Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Handhelds Media Music Hardware

Zune Dead, Then Not Dead, Then Officially Dead 181

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-longevity dept.
UnknowingFool writes "On Monday Microsoft updated webpages to announce a price drop for the Zune pass subscription, and it removed all references to the Zune hardware. This prompted many to suspect the Zune was dead. A MS spokesman then tweeted that the updates were in error and the Zune was not dead. Then MS later admitted that they will no longer produce hardware but would honor any existing orders. It appears MS has trouble with managing their PR."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Zune Dead, Then Not Dead, Then Officially Dead

Comments Filter:
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @09:41AM (#37598246)

    There is no grand vision and it's got poor leadership, so individual parts of the company have no fucking clue what's going on in other parts of the company. By contrast, this is something that Apple (under Jobs, anyway) has always been MUCH better at.

    Sadly, I'm starting to see this problem in Google too. Google seems to be going off in a million different directions lately, with no apparent overarching plan. They seem to be taking a "throw every dart at the board and hope one hits the bullseye" approach (similar to MS). Apple takes more the "throw a small number of darts, but aim them well and throw them hard" approach.

    • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @09:47AM (#37598310) Journal

      It's true. For all the justified dislike for Apple there is, Jobs has spent the last 30 years being excellent at picking the good ideas at the right time, which explains why they're such a successful and popular brand.

      Mind you, MS is still the only one of these big three to have a committed interest in long-term research (the "grand vision" which has kept IBM alive despite a century of changes): Google, for all its PhDs, publishes very little interesting research, and Apple publishes nothing, only occasionally advancing the state of the art where it's been important for implementation.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Mind you, MS is still the only one of these big three to have a committed interest in long-term research (the "grand vision" which has kept IBM alive despite a century of changes): Google, for all its PhDs, publishes very little interesting research, and Apple publishes nothing, only occasionally advancing the state of the art where it's been important for implementation.

        Public research. That is more a question of strategy, by publishing you generate interest and investors but at the same time you reveal what it is you're researching and what you think may be the next big thing. I can't really say I blame them, if they're footing the bill then they're the ones who should benefit from it. If you want public science, the public will probably have to fund it.

      • by bryan1945 (301828)

        Why publish when you can keep it for yourself for your own gain? Also, just because they don't publish doesn't mean they are not doing research. (no, I have zero idea if the are or are not.)

      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @12:09PM (#37600150)

        The only problem with this is that their research doesn't seem to have resulted in much in the way of actual products or improvements to products. Sure, they made a pretty cool photography tool recently, and there was Clippy (which everyone hated), but what real groundbreaking improvements to MS products have come out of their research? Windows 7 really isn't that different from Windows 95 (except for the kernel and architecture, which really came from a guy they hired who was the main guy for VMS).

        By contrast, we use the products of IBM's research every day. I still remember when IBM developed the copper-on-silicon process back in the 90s, and this was revolutionary. Now, every CPU has it. That's just one of many breakthroughs they've contributed to computing.

        • by Miseph (979059)

          "Windows 7 really isn't that different from Windows 95 (except for the kernel and architecture"

          How much more different could it possibly be?

    • Well this is probably a move to increase focus, because who is going to buy a Zune? Aside from the iPod being so dominant, stand-alone MP3 players are going away as consumer smart phones take over. If you really want a Zune music player, you'll probably get a Windows-based phone instead.
      • If you really want a Zune music player, you'll probably get a Windows-based phone instead.

        Some people carry a dumbphone and either an iPod touch or an Archos 43 to use as a PMP/PDA because smartphone service is so expensive in the United States. Are there any Windows-based phones that work on $10/mo prepaid "just for urgencies" calling plans?

        • by Canazza (1428553)

          you don't need a smart phone to play music. I have a perfectly reasonable dumb phone Nokia from about 3 years ago that plays all the mp3s I want it to. Sure it's interface is lacking the finer points of playlist making (it does it, but you have to fight with it) but I don't particularly care.

          • MS doesn't care much about your phone either. They do care about people that want to buy smartphones.
        • by vlm (69642)

          Some people carry a dumbphone and either an iPod touch or an Archos 43 to use as a PMP/PDA because smartphone service is so expensive in the United States

          1) Corporate phones don't allow end user to fool around with music and video. If the company is paying for it, the workers are not allowed to play. Email and text and stuff, sure, but listen to pirated mp3s on corporate property? Not if they can stop it... Maybe the execs will be allowed to do so, fitting in with the culture of keeping the little guy down, etc.

          2) I can not afford from a business standpoint to be out of touch because I listened to music draining the battery while I work out. I'm amazed

          • by pacinpm (631330)

            I'm amazed no one has come out with a smartphone using a separate battery or some firmware that lets you do "whatever the manufacturer allows" down to 50% and then voice telephone only for the bottom 50% of battery capacity. I'm sure there is a expensive patent preventing it.

            WP7 does that. I am not sure if you can set the power treshold.

          • Well, fear of the expensive phone being dropped or stolen is valid, but all real phones out there have got a replaceable battery so if you really cannot be bothered to check the battery status sometimes, then you still could carry a spare battery with you. They aren't heavy. And since replacement batteries are cheap, you can always get a fresh one if your old doesn't hold its charge. As for me, I use my HD2 every day for music and ebooks, the battery is still strong after almost two years.

            • by hjf (703092)

              HEH was that a stab at the iPhone? You know, because it doesn't have a user-replaceable battery.

        • by Tridus (79566)

          "Some people" do. Are some people enough to sustain a profitable business?

          Considering the Zune never did that well against the iPod and that it's now a declining market? Probably not.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            It seems like these days, many corporations either want to be basically a monopoly (or at least own an overwhelming majority of the market), or they don't want to bother at all. I guess it goes along with the mentality that they must have continuous, unending growth, and it's not enough to have a stable, profitable, revenue-producing business.

          • by hjf (703092)

            Zune never did well against the iPod because of the "coolness" factor Apple has. For one, I thought the Zune looked way "sexier" than the iPod, and its interface (of which I've only seen screenshots) looked "prettier" than the iPod's (no, I don't buy that "not minimalist" means "cluttered").

            Microsoft has a big problem with hate from "relevant" groups. Self-righteous bloggers who write reviews that love anything-but-microsoft. The XBOX 360 was criticized for not having a BD drive (how many games out there j

        • All unlocked GSM phones (maybe except for iPhone, I don't know for sure) work with all GSM SIM cards. You can also buy a phone and don't use it as a phone, no one forces you to get an expensive plan with it.

          • by tepples (727027)

            All unlocked GSM phones (maybe except for iPhone, I don't know for sure) work with all GSM SIM cards.

            Neither GSM phones nor GSM SIM cards work with Verizon Wireless or Sprint. Let me know when Virgin Mobile USA, one of Sprint's prepaid brands, has Windows phones.

            You can also buy a phone and don't use it as a phone

            Why buy a $500 Windows phone when one can get an iPod touch or Archos 43 for half that?

            • Neither GSM phones nor GSM SIM cards work with Verizon Wireless or Sprint. Let me know when Virgin Mobile USA, one of Sprint's prepaid brands, has Windows phones.

              Now you are being picky. Use a GSM provider, there you'll have a free choice of handsets and contracts.

              Why buy a $500 Windows phone when one can get an iPod touch or Archos 43 for half that?

              Well, I've paid EUR520 (was around $700 back then) for my HTC HD2 (with Windows Mobile 6.5 actually) because it was, at that time, the most versatile handheld.

              • Use a GSM provider

                AT&T and a carrier soon to be bought by AT&T are the only nationwide GSM carriers in the United States, and I've read plenty of reports in Slashdot comments about poor service on AT&T.

              • by hjf (703092)

                Now you are being picky. Use a GSM provider, there you'll have a free choice of handsets and contracts.

                Yeah, about that... you talk about euros, so I'm going to assume you're european. You know, the americans like to be backwards-assed as usual. It wasn't enough for them to stick with Imperial units, they also developed a separate standard, so there's not a 100% interoperable GSM network over there. And they also seem to be happy about it, claiming that EV-DO lets them have speeds that GSM won't reach (as i

                • by Vegeta99 (219501)

                  We do have GSM. When I was a kid, I had a prepaid with Immix Wireless, they run a GSM network. I now use AT&T, also GSM, and the network is indeed fully interoperable. I've stepped on a plane on the East Coast and landed in Europe, and received text messages sent while I was in the air and my phone was off. In fact, the phone itself needed no adjustments to pick up data service.

                  While they're not required to unlock, AT&T is usually quite happy to give you the unlock code if you're going overseas. In

      • Well this is probably a move to increase focus, because who is going to buy a Zune? Aside from the iPod being so dominant, stand-alone MP3 players are going away as consumer smart phones take over. If you really want a Zune music player, you'll probably get a Windows-based phone instead.

        Meh, unless the phone is tiny and light, the dedicated MP3 player serves far better over the long run in terms of battery life and cost. My little 8GB Sansa Fuze is on the larger end of the size scale but I much prefer i
        • Meh, unless the phone is tiny and light...

          Most likely, carrying your phone and carrying an MP3 player is heavier and takes up more room than carrying a phone that does both. If you're "fighting with your cell phone to just play music" then I guess you have a crappy phone.

        • by satuon (1822492)
          The MP3 player is smaller, but a phone is the thing almost anyone carries almost all the time in their pockets. So it's not a small MP3 player vs. a phone, it's a small MP3 player + a phone vs. a phone only. And if your phone is playing music anyway, most people wouldn't carry a yet another device in their pockets.
    • by plover (150551) *

      I'm starting to see this problem in Google too. Google seems to be going off in a million different directions lately, with no apparent overarching plan.

      Something recently has started to happen to counter this exact thing at Google. Someone high-up shut down Google Labs last month, and ended most of those projects. It was supposedly a part of renewing their focus on their core business. And while it often seems like Google's core business is "being cool", being cool doesn't exactly pay the bills, so I suppose they have to figure out more new things to generate revenue.

      What are some of the million new directions you see coming out of Google?

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        What are some of the million new directions you see coming out of Google?

        Is there any trend in the last few years that Google HASN'T knocked off? Let's see Google+, Wave, Chrome, Android, AppStores, real world Chrome stores, Chrome OS, Chrome laptops, etc. And that's not even counting the *tons* of smaller stuff they've done (Google Swiffy, Google Body, City Tours, Google Goggles, Google Squared, Google Mars, Google Earth, Google Maps, to name just a FEW).

        Would you like me to go on, or is that enough?

        • Google Maps may have come after Mapquest and some other online mapping service, but isn't that like saying the iPhone came after other smartphones, and the iPad came after almost a decade of tablets?

          Because just like the iPhone and iPad did to their respective markets, Google Maps's first public release completely wiped the floor with what Mapquest had at the time, and of course they've greatly improved it since. It may not have had all the advanced features but the interface was so much better and easy to

        • by plover (150551) *

          I'm not talking about the last few years. I deliberately used the word "recently" as my entire point was referring to the July announcement of the closure of Google Labs as an indication they're currently retracting, not expanding. Some of the projects you listed above are among the casualties.

          Here's Larry Page's blog where he included the text of his quarterly earnings call that talks about addressing your concerns exactly: https://plus.google.com/106189723444098348646/posts/dRtqKJCbpZ7 [google.com]

          Google seems to be going off in a million different directions lately, with no apparent overarching plan. They seem to be taking a "throw every dart at the board and hope one hits the bullseye" approach (similar to MS). Apple takes more the "throw a small number of darts, but aim them well and throw them hard" approach.

          A direct quote f

    • by vlm (69642)

      Sadly, I'm starting to see this problem in Google too. Google seems to be going off in a million different directions lately, with no apparent overarching plan.

      Applies if you've only been watching "lately" or "recently". Otherwise, not so.

      Could cut and paste the same tired argument from the announcement of gmail, or the announcement of news.google.com or .. pretty much anything GOOG has ever done other than the basic search page.

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @11:12AM (#37599378) Homepage Journal

      Microsoft: The "Me, too" company

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @09:42AM (#37598252)
    "...it's not only merely dead, but really most sincerely dead."
  • In spite of all the shit it got, I really liked the hardware. The interface with the computer was...interesting, we'll say, but just swiping a four way control pad makes far more sense to me that massaging a circle in a trendy clockwise circle.

    Oh well, long live Pandora on Android. (For some small definitions of "long". Stupid battery life.)
    • by plover (150551) *

      But did you like it enough to carry a Zune plus a mobile phone? As soon as I got a phone that played music, I ditched the separate MP3 player, never to carry it again.

      Zune's biggest problem here is that even modestly smart phones now cover the portable music playing needs of most people. The dedicated hardware was priced about the same as a smart phone without the phone, meaning as a consumer I could pay more for a lame phone and good music player, or I could buy an integrated device for less.

      This was jus

      • by bryan1945 (301828)

        I wonder how popular the iNano (or whatever it's called) is? Really tiny thing you can clip to your shirt and go for a run. And I think it's fairly cheap, too ($50 or so?)

        • Anecdotally I see that it is very popular with runners because it's cheap and small. I know alot of runners who didn't like it when Apple went with the buttonless version and were glad when they changed back.
      • Well, kind of. I've had my 8 gig Zune (the little flash one) since prior to having a smart phone. My car has a cd player with no line in, so nowadays it stays constantly in my car with the FM transmitter/charger that I also bought to go along with it. Only reason it leaves is to change the music. My big problem with phone music players is that I feel like it drains the battery so fast. Admittedly, this is while usually listening to Pandora, so there's a data transfer element there as well as just liste
        • by plover (150551) *

          I think many people are in a situation similar to yours. You have existing hardware that suits your needs, and with no pressing new needs, you will continue to use it indefinitely. But all things change, eventually.

          All those parts are interrelated. When it comes time to replace any one of those pieces, be it the car stereo, the car itself, the phone, the Zune, or possibly even the little FM transceiver, you're going to re-evaluate your stuff in terms of what you want to hang on to.

          Note that replacing a c

      • by natet (158905)

        As a matter of fact, I do carry a Zune and a smart phone. The reason? Battery life. I really don't want to run down the battery on my phone so I can listen to audio books and music. As a dedicated device, the Zune seems to handle that sort of thing much more efficiently than my phone. I go days of heavy use of my Zune before I have to recharge.

        • by plover (150551) *

          As a matter of fact, I do carry a Zune and a smart phone. The reason? Battery life. I really don't want to run down the battery on my phone so I can listen to audio books and music. As a dedicated device, the Zune seems to handle that sort of thing much more efficiently than my phone. I go days of heavy use of my Zune before I have to recharge.

          To restate: you're carrying an extra battery in an expensive, music-playing, non-phone-or-network-integrated shell.

          If you honestly believe you have a power problem with your phone, try a power-based solution. Additional batteries are cheap and ubiquitous, and they can be used only when you actually need them. I found I didn't like the heft of the built-in-add-on battery cases, so instead I keep a small cheap battery from Rat Shack in my backpack for those times when I need topping off (such as on the tra

  • Ever WP7 comes with a zune player, basically they stopped selling dedicated zune hardware and you can use your phone for that now. Software and zune pass still available.

    • So now if I want to buy a Zune^W Windows phone, and I'm not already using a cell phone as a replacement for a home phone, I'll have to pay $40 a month for voice service that I will barely use.
      • What are you talking about? You can buy (for example) a HTC HD7 for around $350 without any contract.

    • by Quila (201335)

      So it's not dead, it's just pretending to be a phone, all the while pining for the fjords.

  • I was thinking about getting a ZuneHD. I heard that it was a really nice device and had great sound.
    Microsoft killing the Zune probably makes sense in the short term but I think it is foolish long term.
    Apple still sells a lot of iPod Touches they are a gaming device and media devices. Frankly Microsoft should have called WP7 the Zune Phone and keep the Zune line around. The Zune HDs replacement could have run WP7. Microsoft could still do it but what would you call the device? A Windows not phone 7?

    • Re:Too bad (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @09:49AM (#37598330)
      Why not still get one? It's still a great piece of hardware. The ecosystem is still supported, and there's no sign they'll be abandoning it any time soon. In fact, they recently expanded the Zune marketplace into Canada.
      • What about apps? Can you run WP7 apps on the Zune? As far as I remember the answer was "iffy". I could be wrong about that but not having apps is somewhat of a negative.
        • Apps are sparse. But as far as I see it, it's not an issue. I have a phone for apps. I have an MP3 player for music. Until there is a phone with massive storage and battery life, that's the way it will remain.
      • by Bill Dimm (463823)

        Is the content in the Zune marketplace DRMed? If it is, and your Zune breaks and you can't buy a replacement because they don't make them anymore, isn't the content you've purchased pretty useless?

    • by DinDaddy (1168147)

      Makes me wonder if they thought only kids bought ipods when they chose the name Zune. And were therefore afraid branding the phones as Zune would limit their appeal. I don't wonder at all about the stupid insistence on including the name "windows" in a product that has no windows, though. They are hopelessly stuck in that "must keep mindshare on windows brand" mindset.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        You have a point. Microsoft has the XBox which is popular and even cool. The problem is that name XBox didn't work for the music player. Maybe XTune? And then XPhone.
        Let's face it Windows doesn't just lack any cache in the phone market it has a negative value. Had Microsoft started off linking their consumer branding they might have gotten some more traction. I thought it was really odd that one couldn't sync their Zunes with the XBox instead of the computer. Hook it up to your system and pop in CD after C

    • The problem is the MS long term strategy was not coherent here when it comes to apps. The Zune could run apps but not WP7 apps as far as I know. A new Zune might run WP7 apps but not old Zune apps. Apple made the iPhone first and then the Touch and ensured almost all iPhone apps would work on the Touch. The apps that don't work are the ones that are phone specific.
  • ... at one point dead and alive at the same time?
  • by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble@@@hotmail...com> on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @10:08AM (#37598554)

    Excellent - now they'll be super cheap on eBay!

    Seriously, who cares that the Zune is no longer produced? It's an MP3 player. Few people would get them serviced so warranty work is pointless. Heck, I always loved the Rio and if the capacity was tiny compared to relatively newer models, I'd still get one.

    And fuck everyone - I liked the brown model.

    • by Aggrajag (716041)
      And there's nowadays a possibility for homebrew on Zune. Better check the Rockbox site as well.
  • I'm not surprised, everyone has iPods these days, even Carter Pewterschmidt [youtu.be].

  • At this time I cannot find one reference on this page to the Monty Python dead parrot skit. This is an outrage!

  • I'm surprised it made it this long.
  • of a pig on roller skates. and chrystal meth.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @01:54PM (#37601634) Homepage

    Microsoft does it again. First they killed PlaysForSure, with its DRM, and now Zune,with its own incompatible DRM.

    As I've pointed out before, the lifetime of DRM systems seems to be about five years. At the end of life, users tend to lose content, although sometimes there's a migration path.

  • Really dead. Dead and buried. The graveyard paved over with several feet of concrete and an Apple Store built on top of the concrete.

    That's how dead the Zune is.

  • It's not only merely dead, it's really most sincerely dead.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir

Working...