Microsoft officially kills the Zune

It’s finally official: Microsoft will no longer be producing Zune HD music and video players.

Microsoft has officially confirmed that the company will no longer be making Zune players, and that it will instead focus on Windows Phone 7 for users’ music and video needs. Microsoft’s official statement went up on the Zune website Monday night, assuring current Zune users that the discontinuation of the product does not mean their devices will be defunct: “We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players. So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. Your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honor the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our very last devices. Customer service has been, and will remain a top priority for us.”

This is not the first we’ve heard of the death of the Zune–and in fact, it seems to be a popular time for the death of other standalone portable music and video players (that is, music and video players not attached to a smartphone or tablet). It’s recently been suggested that the iconic MP3 player, Apple’s iPod Classic, is also on its way out.

A couple of months ago, new apps released for the Zune (as well as updates to existing apps) had people thinking that perhaps the Zune had more time left after all. But, as it turns out, it doesn’t.

Current Zunes will still work with existing Zune services, and Microsoft will honor all warranties. It looks like Zune’s Online Service Center, which is where you can register your Zune or request and track a repair, will remain open for the time being.

Since Windows Phone 7 currently uses Zune software, current users can also rest assured that Zune software (which is much better than iTunes, in my opinion) won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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