UPDATED: New Year's Eve morning almost a million 30G Zune owners found their mp3 players frozen at the start up screen. Dubbed by some online "Zune 2K9" and "Z2K" in reference to the feared Y2K turn of the century computer programming flaw, Microsoft has acknowledged the problem but offered no immediate fix.
I first noticed that my own Zune, which normally sits docked in a charging cradle with speakers on our kitchen counter, had turned itself on, but was not responding to my repeated attempts to operate or turn off the device.
"Customers with 30-GB Zune devices may experience issues when booting their Zune hardware," admits Microsoft said on its Zune support site. "We're aware of the problem and are working to correct it. The Zune Social might be slow or inaccessible." An emailed statement also acknowledged the problem, "We are actively working now to isolate the issue and develop a solution to address it. We will keep customers informed on next steps via the support page on zune.net."
The massive freeze up on a holiday weekend will only hurt Microsoft Zune's efforts to overcome the dominance of Apple's iPod which controls 70% of the portable player market. Message boards are buzzing with thousands of disgruntled customers posting message like this one on Micorsoft's forum, "Zune 30 white line of death, more like in a coma I guess." More than a dozen YouTube videos chronicle and make fun of the meltdown. Watch two of the most popular broken Zune videos including the wonderfully titled "The Day the 30G Zune Stood Still" after the jump below.