With all the commotion today about the iPhone 4S, few have noticed the death of the Zune, Microsoft’s one-time challenger to Apple’s ubiquitous line of iPods.
Microsoft quietly pulled all mention of the Zune from its website and announced today it would no longer make the portable digital music players.
I will be flamed for this, but I rather liked my 8gb Zune. Why? It had an FM radio and I could listen to sports announcers while attending games. Also, the wireless sync feature was very neat … simply change the tunes in a desktop folder and the Zune in your car would change what songs were available on the go. And, the Zune didn’t require me to use iTunes.
But times change, Apple is rumored to be pulling the plug on the iPod Classic and tiny Shuffle.
“Zune services” will continue, largely on phones using the Windows Mobile platform, writes The Huffington Post.
Those “Zune Services” include the Zune Software suite, which is a media manager for the Zune and Windows Phone; the Zune Marketplace, where Zunies can purchase their music and movies; and the Zune Music Pass, a $10-per-month all-you-can-eat music streaming option similar to premium services from Spotify and Rhapsody. The Zune software is integrated into Microsoft’s Window Phones (which are just now receiving the much-hyped and potentially platform-saving Mango operating system) and will continue to operate as it did before, only without new physical Zune mp3 players on the shelves.
The Zune never sold well, so Microsoft will not miss the revenue. In its non-existent heyday it only captured 4 percent of the mobile music player market, compared to more than 70 percent for Apple.
Farewell Zune, say hi to my old buddy Walkman for me.