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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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