Zune Is Dead – Long Live Zune

In the least likely to surprise anyone news, Microsoft is killing off the hardware line of Zune.

They promise the service is still important and they won’t let that go.

If you followed me for any time, I was an early advocate of the Zune. I launched a site all about it – Zuneluv.com – and spent some time as a Zune MVP. I wasn’t asked to come back to the program last year. I wasn’t surprised.

Microsoft still has some of the most passionate and brilliant people I have ever met. Zune’s potential was never really realized and is a shame. The Zune team still holds a place in my heart and it will be fascinating to see what happens to them over the next 6 months or so.

So, here’s the question … What’s the real story here?

Is this a story of Apple’s sheer dominance in everything media (I am typing this on my iPad 2), or a story of Microsoft’s irrelevance, or the story of a project gone very wrong?

I’m actually too close to this story to be able to write objectively about it but I would love your thoughts? Please leave them below.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Anonymous

    MS is the victim of its own success with Windows and Office for PCs. Mobile is a completely different animal where consumers judge products more like … products vs. little computers. The Zune debuted as a “clunky” device years after the iPod had matured in its first incarnation (pre-Touch), and by the time the HD came along, the iPod Touch had been around for a while and the iPhone loomed, and the Zune brand was tainted.

    Best thing would be to reboot the Zune under the XBox brand, first as a portable player, then look at phone and pad functionality later. But I doubt that will happen – they’ll try to play all sides of the fence at once and continue with vague, feature-packed products that draw yawns from the media and most users.

  • http://BetterBizIdeas.com/blog BetterBizIdeas

    I haven

  • http://BetterBizIdeas.com/blog BetterBizIdeas

    Alot of these smartphones have tons of memory now and people keep their phones with them vs. bringing 3 items (phone, camera and MP3 player). Most people never used to carry video cameras with them so I’ll exclude that 🙂 But then came the Flip …

  • http://www.schoolofpodcasting.com Dave Jackson

    One of the features that set them apart from the iPod was it had a radio. Seriously? Have you listened to the radio? Thats a feature? Wow.

  • Anonymous

    So the story is – they’re victim to their own success?

  • Anonymous

    So it’s the device that only does entertainment thing is the problem? What about Windows Phone 7 – is that really taking off at all?

  • Anonymous

    So, will you miss your radio?

  • http://danieljohnsonjr.com danieljohnsonjr

    I’ve been listening to most of my podcasts on my Droid, using Google Listen. Like you said, the smartphone is an all-in-one gadget. I still occasionally bring my iPod touch with me when I want portable access to my music library, or don’t want to deal with Google Listen’s glitches.

  • http://danieljohnsonjr.com danieljohnsonjr

    I’m not as aware of the situation here as you seem to be, but I cannot help but be reminded of Simon Sinek’s discussion on “Start With Why”: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

  • Anonymous

    Yup.

  • http://danieljohnsonjr.com danieljohnsonjr

    Sinek’s thesis: “People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.”

  • Anonymous

    Great point. Funny thing is, Zune really was a great device/concept/service. She was just choked from day 1 by a machine and committee after committee. I think the why started with “we need an answer to the iPod” but it grew into something better. They just never told marketing, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/pictureme2 jackie Spellen

    I heard some great review on ZUNE! It is an amazing product… WOW! sorry to hear this.

  • http://twitter.com/andreastenberg Andrea J. Stenberg

    I don’t get it … I love my Zune. Carry it everywhere and it is sturdy as hell … I’ve dropped it more times than I can count.

    I think Microsoft dropped the ball on it. They never marketed it. And the Zune store sucked.

  • Anonymous

    There we go.

  • Anonymous

    Yup.

  • http://BetterBizIdeas.com/blog BetterBizIdeas

    So I know a few people that have bought Windows phones. I don’t think it is gaining any traction though. All I see are Iphones and Android phones everywhere here in Dallas, especially amongst technology fans. Funny but older, technology users I know have been VERY slow to get smartphones as they don’t want the extra fees associated with the data plans.

  • http://www.understandingwinehd.blogspot.com Austin Beeman

    Just one tiny perspective, but my podcasts hopped into the iTunes store in a matter of days and months later – I was still fighting to get them in the Zune store. I can’t tell you how many times, I forwarded an iTunes link to people. – no commentary here, just an observation.

  • http://www.understandingwinehd.blogspot.com Austin Beeman

    Just one tiny perspective, but my podcasts hopped into the iTunes store in a matter of days and months later – I was still fighting to get them in the Zune store. I can’t tell you how many times, I forwarded an iTunes link to people. – no commentary here, just an observation.

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  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I see very little traction as well.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a real one. I’ve had the same problem.

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