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Microsoft over the weekend wrote the final chapter in the book of Zune, making good on its promise to retire a streaming music subscription service long past its prime.
The move means that owners of Microsoft's failed media player are no longer able to streaming or download content from the Zune music service. As such, the device has effectively been downgraded to a standard MP3 player although Microsoft says that media purchased with DRM may not play if its license can't be renewed.
Those with existing Zune Music Pass subscriptions will be automatically converted to Groove Music Pass subscriptions.
This past summer, Microsoft ditched its Xbox Music branding in favor of Groove, a name that resident Microsoft blogger Brandon LeBlanc said described what people feel and do with music. Microsoft's Joe Belfiore said the change was made to eliminate confusion as some believed the service was an Xbox exclusive.
Microsoft introduced the Zune in late 2006 as an obvious (yet late) answer to the iPod. Apple, meanwhile, was busy working on the original iPhone that Steve Jobs would unveil just a few months later in early 2007. Jobs famously billed the iPhone as an iPod, a phone and an Internet communicator.
It wasn't long until the concept of a standalone MP3 player became obsolete, its functions instead rolled into modern smartphones. Had Microsoft launched the Zune a few years earlier, it would have almost certainly found more success.