The Zune brand is now dead as a hardware line, says Microsoft. The software giant has confirmed that the Zune HD is no longer being manufactured. This is not a new revelation, as Microsoft hasn’t introduced new Zune hardware or featured it in some time. Instead, it has migrated the Zune software to Windows Phone, where it lives happily and remains one of the best music players on the market.
“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,” said Microsoft on its Zune.net site. “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.”
Now that Microsoft has that big weight off its chest, it should get down to work. To make the Zune platform competitive, it needs to do a few things like combine the Zune PC software with Windows Media Player, unchain WP7 music and podcasts from the desktop (Android doesn’t need a desktop client to download a new podcast or modify a playlist), and spruce up the Zune pass service. The good news: Microsoft has already lowered the Zune pass price. That’s a start.
(P.S. we hate to say it, but our own Nick Mokey was right about the Zune two years ago. Read his reasons why the Zune HD was dead on arrival.)