Microsoft has publically announced that they will no longer be producing Zune media players. Instead, Windows Phone will now be the focus of their mobile music and video strategy.
News of the discontinued Zune lineup broke yesterday when the device was pulled off the shelves at Zune.net. Company spokesperson Michael Yaeger later tweeted that the Zune HD product page was still live and that a publishing mishap was to blame for the error. Microsoft has since issued the following statement on the Zune support page.
"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. So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. 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. Customer service has been, and will remain a top priority for us."
Rumors of the Zune's demise date back to March when Bloomberg reported that Microsoft would stop introducing new versions of the Zune player because of tepid demand. The decision was allegedly made at that time to move Zune features onto mobile phones, said a person who declined to be identified because the plans hadn't been announced.
Additionally the company killed off their Zune Originals service in July. Potential Zune buyers were instructed to check out the Zune HD or a Windows Phone instead.
Microsoft released the Zune on November 14, 2006 in an attempt to make a dent in the success of the iPod. Apple's subsequent release of the iPhone and iPod touch essentially left Microsoft's Zune in the rearview mirror.
Current Zune users aren't expected to experience any fallout, as warranties for longtime and new owners are still being honored. There's no word if current Zune stock will be discounted to speed up inventory liquidation.