Zune player officially discontinued

It appears Microsoft has mixed feelings about the Zune. The Redmond giant denied that the Zune was dying earlier today when the device page was taken down from Zune.net, even going as far as stating to the media that the move was a mistake.

Now, a page on the Zune support page confirms the Zune HD's fate, with the company stating "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." 

The post also went on to say they would continue to look after those with the devices, saying "your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honor the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our very last devices."

The move has been a long time coming, and it was widely suspected Microsoft would drop the device with the effort the company is throwing into Windows Phone as of the Mango release. Despite this, it'll still be disappointing for those who own Zunes to hear the news. It's worth noting that there will be no change to the Zune software, nor Zune Pass (other than dropping the price!) under the announcement.

It's sad to see Microsoft leaving the portable music player game, but it's great to see the company willing to admit when it's gone wrong and learn from those experiences.

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I hope my Zune HD doesn't crap out on me. I use it way to much around campus to have a phone become my music player. I was hoping to upgrade to a newer android phone this Christmas as I am hating my EVOs battery life.

Zune HD is a good player...but when you are going to thinking you can capture a significant part of the market from iPod - you are already setting yourself up for a loss especially when you are limiting yourself geographically.

MistaT40 said,
Zune HD is a good player...but when you are going to thinking you can capture a significant part of the market from iPod - you are already setting yourself up for a loss especially when you are limiting yourself geographically.

Like the book Rework says: If you're planning to build "the iPod killer" or "the next Pokemon," you're already dead.

For me Microsoft made a mistake in only having the Zune available in the US. I was in Canada and had to wait to get to the US just to get one. I am sorry to see it go, as I use mine all the time.
It is still far better than my Windows 7 phone for listening to audiobooks.

Its very smart.. look at apple.. even how successful the ipod was.. they are starting to cancel the classic and will probably cancel the ipod touch in 2 years from now.. why keep it out there if it is not gaining any growth

It's not "gone wrong", there's just no good reason for them to invest in portable media players. What reason do they have to make more? It's 2011

burnblue said,
It's not "gone wrong", there's just no good reason for them to invest in portable media players. What reason do they have to make more? It's 2011

Maybe cause the battery in a phone will last one day of normal use. And if you listen to music the whole day you wont be able to answer your phone call before the end of it ...

I have both a blackberry phone and ipod. The reason is when i'm travelling i don't want to drain the battery of my phone while listening to music or watching video on plane or train.

I have a WP7 and a Zune HD. For traveling, I bring the Zune HD because my phone's battery life just doesn't cut it. I need it for e-mails, calls, etc... Can't watch a movie on a plane and expect my phone to still be working by the end of the day before I have a chance to charge it.

I love my Zune Classic 30 so much, I'll have to pick up an HD when they go on sale. For music they cant be beat, but my iPod touch beats it at everything else.

damn microsoft its your own fault for this happening, only selling in the us, no advertising, no real push to try to compete with apple.
they really had a beautiful device here. When will you learn, products don't just sell them selves
I sure hope this doesn't happen with Windows Phone as Im about to purchase

wv@gt said,
damn microsoft its your own fault for this happening, only selling in the us, no advertising, no real push to try to compete with apple.
they really had a beautiful device here. When will you learn, products don't just sell them selves
I sure hope this doesn't happen with Windows Phone as Im about to purchase

I don't think they would do this to WP,
Just because they putted alot of money to it (promoting)
Zune HD was just a Single function device (Mp3 player)
WP's are csmartphones(popular) and comes with zune intergrated! ^^

Krieg said,
I have a Zune, 1st Gen...haven't used it in years...gave it to my wife, then got an iPhone.

Good for you. I got a laser printer.

Krieg said,
I have a Zune, 1st Gen...haven't used it in years...gave it to my wife, then got an iPhone.

I bought a printer, a heat press and a graphtec cutter i make t-shirts of pandas ;3

but in all seriousness, i was opting to buy a mango device till i read this... poor zune... that's frightful. perhaps i'll try galaxy s2 with some other os

Izlude said,

I bought a printer, a heat press and a graphtec cutter i make t-shirts of pandas ;3

but in all seriousness, i was opting to buy a mango device till i read this... poor zune... that's frightful. perhaps i'll try galaxy s2 with some other os

Err, they're killing stand alone media hardware, not the service or platform. Why should this stop you from getting mango phone?

It's unfortunate for Microsoft to do this. They could've marketed the Zune device more effectively and taken the Apple approach (i.e., offering the Zune alongside Windows Phone w/ apps for both). But now they've moved the Zune device out and left a gaping hole for the iPod to engulf. After all, who is going to buy their children a Windows Phone just so they can have a portable music player? They'll most likely opt for the iPod now.

This also causes one to question the dedication MS has for its products. How does one know if they invest in something today, MS will stand behind it in the future?

Not looking too good.

Ok, headline is really misleading after the series of misleading 'speculation' that came out of a press release that omitted saying, "Don't assume we are going to screw current Zune owners."

Which seems to be mandatory for Microsoft to do, where Apple doesn't have to detail things out to a level of assumed ignorance just to ensure the idiotic press doesn't run with made up crap.

As for the ZuneHD support, they discontinued it months ago, this is NOT NEW or related to this, other than Microsoft 'having' to re-clarify the insane assumptions about Zune content and Pass services fully.

The headline and blurb 'Mixed feelings' are either intentionally misleading or show a fundamental lack of understanding. What did Microsoft change their mind about and what have they done to show they have shifting positions that would expressed as mixed feelings?
Nothing...

ZuneHD was discontinued months ago.
Zune Pass was NEVER going away from Zune users.
Zune Pass changed the model to separate out 'free songs', subscription only, and moved to be 'Music subscription' as they are possibly preparing for a 'Video subscription'.

There are no mixed feelings, or changes, or anything but what they have been saying early this year and was always the plan for WP7 to replace the ZuneHD and expand out the Zune services, as they have been the core backbone of XBox and other media services from Microsoft before they even had the 'Zune' brand name.


As for the Zune HD hardware, Microsoft NEVER wanted to make the hardware in the first place, but with Apple lawsuits when they were introducing PlaysForSure v2, Creative and other MP3 companies didn't want to participate in producing the 'Zune' level devices, which left Microsoft to produce them to fill the void. (They wanted the new format to be supported, and have a standard feature set of things like WiFi, etc.)

And the Zune void has been filled, not only with WP7 and OEMs making the hardware, but even the concepts, as iOS 5 will finally offer WiFi Syncing, and Macs are doing the 'cloud' and 'social', that Zune has had for years and years.

(Microsoft has done this with tons of hardware over the years, filling a void, waiting for other products to enter the playing field with Microsoft sharing the base ideas/concepts/protocols/etc and then stepping out of producing their own hardware.))

I have had mine for years and it's still working great! very solid, smooth, high quality built device - not to mention the metro which tops it off. Haters gonna hate

MrChuang said,
I have had mine for years and it's still working great! very solid, smooth, high quality built device - not to mention the metro which tops it off. Haters gonna hate

One reason that I did not like mine was because the HD model didn't allow you to connect to hidden wireless networks and for as long as I had mine, MS never did release a firmware update to allow it.

dvb2000 said,
the "social" - WTF!
brown - WTF!
only available in the USA - WTF!

WTF was microsoft thinking???

Social = Facebook/Live/Zune/XBox that exists today. They were a bit early with the concept, but it was a new idea that friends with Zune players could share a song between their players over WiFi. Now you see Apple, Google, and Facebook directly integrating these base concepts of sharing what music you like, playlists, etc. So whether it was the best idea, it is something that is now a part of people's lives.

Brown = Ya, it was not so brilliant. This is where too many straight men were making design decisions.

Only USA = This was not Microsoft's intention. Due to the way the Zune Subscription and the new PlaysforSure v2 model worked, and the EU rulings, countries kept blocking Microsoft being able to offer this to the world. Zune is NOT iTunes because of how it handles subscriptions and HD video rental/releases that are regionally restricted. If people outside the US want to be upset about Zune availability, they need to have a chat with their country's regulations body. Secondly, they need to talk to the content providers that also held up licenses.

Now that Microsoft is out of some of the Monopoly restrictions in the US and some pull back from the EU, they have been pushing HARD to get Zune content available to non-US residents for WP7, XBox and the PC.

So WTF was Microsoft thinking? A bit ahead of the curve, and hoping they wouldn't get screwed around by restrictions to provide Zune. Do you really think Microsoft artificially didn't offer Zune Pass and other Zune video features to non-US residents because they were stupid and didn't want the revenue? Ya, not so much uh?

thenetavenger said,


Only USA = This was not Microsoft's intention. Due to the way the Zune Subscription and the new PlaysforSure v2 model worked, and the EU rulings, countries kept blocking Microsoft being able to offer this to the world. Zune is NOT iTunes because of how it handles subscriptions and HD video rental/releases that are regionally restricted. If people outside the US want to be upset about Zune availability, they need to have a chat with their country's regulations body. Secondly, they need to talk to the content providers that also held up licenses.

Now that Microsoft is out of some of the Monopoly restrictions in the US and some pull back from the EU, they have been pushing HARD to get Zune content available to non-US residents for WP7, XBox and the PC.

So WTF was Microsoft thinking? A bit ahead of the curve, and hoping they wouldn't get screwed around by restrictions to provide Zune. Do you really think Microsoft artificially didn't offer Zune Pass and other Zune video features to non-US residents because they were stupid and didn't want the revenue? Ya, not so much uh?

Not at all; EU never stopped MS to launch the Zune in Europe.

One of the biggest problem with the Zune player, yes i had one, was that, thanks to MS artificial limitations, the Zune was not "seen" as mass storage device. I ended up selling mine because i could not use it in my car using the USB port and have it shown on the dashboard display.
regardless the time for "Player only" devices is over; the same happened with "PDA only" devices replaced by Smartphones.

Kushan said,
Maybe if they'd released it in more countries, it'd have done better?

Doubtful - the general trend is towards tablets and phones rather than a dedicated media device itself; even the iPod sale are shrinking as people move over to the iPhone.

remixedcat said,
zunes had bad sound quality.... good riddance.

The Zunes sound quality was widely regarded as better than the vast majority of its rivals.

remixedcat said,
zunes had bad sound quality.... good riddance.

Sounds like you had bad headphones then. CNET did a blind test of the audio quality on a Zune 30 and an iPod Classic, and the Zune came out on top.

MightyJordan said,

Sounds like you had bad headphones then. CNET did a blind test of the audio quality on a Zune 30 and an iPod Classic, and the Zune came out on top.

ipods don't have the best SQ either. I listened to a zune on high end senhieser's and bose headphones. the ipods were tested on the same for me. neither sounded the best they could have been.

Cowon and Sandisk have the best SQ for standalone players. Both have really good DSPs. Even better with RockBox!!!!

also most of those tests they only try mainstream bad quality pop music anyways and they never test complex music like trance, melodic metal, or dark chill music.

also japanese female artists are hard type to try as well most player choke on the vocals. or you can't hear them very well with any amount of EQ correction. the zunes had a tough time with ami suzuki, some auymi hamasaki tracks, and specially YUKI's music. the bose headphones were best for yuki and ami while the senheisers were best for ayu. but still it was tricky to get them listenable... the fuze and cowon had no trouble with them.

the hardest to get to sound right was within temptation on both brands and also PUSH/MIKE/Plasticboy and ATB and lasgo's old ones (the evy era) was tricky as well as milk inc. sylver sounded the worst on the zune. silvy's vocals split really badly! and silvy sounds amazing on my fuze with rockbox as well as the cowon I tested!!

Edited by remixedcat, Oct 4 2011, 10:07am :

~Johnny said,

The Zunes sound quality was widely regarded as better than the vast majority of its rivals.

+1. I've actually never seen a complaint about Zune's sound quality before...

Hmm, might we see another firesale soon? Shame I wouldn't be able to get involved if it did happen, as they never officially sold the Zune over here (I imported my old Zune 30 from America a month after it came out, sold it a while ago, and now I'm on a 160GB 6.5G iPod Classic).

Damned shame, really. Almost sad they dropped it earlier, then got caught in the process (before the "official" announcement could be made), then said "Nope, we're good to go, order a Zune HD today!" and now this only hours later.

Geez... had one in the past, got rid of it, but now I'll try to land myself another one because it is a truly awesome PMP, really. Disappointed that they never put any microSD card slots in it, but that's how it goes.

It would be pretty cool if they released something that allowed the hobbyists out here - like myself - to make some better use of the device but, I suppose that won't happen either.

But you never know... the Microsoft of today isn't the one from even 2-3 years ago. We'll see what happens...

virtorio said,
I'd be sad to see it go, except they didn't release it in my country.

Have they released its successor (Windows Phone)?

M_Lyons10 said,

Have they released its successor (Windows Phone)?

I thought Microsoft was trowing with mango's all over the place..

I agree with the apps for android and iPhone, it will give it greater exposure with only minimal impact to wp7 sales imo. In fact it could help out as people would jump ship just due to wanting change anyway, the Zune service being greater exposed would only be a good thing.

duddit2 said,
I agree with the apps for android and iPhone, it will give it greater exposure with only minimal impact to wp7 sales imo. In fact it could help out as people would jump ship just due to wanting change anyway, the Zune service being greater exposed would only be a good thing.

isnt it against the iphone rules?? because it fulfills something that is already built into the OS.. just a question

Enron said,

Consider a Windows Phone!


In 16 months when my contract is up, maybe. Until then they're losing a potential revenue stream by making the Zune music and video services WinMo only.

soldier1st said,
The only reason why is obvious. Money and more money. It ain't selling very good so might as well drop it.

No fooling you.

zivan56 said,
Please release and unlocked bootloader so we can get rockbox on it.
Why would you do that? Ruin such a nice interface + apps + Zune service among other things...Granted rockbox does have some nice features for audiophiles, but still.

zivan56 said,
Please release and unlocked bootloader so we can get rockbox on it.

it would be way better if they put a way to have a ****ty version of WP7 on it.. where you can atleast put some apps on it