to support the device anymore so why is this even news? All I care about is that the software will continue to work with my device. Move on already.

Judging by how many comments the recent articles on the dead-again-alive-again Zune HD has received, and how widely reported this ongoing saga has been on virtually all tech sites of note, I'd say quite a sizeable number of people care.

But thanks for letting us know that you don't care, and in no uncertain terms. That's the news we've all been waiting for really.

Maybe if Windows Phone gains significant traction in marketshare someday, they'll rerelease new Zune devices just as Apple has managed to do with iPhone and iPod Touch.

Damn I was really hoping they would at least upgrade the hardware and software a tad... I really enjoy my ZuneHD, but to see no more for it is sad...

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