RIP Zune

Note: This was originally written for the Emerson Social Media Blog.

Believe it or not, I used to be a Zune owner. Most people made fun of them for being the poor man’s iPod, despite the fact that they were comparably priced. Ultimately, the Zune was Microsoft’s version of an mp3 player, and it didn’t work out so well. Everyone always thought of it as a crappy version of an iPod.

However, I loved mine when I had it. In an attempt to be “cooler than everyone else” I decided to rebel against the norm and get myself a Zune. I started off with a clunky white version, but it held 30GB of music. Needless to say, I was good to go. Eventually I upgraded to a Zune 80GB with custom etching on the back. It was easy to personalize my Zune and it did exactly what I needed it to do – play music.

Then, this summer I decided I hated my crappy Dell laptop and needed to upgrade. Naturally going to a school with a bunch of film majors, I figured that Macs were the best, and this die hard PC user was going to join the dark side. While at the Apple store, I learned that not only could I get a free printer with my computer, but also a free iPod. What harm could that do?

Even though my new iPod only holds 8GB for music, pictures, applications and video, it still gets the job done, and I don’t seem like an outcast. However, saying goodbye to my Zune was difficult, but we had to part ways. I’m a Mac now.

Today I heard through the grapevine that Microsoft is getting rid of the Zune hardware all together now. As in, you would no longer be able to buy a Zune player. The Zune software would still be used on Xboxs and Windows 7 phones the world over for content, music and gaming.

Despite all this hoopla about the death of the Zune, Microsoft commented:

“We have nothing to announce about another Zune device – but most recently have introduced Zune HD to Canada via Zune Originals store and remain committed to supporting our devices in North America. We are thrilled by the consumer excitement for Zune across many new platforms, including Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360. Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms.”

It’s unclear as of right now whether or not the Zune players are still available for sale. On the Zune website right now, the focus is on the Zune software, and the actual hardware isn’t really advertised. At the end of the day, you’d need to be dumb not to recognize the fact that the Zune doesn’t have much of a future anymore. Apple has a stronghold on the mp3 player market and it would be practically impossible for the Zune to ever hold a serious place in a consumer’s mind.

Zune owners, be careful not to sell the ones you have. They could become collectibles some day.

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