Microsoft has opted to cease development of the Zune. Current models will remain for sale, but newer ones will not be released. Instead, Microsoft is shifting its focus to mobile phones. This decision comes after five years of challenging Apple and failing to capture a significant market share. Last year, a study by the NPD Group indicated that Microsoft's efforts to break into the rankings of the top five portable music players in the U.S. remained futile.
Prior reports have also suggested that Apple may end the iPod Classic too.
Microsoft's exit from the sector hints to a much larger trend that the days of the standalone music player may be numbered. The revolution in the personal music appears to be giving way to the revolution of personalized, app-driven music.
To kids today though, an iPod is as much of Angry Birds device as it is a portable music player. And let's not forget the fact that everyone has one, and sometimes even several. The cool factor that came in owning an iPod has been somewhat diluted, and in its place, the iPhone and iPad have taken hold.
Microsoft will combat Apple in these sectors too, which may be less evasive.