Rumor: Microsoft to kill Zune hardware, focus on software

By on March 15, 2011, 6:00 AM
Microsoft is going to kill off the Zune. More specifically, the company is no longer going to sell Zune hardware (remaining devices will be sold but new ones will not be produced) and will instead focus on the software side of things, according to Bloomberg:
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) will stop introducing new versions of the Zune music and video player because of tepid demand, letting the company shift its focus to other devices, according to a person familiar with the decision. Microsoft will concentrate on putting Zune software onto mobile phones, such as those running its Windows operating system, said the person, who declined to be identified because the decision hasn't been announced. Zune software lets customers buy songs and movies, as well as pay a monthly fee to stream unlimited music.

The Zune service already has a foothold on the Xbox 360 and on Windows Phone devices, and it's doing quite well there. It's not clear if the name "Zune" will be changed or not, but hopefully Microsoft doesn't have yet another rebrand under its sleeves.

The Zune software is quite good, and most users are quite happy with their Zune devices, but alas the sales are just not there: Microsoft entered the market way too late, at a time when Apple already had a monopoly with its iPod. If I may make the comparison, the Zune is to the iPod like the Macintosh is to the Windows PC.

This is one of those rumors that we're not too surprised about, but then again we've heard similar whispers before. Microsoft is a software company that has only has some success in selling hardware (PC peripherals and the Xbox franchise). Because Redmond has yet to announce anything along the lines of Zune hardware going out the door, however, we're going to keep this one neatly in the rumor box, for now.





User Comments: 14

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HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Or not... [link]

An article at AnythingButiPod which has one of the Microsoft big wigs correcting otherwise

freedomthinker said:

Man i would choose Zune over an Ipod , looms much better , runs smoother , the fonts and software look killer for me ;] I love how they make it so colorful !

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

hamsteyr said:

Or not... [link]

An article at AnythingButiPod which has one of the Microsoft big wigs correcting otherwise

Thanks for that. It's easy to speculate that in 18 months if the hardware hasn't been refreshed that it wont be. That might be what the referring article is getting at. I do hope that Zune does get an update. It's a better player than iPod.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Thanks, hamsteyr.

Guest said:

Come on M$... you should know by now If your product is good it wont sell. M$ flourishes on inferior hardware and buggy software. They need to RROD or E74 the Zune in-order to reach record sales...then release a successor like the X-Box.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

hamsteyr said:

Or not... [link]

An article at AnythingButiPod which has one of the Microsoft big wigs correcting otherwise

You should work for Techspot!

Nah, I kid.

Zune software is superior to iTunes in almost every way. It's really beyond me why people haven't made the switch. Seriously, if this isn't brainwashing, I don't know what it is.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Good to hear hamsteyr, however that statement doesn't really add much clarity. It does give me more hope though as I personally think the Zune music wise is the better device, especially on the software side of things. And as an owner of both the iPod & Zune, I much prefer the latter.

yRaz yRaz said:

The zune software is great. I also think the zune also sounds better than anything apple has to offer. Both their software and hardware is better, but that never stopped anyone from going apple. I think that if the zune HD had a bigger screen it would have sold a lot better.

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Haha, don't mention it. I happen to be an audiophile of sorts as well so this news striked me as interesting and I did a little lookup haha...

On that note I don't know If i could ever go from my Cowon to a Zune :x

And oh, FYI Apple's sound quality on their iPods have nothing on the Cowon. I fix iPods for side money, and their sound quality and reproduction makes me feel like ripping my ears out then driving screwdrivers into my eardrums haha.

I think what the article means is more of like a refresh to the Zune line. I think that from a marketing standpoint, Microsoft has to establish that they're more than just a brand associated with xboxes and PCs. A lot more PR needs to get out there with their Zune if they intend to fight apple neck and neck

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

hamsteyr said:

Haha, don't mention it. I happen to be an audiophile of sorts as well so this news striked me as interesting and I did a little lookup haha...

On that note I don't know If i could ever go from my Cowon to a Zune :x

And oh, FYI Apple's sound quality on their iPods have nothing on the Cowon. I fix iPods for side money, and their sound quality and reproduction makes me feel like ripping my ears out then driving screwdrivers into my eardrums haha.

I think what the article means is more of like a refresh to the Zune line. I think that from a marketing standpoint, Microsoft has to establish that they're more than just a brand associated with xboxes and PCs. A lot more PR needs to get out there with their Zune if they intend to fight apple neck and neck

I know what you're saying. I got a 16GB S9, and the EQ is amazing. The only comparable model would be a P3, mainly because of DNSe 3.0 (Hell, even the Sansa Clip). These three devices are light years away from iPod's sound quality, but then again, ignorance is bliss...

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

@lawfer

Haha, true dat. I laugh and smirk when I see people commenting about the quality of sound from iPods. Though, even if they're given a chance to test out the Cowon's or Sansa's Audio, they'd reject it because they paid too much money to accept that fact hahaha.

I used to use a Sansa e270 (6gb), and now I'm on the cowon i9 (16gb) and it is just... well, it literarily blows my mind away haha. Would love the s9, though Its sad they don't have wifi on that. The D3 is amusing, though Cowon needs to refine their android Os before anything else. When they get good at that, then maybe I'll consider getting a D3 (Closest to an iPod Touch - I like having wifi while listening to music so that I can do surfing, at the moment I use a fixed up iPod Touch and my i9 separately)

KG363 KG363 said:

The zune=mac comparison is apples to oranges, but I can see some similarity.

The only problem that Zunes had was the lack of refreshes. If they devoted more to the Zune HD hardware and apps, they could've gone somewhere. The should just do a windows 7 phone without the phone part and sell that. I'd buy it

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

@kg363: An all too common saying, though I wasn't comparing with Macs as It was Zune to iPod. They're both Mp3 Players mind you, so its not apples to oranges.

ikesmasher said:

ipod touch>Zune HD. app store makes it so much more worth it.

As for a simple music device, ive always wanted a Zune, i wouldn't be surprised if it was better then nanos. (FTR the new nano sucks. small touch screens are an awful idea)

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