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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.

Xbox 360 With Zune HD Integration (Fall Update Preview) – Fascinating Implications – Is This The Box I’m Looking For?

The TV on the Internet world has had a bunch of interesting announcements this week. We now know Apple TV is running IOS on the inside (TV Apps anyone?) and Hulu+ is coming to the Roku box. When will we get that ultimate box?

Does Microsoft have a chance with all in this?

Let’s cover the big issues (in my mind at least): Price, Netflix integration, Hulu+ integration, Movies to purchase/rent, Television to purchase/rent:

Roku: $69 and up – Netflix yes / Hulu yes / Movies yes (Amazon) / Television yes (Amazon)
Apple TV: $99 – Netflix yes / Hulu no / Movies yes / Television limited
Xbox: $199 and up – Netflix yes / Hulu yes / Movies yes / Television yes
Boxee Box: $249 – Netflix yes / Hulu yes / Movies yes / Television yes (free/paid)

We just don’t know enough about Google TV (yet) to include here.

Microsoft sent an Xbox with the Fall Update Preview Beta. Very nice integration. Haven’t been able to talk about it until today. BTW, here are Engadget’s thoughts.

Yes, Roku is cheaper but she doesn’t let me play Gears of War – nuff said.

I think Microsoft has something very cool here – but I’d love your thoughts. I got everything I want on this device (minus iPhone integration, of course) and don’t know or see how Apple can deliver on their Apple TV platform (or at least what we know of it today). Boxee is more expensive and does a lot less. Yes, I have some free Internet TV viewing options but there are ways to get that on the Xbox as well.

Embedded below is a video walkthrough of the Zune stuff on the new Xbox Fall Update Preview. More on that over at ZuneLuv.com.