The Zune has officially been laid to rest. Zune, you know Zune, right? No? That’s precisely why its being “put down” as you read this. I can’t say that this will be a sad story or that many will mourn but for the very few of you that have grown to know and love the Zune I do believe it’s time for you to say your goodbye’s. For those of you (likely majority of you) who are completely oblivious as to what a Zune is, in a nutshell the Zune was Windows stab at the iPod.
Zune launched in November 2006 with great hopes of competing with (an ultimately beating out) Apple’s iPod. Sales from the Zune proved to be average, at best, but never came even remotely close to being a sufficient iPod competitor. Zune was separated into software and hardware divisions back in 2009 in an attempt better target the platform but this was obviously to no avail.
As reported today, Microsoft plans to discontinue the Zune video and music player but Zune software will remain available on the Windows platform as desktop software and it will be featured into the Windows Phone 7 and will focus heavily on smartphones. The production of the Zune has now ceased and when the last Zune is off the shelf the Zune device will be gone forever.
Microsoft has been pretty mum about the extinction of the Zune but those of us who have seen products come and go before know what’s what. According to an email from Caitlin McCabe, a Microsoft spokeswoman “We’re absolutely committed to providing the best movies, music, and TV show experiences through Zune on Xbox, the PC, Windows Phone 7 and Zune devices. We’ll share more information about the evolution of the Zune entertainment service and Zune hardware as future plans develop.” Yea, yea, tell me anything.
I’ve personally seen one Zune in my entire life and when I saw it it initially received the alien treatment. What is this little ditty? I wondered with intrigue. Looks something like an iPod (yet larger), acts something like an iPod (minus the touch screen…at least on the earlier version), seems much like an iPod (with an off-brand edge) but this here is no iPod. Apparently my sentiments regarding the Zune were shared by most as it seems no one really grabbed hold to the concept of the un-iPod device.
The truth of the matter is the Zune wasn’t that horrid of a device. In fact, it had a few capabilities that the iPod lacked such as radio reception and the ability to play high definition video to televisions. So, what was it about the Zune that just couldn’t catch on, you wonder? My guess is that nothing about it screamed “you can’t live without me.” Outside of minor details the Zune showed no proof of being better than the iPod, it had a Windows-only requirement and it wasn’t offered at a noticeably cheaper price. If I have the choice between a Mercedes and a Honda equipped with most of the same features and ultimately priced the same I’m going to go for the Mercedes but that’s just me. Apparently, it’s you too.
Well, that’s it. R.I.P Microsoft Zune—Gone and Forgotten.