Has Zune Finally Met Its Inevitable Demise?

By  |  Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm

With Microsoft’s Zune conspicuously absent from the Redmond company’s lovefest with Nokia last week, the Microsofties are abuzz that the company’s answer to Apple’s iPod may be on its way out. Paul Thurrott noted that the company talked about every Microsoft service practically but Zune at the Nokia press conference; Mary Jo Foley chimed in later with a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson which only seemed to raise even more questions.

We’re not ‘killing’ any of the Zune services/features in any way. Microsoft remains committed to providing a great music and video experience from Zune on platforms such as Xbox LIVE, Windows-based PCs, Zune devices and Windows Phone 7, as well as integration with Bing and MSN.

The focus of that statement seems to be the platform, not necessarily the device — and in the end, can we really blame Microsoft? After all, the device has failed to generate much buzz outside of Microsoft-centric computer users. While “the social” had good intentions, it was all but useless because without users to share with, what good is the signature feature of Zune?

I’ve said for quite a bit (and here too) that its a waste of money for Microsoft to continue attempting to take on Apple’s iPod ecosystem with a player of its own. That said, incorporating Zune’s platform further into other successful offerings (Windows Live, Xbox, etc.) is a good thing. Maybe that’s what the future holds for the brand.

Even Microsofties need to be honest with themselves: the writing has been on the wall on Zune for years. No amount of whizbang features, sky-high advertising budgets, or reorganizations are going to save the player itself. There is a home for Zune, but not in its current form.


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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Tim Acheson Says:


    We don’t even know what the plans are for Zune on Nokia.

    But all available evidence shows Zune is on the up. Zune is taking an increasing bite out of iTunes’ market share. Is the author unaware of the facts
    concerning Zune?

    People love nonsensical speculation like this about MS products.

  2. Kmno Says:

    The problem was marketing pure and simple. Every person the I have shown the zune to always remarked that they never really heard of it. Then I get the the “wow this is great!”. So msft messed it up with virtually no marketing. I wish the pushed it as much as bing.

  3. Rob Says:

    My son is rather anti-Apple, so that has always led him to non-Apple players. His recent Zune purchase was because of the high audio quality and the ability to play video. IOW, the features are good for the money, but it will ever be in the iPod shadow.

  4. HRMitchell Says:

    And there are many of us who refuse to use iTunes for any purpose. Apple has yet to develop any product that I can honestly say I would like, from computers to music players and phones.

    That said, I wish there were Zune software for my Motorola Droid2 phone.

  5. Larry Crockett Says:

    I am perennially surprised that a company with this many resources is so perennially late in bringing winning technology to the marketplace. For a time, one could hope that Microsoft would become more innovative and do more than rely on Windows/Office. But now with its market-cap below Apple's and Apple's cash stash rivaling Microsoft's, it looks like the game is largely over. Mobile and personal devices will inherit the computing of the future and Microsoft seems destined to be an asterisk. A pity.