Microsoft Zune Discontinued Amidst Falling Demand

image from pollwith.us 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. 

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  1. quite!
    I get whatever phone is available for free at the time, and it must be about 6 or 7 years since I had one that didn’t have an mp3 player and radio on it…
    (amusingly enough, my first mobile phone, also free on a contract, came with a free portable minidisc player! times change….)

  2. It will be interesting to see how long iPods are supported by Apple’s store now that phones are eating into their market share. After all, the convenience of a music collection on a portable player (formerly a physical music format, e.g. cassettes etc.) ends when new content is not obtainable for it anymore.
    Kyle, a while ago you wrote about the revenue generated in the format replacement cycle. At the time, it looks like the mp3 players’ de facto successor (of any make), maybe a phone, maybe not, will eat up that market share.

  3. Personally Apple is over-rated. The Zune HD had better sound, video, and game quality. Apple only has apps and THAT’S IT!

  4. Well obviously they have more than that since the Apple products are still around and not being discontinued.

  5. how many people bought an ipod because its apple..or maybe since apple had 95% of the mp3 market and if your friends had the same thing thats prolly what you’ll get..maybe cause of the availabilty of accessories..personally the bigger screen on the zune is awesome and why would i want to pay PER song to download music off Itunes when i can download hundreds a day for $15 a month with my zune pass.i think apple is over rated as well,it is certainly no better then anything else out there..

  6. Sorry, the discontinuance of Zune does not mean I’ll go out and buy an iPod. I turned to the Zune because it wasn’t an iPod. May be someone will get it right and provide an alternative and continue to support it. Until then, I’ll keep using my Zune. Not very interested in getting caught up in all things Apple.

  7. Don’t be silly, there are many people who have tried both. As someone who has, iPods have nothing on Zunes except a blind fanbase.
    But, it’s quite common for a better product to fall because there are too many sheep in the world.

  8. I have a 120 gig Zune, with 64 gigs of (almost exclusively) Jazz. The HDD just died the other day, and I see that Microsoft is going to end the Zune music player. I am very saddened by this, the Zune software has a much better interface then iTunes (both on the computer and on the mp3 player itself) and I dread the thought that no one else but apple makes a large enough mp3 player to fit all my music in one place. I believe Microsoft is making a premature mistake.
    Having integrated music on a mobile device is nice, but having to pay monthly to use that mobile device prompts me into buying a stand alone mp3 player, as I’d rather not pay monthly to have a device to listen to music that I have already purchased. Not to mention how many problems phones tend to have over mp3 players, how often and quickly new phones phase out of production, having the upgrade from different phones and or having your phone break/software crash means you have to constantly re-upload your collection onto your new device. Its just easier to have my dedicated mp3 player. Very sad to see this product go.

  9. honestly i think microsoft killed Zune with it’s typical “i dont care” aproach to it i had a zune hd and honestly it only had 2 disadvantages to the ipod
    1.the keyboard was cramped
    2.lack of apps
    all of those things could be fixed easily and microsoft just ignored them even the zune 120gb had problems that were just caused by poor handling of the customers.
    zune had the potential to kill the ipod but microsoft thinks that you can just that killing the ipod is just gonna take a good idea out int the wind

  10. i love the fact that i dont have to be careful with my zune its an amazing work of art, the apps and such should catch up as i thought sucks that they wont make any better ones this is a great device!!! i have a 64 gig and had a 32 gig. my zune has been dropped kicked steped on smashed ect and still has yet to break i used to go thru portal music devices faster then headphones, now i go thru headphones about 1 pair every 2-4 months. the HD radio is Lovely and i enjoy it, my zune is filled with music/videos/ and pictures as well as all the cool apps that they have in which i enjoy when i am able 2. the keyboard allows me to type vertical or horazontal and its great 🙂

  11. yea zune is a great product and alot more durable then the iPods, i know ppl who i have talked into buying zunes because their tired of how the ipod is

  12. ive had mine for about 2+ yrs and it has nicks and scratches everywhere but the screen, and it still works like the day i first got it, amazing 🙂

  13. iPods are overrated. Period. I’ve had my Zune for a long time and have yet to have anything happen to it. So what if they don’t have 5,000 apps like Apple. It’s a MUSIC device. If you want portable games there are Nintendo DSs, PSPs, and other mobile gaming devices. People shouldn’t be so afraid to be a little old school and have multiple devices for different uses instead of trying to smash it all into one crappy, over priced device.
    My 2¢.

  14. It sucks because you will buy an ipod touch and after less than 2 years will have to pay even more to upgrade cause the new ios will crash it. havnt tried zune but am thinging about trading

  15. Ugh… Screw PHONES. I don’t have the funds for a media player I have to pay a subscription fee to use more or less.

  16. well this sucks. i was thinking of upgrading my zune to a zune hd. i don’t want to use my phone as an mp3 player. it doesn’t have enough space, and changing out the memory card would be too much trouble (gotta pop out the battery to do so). i have amazon cloud, but if i’m out driving, obviously i’m not hooked up to highspeed wireless, so i’d have to deal with buffering. and no, i’m not listening to the radio. i bought an mp3 player to get away from the radio.
    damn. i’m not buying macintosh. =p guess i’ll be keeping this zune for awhile longer.

  17. I love the zune. I wash mine on hot water in a front load washer on heavy cycle. Then I dried it on high heat. It was in my jacket pocket(which I didn’t realise, of course). It still works!!!

  18. I JUST got a used Zune. And I remember when it came out. One of my friends got one back then. And while having a touch screen is cool I’ve had nothing but trouble from touch screen devices. So far the only device I own with a touch screen that I haven’t broken by accident is my android phone. And even when the Zune got a touch screen Microsoft still failed to understand why it needed the ability to use apps. Personally, I couldn’t care less about apps. My phone does them so I don’t need my media player to do it too.
    At any rate my “new to me” 30 GB Zune will be used for as long as I can keep it working.

  19. If you take away the Apps from the iPod, and just compare the video and sound Quality to that of the Zune, you’ll see the Zune clearly wins, also the Zune is more durable than an iPod. I’ve had some accidents in where I knocked my Zune HD down by accident. It still has no scratches or anything, but my friend has an iPod he dropped his once from about 3ft and it entirely cracked the screen. So even with Apps, I’d still choose the Zune over the iPod.

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