Apple's iPod killed Microsoft's Zune

Microsoft can blame Apple and its iPod hegemony for the failure of its Zune digital media player.

Microsoft has nixed any future iterations of its Zune music and video player, according to a Bloomberg report, adding another name on the list of devices killed by Apple's iPod hardware and entertainment ecosystem. Microsoft has yet to make the death of its Zune official, but unofficially it's believed the decision is based on poor demand for its players since the Zune line was introduced almost five years ago.

In the music and video player market, Apple's iPod is still king. NPD's figures put its domination at around 77 percent of the market last year. In comparison, Microsoft's players weren't even in the top five devices on the market, despite a price drop in early 2010. Zune's inevitable hardware demise won't be sudden though. According to Bloomberg's sources, Microsoft will continue to sell existing versions of Zune, probably until remaining stock is exhausted.

In 2009, when the last major overhaul of the Zune hardware was introduced, I wrote that the device was no iPod killer. Two years down the line, Microsoft's ambitions to beat Apple in the industry it revolutionized didn't work. But the Zune name won't be consigned to the annals of tech history any time soon. As Technologizer's Ed Oswald predicted back in February, the software platform from Microsoft will live on.

In 2009, Microsoft separated the Zune team into two separate divisions: software and hardware. So if Bloomberg's sources are accurate, Microsoft will continue to invest in Zune software through integrating it in Windows Phone 7, the company's latest smartphone OS, as well as with the Xbox ecosystem and, of course, Windows.

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
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