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Microsoft Businesses Music Hardware

Microsoft Reportedly Ends Zune Hardware Development 276

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-need-to-throw-good-money-after-bad dept.
ideaz tips this Bloomberg report: "Microsoft Corp. will cease introducing new versions of the Zune music and video-player amid tepid demand, helping the company shift its focus to mobile phones, according to a person familiar with the decision. The company will concentrate on putting Zune software onto mobile phones such as those running Microsoft’s Windows operating system, said the person, who declined to be identified because the decision hasn’t been announced. Zune software lets customers buy songs and movies, as well as pay a monthly fee to stream unlimited music."
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Microsoft Reportedly Ends Zune Hardware Development

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  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday March 14, 2011 @04:37PM (#35484664) Journal

    And in other news, Poison Beer Incorporated has announced the end of the production of their Cyanide Cider line of toxic methyl alcohol coolers. A company insider, speaking on condition of anonymity has revealed due to the tepid reception of the drink that causes blindness, neurological damage and in many cases death, has lead to the decision. Poison Beer Incorporated will now be concentrating on Thalidomide Cola, where it sees the future of its toxic drink product sales.

    • Oh come on now! That's being a bit too harsh don't you think? Aside from iTunes, please name the 2nd best candidate. Even if the Zune platform came in 3rd, it's still not *that* bad.

      • Is that like complaining about how the USSR was treated in the press, after all they were the second best superpower!!!!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      Poison Beer Incorporated will now be concentrating on Thalidomide Cola, where it sees the future of its toxic drink product sales.

      Not to take a joke seriously, but Thalidomide isn't very "toxic." That was one of it's selling points in fact. It is a potent teratogen, but those of us who are fully formed, it appears safer than most medicines.

      It had been tested extensively on mice and found to be nontoxic. It was so harmless, in fact, that no lethal dose could be established.

      Wired [wired.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mattack2 (1165421)

      BTW, thalidomide is successfully used for other treatments nowadays.

      No, the joke isn't whooshing over me.

  • Demands (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2011 @04:39PM (#35484684)

    Microsoft Corp. will cease introducing new versions of the Zune music and video-player amid tepid demand, helping the company shift its focus to mobile phones

    Presumably in the hopes that they can eventually rise all the way up to a tepid level of demand for their phone products too.

    • Re:Demands (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday March 14, 2011 @05:15PM (#35485148) Homepage Journal

      Tepid? We used to dream of tepid. Our dad used to come home and drown us in liquid nitrogen, then smash us to bits like an empty bottle after we'd gone all brittle. But we were happy....

      • Re:Demands (Score:5, Funny)

        by ackthpt (218170) on Monday March 14, 2011 @05:38PM (#35485366) Homepage Journal

        Tepid? We used to dream of tepid. Our dad used to come home and drown us in liquid nitrogen, then smash us to bits like an empty bottle after we'd gone all brittle. But we were happy....

        Luxury! Oh, have less than tepid! When our CEO came back from a public flogging at a trade show, flogged by the sweepers, 'cuz they were the only ones to be found around in and around our gigantic booth, our CEO would force us into team building exercises while boiling in vats of molten lead. How we fantasized about a less than tepid reception. We didn't complain though...

  • They made a key strategic error with the Zune - they didn't realize that no one wanted a "poop brown" media device. Ooops.

    • by dunezone (899268)
      Well they probably shouldn't have launched with that color in the first place. Your number one competition is a sleek white device and brown is the launch color you go with. The device itself is pretty nice though, I use mainly when I am flying because I can move my videos onto it. I also have a Fusion which allows the hookup through Microsoft sync which is a nice feature. For what I paid for it $60 its definitely the best media player I have ever owned and has lasted longer then my iPod. As for the softwar
      • by NekSnappa (803141)

        I use mainly when I am flying because I can move my videos onto it.

        Um, shouldn't you be paying attention to the controls or something when you're flying?

    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday March 14, 2011 @04:44PM (#35484776) Homepage

      "Hey, I'm looking to buy a music player, like an iPod or something."

      "Oh, okay, well what features you you want?"

      "Well, I don't really care about having good software, an intuitive interface, or mind if my device will stop working on random days. I just want something that's poop brown."

      "Great! Well we have just the product for you..."

      • by PPH (736903)

        No doubt targeted at the prison population.

        "Have to keister your MP3 player? No problem!"

    • by bananaquackmoo (1204116) on Monday March 14, 2011 @04:51PM (#35484864)
      While I realize you're joking they actually made many, many more strategic mistakes. Forcing me to use the Zune software was one. Only having that software on the PC was another. Making that software super slow and super buggy was also quite bad. Rarely updating the firmware and software was the next mistake. Poor codec support was another. Ignoring their customers was probably the worst (one example of that: doing love/hate instead of star ratings). The thing that pissed me off the most (though they later fixed it), as an early adopter, was that their software AUTOMATICALLY and without asking, upon initial install, overwrote all of my music tags, as well as corrupting a good 75% of my music. It's all really too bad, the UI on the hardware was quite good.
      • Making that software super slow and super buggy was also quite bad.

        Well, let's be honest, they were competing with iTunes on Windows...

        But poor codec support hasn't hurt Apple. AAC/MP3 should be enough for everyone(Unless the Zune didn't support AAC for whatever reason).

        What really hurt the Zune was that as an mp3 player, it was outclassed by the iPod and as a touch screen flash based media device(Zune HD), it was outclassed by the iPod Touch. Even if the specs were better(Tegra 1 versus an overclocked iPhone 3G), the iPod Touch has a rich base of applications. The Zune

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        I never used a Zune, but you mean to tell me that Microsoft made an MP3 player that couldn't sync with Windows Media Player? If true, that's amazingly awful.

      • There could be a class on how badly MS screwed up the Zune. In itself, it's not a bad player, but MS made many, many mistakes.
        1. Marketing.
          MS going up against the iPod decided to compete against Apple by being obscure. See in the minds of MS, they thought this was "cool" [youtube.com] not to let people know that exactly you're trying to sell them. So their strategy to getting marketshare from the market leader involved trying to give the impression that they wanted sell to the fewest people as possible.
        2. Software.
          Instea
    • They made a key strategic error with the Zune - they didn't realize that no one wanted a "poop brown" media device.

      Even more unsavory, it's a poop brown device that "squirts". It would probably have sold better if they had bundled each device with with a packet of wet wipes and a bottle of Purell.

    • by Tetsujin (103070)

      They made a key strategic error with the Zune - they didn't realize that no one wanted a "poop brown" media device. Ooops.

      Well, what happened was they had to make some last-minute cutbacks to the project and so they weren't able to print on the "wood grain" pattern that would have given it the desired late-1970s charm.

    • by caywen (942955)

      It wasn't just the poop brown. It was also being a half inch thick untapered sharp edged box with almost no peripheral support. There are better industrial designers in the UPS shipping supplies division.

  • Copying successful competitor isn't something to be ashamed of.

    Unless you fail that is... Twice potentially...
  • It all begins to make sense now. Nokia does windows phones and they get their multimedia content from the Zune store.

    Ahhhh.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Monday March 14, 2011 @04:47PM (#35484810)
    At least the UI. It's cleaner and faster, even if you compare it to iTunes on a Mac. They had some nasty music deleting bugs earlier on though, which is great fun when you paid for the tracks instead of having them on CD.

    Zunes are durable too, at least 1st Gen. My ugly brown Zune is still going strong, and it was $100 at a time when a 30 gig iPod was $400 :D.
    • by brunes69 (86786)

      That's like saying "I like having my eyeballs gouged out with toothpicks better than having my balls gnawed off my wildebeests"

      Both iTunes and Zune are HORRIBLE pieces of software.

  • The company will concentrate on putting Zune software onto mobile phones such as those running Microsoft’s Windows operating system

    So something makes me think that this will be bundled with Nokia's future Windows Phone 7 devices. They will try to be like Apple with iPhone/iTunes.

    Good luck with that.

    • by SpryGuy (206254)

      The Zune experience is already in every WP7 phone sold. I'm not sure what you're trying to get at here.

  • Zune, Zune, Zune.... errrrmmm... oh, that thing!
    • by Tetsujin (103070)

      Zune, Zune, Zune.... errrrmmm... oh, that thing!

      Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes I have trouble remembering all this Microsoft crap, and then suddenly - bing! - it comes to me.

  • This is exactly what happened to the N-Gage and N-Gage QD. It was getting outsold by so many other phones, so N-Gage 2 was just software for phones. Weird enough, Microsoft is shifting to go software only for phones media devices, like what Nokia did with the N-Gage, and Nokia is supposed to be doing a bunch of W7M phones.
  • They should have called it Happy Fun Ball, then nobody would taunt them.
  • "...I Am Sparta!" at the top of his lungs.
  • Really? (Score:2, Funny)

    by RevWaldo (1186281)
    So zune?

    .
  • Who knows if this rumor is true, but it sure does sound plausible considering we haven't heard a thing from them. I don't have a Zune, but I always hoped that someday they would get around to making a real competitor to the iPod Touch. I can understand cell phone manufacturers not being interested because the profit margin is so much higher for cell phones, but I'd think a company like Microsoft would be a big enough company to subsidize such a project.
    • It would be interesting to see the sales figures for iPod Touch, especially after iPhone rise to dominance. I suspect that it is a dying market - why have two devices of the same form factor when you can have one? Which would explain this decision, too - keep in mind that every WP7 phone ships with a music player, which, as I understand, is pretty close to what can be seen on Zune HD. The music store remains (and is integrated with phones) as well.

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        The iPod Touch still sells well since it does all of the App Store stuff that the iPhone does, but is *considerably* cheaper, if you don't want a phone.

      • Remember that the iPod touch was introduced *after* the iPhone, because there was enough demand from those who didn't want a smartphone (or didn't want to pay the additional $30+/month for a data plan).

        If anything, the iPod classic is suffering more from the iPhone/iPod introduction. The only thing the classic has going for it is the huge capacity for a digital player: 160 GB. Everything else--battery life, screensize (for video), apps, weight, etc is beaten by the iPod touch.

  • Hey, I have an idea, why don't they focus on their core products and stop messing around with things they're no good at - everything where they don't hold a near monopoly.

  • If theyr're smart Windows Phone 7 will be next. Plus they are foolishly trying to bring laptop style Windows to tablets while Apple is selling millions using iOS.

  • "Squirt".

    Just what kind of demographic did they think they were targeting with such choice of vocabulary?

  • I like how it "lets customers [...] pay a monthly fee to stream music" instead of "lets customers [...] stream music, for a monthly fee". Yeah, MS, I want to pay a monthly fee! You're brilliant guys!
  • The end of Zune is not problem here - glad I stuck with my "Play For Sure" music player ... oh wait.
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoft/2004074417_playsforsure15.html [nwsource.com]

  • I've always thought that people who think som other media player/phone/service/tablet will be the [LEADING BRAND] killer are dumb as toast, but when one of the products they touted as [LEADING BRAND] killer just dies, I have to chuckle uncharitably at their expense.

Our policy is, when in doubt, do the right thing. -- Roy L. Ash, ex-president, Litton Industries

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