back to article Microsoft calls time on Zune media player hardware

Microsoft is to pull the plug on its Zune line of media players, it has been claimed. The software giant won't be introducing any new models, insists an insider. If the unnamed mole cited by Bloomberg proves to be correct, we won't be surprised. The media player market is now in decline, and Zune was never a major part of it …


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  1. Code Monkey


    Coming up after the break: Sinclair pulls plug on QL, C5 also at risk.

  2. Carol Orlowski

    1 down 3 to go.

    just Xbox, Kinect and Windows Mobile hardware left for rubbish Microsoft hardware.

    1. O RLY

      1 down 3 to go. What, brain cells?

      Microsoft don't make phones. They make phone software.

      Kinect, yes, that piece of shit. The fastest selling electronics product ever. That hasn't been welcomed with red rings of death like early Xbox 360s or an inability to stay on calls like iPhone 4.

      Xbox, yeah, your post might have been valid... ... in 2006.

  3. Lottie


    I mean this in all seriousness - Was it any good as a media player? I know it was hamstrung by lack of marketing and an i-tunes alike interface for computers, but was the hardware much cop in and of itself?

    1. Paradroid

      They probably are quite decent...

      I'd imagine it's probably got better sound quality than some of the iPod range - my Classic 120gb in particular.

      However I've found a few UI issues with the Zune playback software on my WP7 device. Sound quality is great but the interface is a bit too pared back in some ways. It doesn't even bother to display track lengths which can be annoying.

      Much of the Metro UI used on the Zune players and WP7 devices is great though.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Reviews were fair

      Its power as a device is overlooked simply because it was butt ugly, limited in availability and priced similar to Apple. Did it ever launch in the UK? it was always "coming soon".

      Microsoft could have developed WP7 for Zune and phones Why on earth did they let Windows Mobile limp along while developing yet another interface sitting on top of WinCE for Zune? They could have put the Zune people on the phone platform and ended up with an OS for mobiles and media players.

      Write once (OS), sell many should be the approach, not write many, sell few.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Hi, actually I had one of the HardDrive players and currently have a Zune HD, both are robust players with excellent audio and build quality.

      The Zune service is excellent, I actually signed up to the US one before it was avalable over here and that coupled with the excellent Zune PC software made for a great experience.

      I have had a lot of MP3 players and have to say I prefer the HD over the other ones I had including my iPod touch, if your not that fussed about apps.

      The Zune PC software is better IMO than iTunes on my Mac, so that in itself is a testament.

      Such is the quality of the player and the software on it I have been slightly disappointed with the implemetation on my HD7, but its early days yet for WP7.

      But as usual the MS haters knock it down without ever actually using the product, hope they keep the Zune streaming etc around.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I only know one person in the UK who has played with one and he really liked it. I understand that the WP7 media player is fairly zuney and I think that's ok, but I don't really do much other than podcasts and listen to the radio on it.

  4. advocate


    it is all about the winpho now - the zune served its purpose and has helped to produce the winpho software (which I think is quite good, not flawless, but good).

    All thats missing really is a small mp3 player for those gym monkeys like the ipod shuffle/nano...

  5. Bilgepipe

    Microsoft calls time on Zune media player hardware

    >> Microsoft calls time on Zune media player hardware

    I kind of assumed they did that long, long ago. Still five years too late though.

  6. Steve McPolin

    a job well done.

    Zune was the last of the iPOD slayers; well done!

    Will it be reincarnated as an iPAD or iPHONE killer? You certainly don't want to lose the draw of that brand power. I bet, even today, the mere mention of it brings tears to the eyes of those who woke up one fateful christmas to find out they weren't getting an iPOD after all.

    Zune-II; slayer of iSPLAT?

    The squirt was not enough - this beast will take a full fledged dump.

    1. Code Monkey

      Zune II

      I expect that Zune's back in the list of trademarks to be reused. Somewhere below Clippy* and MS Bob*.

      * may not have been trademarked. Meh.

  7. David Lawrence
    Jobs Halo

    Am I the only dinosaur....

    ...who wants a media player that has sufficient capacity to hold my entire music collection, which simply will not fit on an SD card? I don't have the time to keep changing the contents of a lower-capacity storage card so I can stick it into my phone and use that. Life's too short. My ipod classic lasts AGES between charges where the phone is nowehere near as good if you use it as a pmp. Sadly there seems to be no viable alternative and I guess that will continue until someone brings out a small, high-capacity, low power consumption alternative to the hard disc.

  8. hitmouse

    No chance for global success

    Despite what were actually pretty good reviews for hardware and software Microsoft never released Zune outside of North America, so it wasn't ever going to get global lift-off.

    It's also only in the last six months that the Zune marketplace for Winpho users has been available outside of the US, and even then most places with hardware availablility do not have the marketplace to tap into. Microsoft just doesn't seem to be able to get it together for online distribution/sales outside of North America.

  9. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    I feel sorry for the Zune fans who are getting left behind by MS.

    all three of them...

    1. Ian 25
      Thumb Up

      Multiple devices

      @David: you're not the only one. Ditto for the poxy phone on my iPhone vs my £100 baby Lumix. I have many jacket pockets, and I'm not afraid to use them. Some day I will make a mugger very happy.

  10. OffBeatMammal

    greate devices

    I've had a bunch of Zunes over the last few year and never had a problem. the hardware has outlived the iPods we've had in between and we're not especially gentle on them

    The desktop software is a bit quirky (as phone users are finding out) but once you adapt to the UI it all kinda makes sense

    I just hope some of the phone OEMs take on board some of the Zune hardware underpinnings (robust, nice looks on the HD) and stop producing generic clone-phones

  11. The Unexpected Bill

    Zune was a mixed bag...

    I remember when the Zune first came out and everyone at Microsoft was saying "this will be the iPod killer". Hmm. I guess it didn't work out quite like they thought it would.

    In my role as a freelance computer serviceperson, I never even saw that many Zune players in use. People were using iPods or Sandisk players of some kind. Whenever I asked, many of the comments about Zune players were negative. Most people complained that the hardware was unreliable/fragile and technical support was not all that great. For me, it was a non-starter. An iPod mini and iTunes work on Windows 2000* while Zune's software claimed not to. (I have no idea if the Zune appeared as a conventional USB mass storage device or if it required the software.)

    I also remember the Zune HD getting some pretty good reviews, and I did like the way it was designed. I've never seen one of those in the wild, but maybe I'll pick one up on the cheap and see what I think of it.

    * yes, I'm going to beat the drum on that for a while. What can I say? It works relentlessly and it's paid for. And it might just be the best release of Windows that Microsoft ever managed to produce.

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge


      Win2k was their best effort to date (and probably "ever"). I only left it when VMWare required XP or greater for their vSphere 4 client (stupid VMware). So I went with 2003 Server as it has fewer annoyances than XP.

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