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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.

New iPods Coming?

AppleInsider tells us that a new iPod lineup is coming very soon – 9/9/9 to be exact. Rumors they’re also “confirming” include some “social networking” features being built inside of iTunes 9.

Weren’t we “laughing” at Microsoft’s attempt to make the Zune social a few years back?

It all makes sense though – the camera and video features in the iPhone 3GS’s are screaming for an iPod Touch version (at the very least). I’m still amazed at ’em and haven’t pulled out my Flip HD since I got the new phone.

And, let’s face it, music and Podcasting is very social – despite how cool it is to laugh at Microsoft.

But speaking of Zune, although Microsoft won’t confirm anything officially at this point, Amazon is pointing to a September 15 release date for the Zune HD product – one week after Apple’s announcements.

Is this a pre-emptive strike from 1 Infinite Loop?

Actually, don’t care, … the cooler and cooler they make our devices, the better and better we are as consumers.

Regardless, I truly doubt the new iPods will have an HDMI out option.

Thoughts?