Microsoft dumping Zune

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Or so says Bloomberg:


Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) will stop introducing new versions of the Zune music and video player because of tepid demand, letting the company shift its focus to other devices, according to a person familiar with the decision.

Microsoft will concentrate on putting Zune software onto mobile phones, such as those running its Windows operating system, said the person, who declined to be identified because the decision hasn’t been announced. Zune software lets customers buy songs and movies, as well as pay a monthly fee to stream unlimited music.

I guess not that unexpected, if true, but it's interesting to consider how much the world has changed since the usual suspects were singing the praises of the Zune, when they were pretty sure it was the beginning of the end of Apple's dominance in portable media devices.

They've all moved on to Android, (with a brief stopover in Pre-land) of course, and forgotten all about the Zune, which apparently will soldier on as a subset of Windows Phone 7 and associated devices.

Call it a cautionary tale-- it takes more than a different interface, slick hardware and the good will of the anybody-but-Apple crew to compete with the iTunes juggernaut. Bragging about being able to play your freaking Ogg Vorbis files doesn't seem to help, nor does "killer features" like the Zune Pass, OLED screens or happy fun time animations in the UI.

Obviously Android phones have fared very well, and it's allowed some to conclude that Android will play Windows to the iOS Mac, but as we watch tablet sales unfold it suggests that handsets are a unique market, due to heavy subsidization and the nature of the sales channel. How many "iPad killers" currently being held up as the great anti-Apple hope will be quietly withdrawn from the market due to lackluster sales in a year, or two?
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