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Zune HD
Zune software, however, will soldier on

Is it finally game over for Microsoft's Zune hardware business? What we first came to know as the Argo media player built by Toshiba -- and available in turd brown -- has gone through several revisions over the years. The current Zune HD offers a sleek design, OLED screen, and up to 64GB of storage capacity.

However, it looks as though Microsoft just can't keep up with the likes of Apple with its iPod, or even SanDisk and Creative. Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft is on the verge of killing off future versions of its Zune portable media players (PMPs). While new Zune hardware will no longer be produced, the Zune software bits will continue to creep into Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 devices.

This isn’t the first time that trouble has followed Microsoft’s Zune, however. Back in 2008, GameStop stopped stocking Zune players in its stores due to a lack of sales. “We have decided to exit the Zune category because it just did not have the appeal we had anticipated,” said a GameStop spokesman in May 2008. “It (also) did not fit with our product mix.” 

With Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market down just a few months after the launch of its innovative Windows Phone 7 operating system, the boys from Redmond need to be focusing their energies on this highly lucrative segment of the market instead of its failed efforts in the dedicated PMP market. 

Apple’s range of iPod players command 77 percent of the market according to NPD.



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By Akrovah on 3/14/2011 7:05:11 PM , Rating: 3
Music players for kids whose parents don't think they are ready for a phone maybe? Basically just a modern replacement for the portable CD playres we had when we were kids.

Or how about just having a music player without the monthly data cost if you want a music player and a phone, but have no use for/interest in a smart phone (aka, me and my wife)?

As smartphones are still the minority of phone customers I think there is certainly still a decent market for portable music players.


By stm1185 on 3/14/2011 7:19:01 PM , Rating: 2
I was meaning the more expensive ones. Like the Zune HD or iPod Touch. I can see the sub $100 ones lasting a long time, especially in foreign markets.

I tend to think that if you did not want to spend the extra on the phone contract, then why you would you want to spend the extra on a Zune or iPod Touch over a Sandisk or Creative mp3 player which does its job at half or a 3rd of the cost.


By Akrovah on 3/14/2011 7:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
An excelent point.


By tigen on 3/14/2011 8:00:49 PM , Rating: 3
Well, Android and iOS have become a more general platform than just a phone OS. There are perfectly valid reasons to want a device like this without the phone function.

You can use an iPod touch or an iPad just for its own sake. They can also be used as interfaces/controllers for various other hardware devices.

You're not going to want to buy multiple phones. And some people may not want the phone version at all if they decide they don't need to pay high fees for mobile data every month.


By E7H3R on 3/14/2011 9:14:53 PM , Rating: 3
I would personally rather carry my ipod and my phone. If you play music, browse the web and play games on your phone the battery dies. Dead battery = no talkie(or texting). Until phones can go days without a recharge with heavy usage there is still going to be a market for other media devices.


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