CONSUMER ELECTRONICS ALSO-RAN Microsoft has finally put its Zune music player out of its misery, with reports that the company will no longer develop products for the Zune.
Microsoft launched its Zune music player back in 2006 to compete with Apple's Ipod. At the time CEO Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft could beat Apple at its own game, a statement that seemed fanciful at the time and has now proven to have been simply laughably wrong. Bloomberg reports that Microsoft will stop updating its Zune player, concentrating on putting the software onto other devices.
Initial versions of the Zune music player were one generation behind the Ipod, while in its infinite wisdom Microsoft launched the device only in the US. Later versions of the Zune including the Zune HD had slightly better hardware but the only standout feature, the Zune user interface, has since been ported to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 (WP7) operating system, leaving the Zune with no real selling point.
Microsoft had already split the Zune team into hardware and software groups and the last major model, the Zune HD was released back in 2009. It is widely thought that dedicated music players like Apple's original Ipod and Microsoft's Zune have had their day.
Apple, the market leader in MP3 devices, is focusing on its App Store powered devices, touting its Ipod Touch as a portable gaming device rather than just a media player. Just like with the Zune, the Vole is following a similar path to Apple, only years behind.
The problem for Microsoft is that, like with its Zune, its decision to concentrate its efforts on developing Zune software on WP7 devices comes after Apple and Google already have the smartphone market all but sewn up. µ
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