Microsoft Confirms Windows Phones Replace Zune MP3 Players
The Zune MP3 Player, which attempted to challenge Apple's iPod, is no longer in production.
It's official, Microsoft is no longer producing Zune MP3 players. The company is focusing its mobile music and video efforts on Windows Phones.
The official end of Zune hardware production, although reported earlier this year, was confirmed last week when the following statement appeared on a Zune player support page
on a Microsoft Web site:
We recently announced 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.
The page notes that Microsoft continues to observe Zune hardware warranties. A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the official end of Zune hardware production in an email.
The plans to stop making Zune music player hardware first aired back in March, but they were attributed to an unnamed source in a Bloomberg story. At that time, Dave McLauchlan, a Microsoft program manager, reacted to the Bloomberg story by saying that Microsoft had not revealed any such plans. He claimed that Zune software running on Windows Phone 7 devices was the 2011 release of the Zune device.
Apparently, Microsoft's plans were in flux -- even as late as last week, when a product page disappeared from Microsoft's Web site. It was later described as a mistake. Now, it appears there is no doubt: Zune hardware production has been killed by Microsoft.
Zune hardware apparently can still be purchased from some retail outlets. However, the form factor that once attempted to challenge Apple's iPod will eventually disappear.
Zune software lives on, and can be installed on Windows Phone 7 devices and PCs, and can be used on Xbox consoles. Zune software is also a prerequisite installation to continue to get updates on Windows Phone 7 devices, such as the recently issued "Mango" Windows Phone 7.5 update.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.