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Microsoft axes all non-touch Zunes

updated 11:35 am EDT, Wed September 2, 2009

Zune HD to be only Zune from now on

Microsoft late Tuesday revealed that it's discontinuing every non-touchscreen Zune in its lineup. While the company previously said the Zune HD was replacing the flash players, staff in the media player team have told journalist Paul Thurrott that the hard drive-based Zune 80 and Zune 120 have also ceased production and that sales of these and any remaining Zune will only continue until they run out of stock. It's not certain how long this will last.

The shift makes Microsoft one of the first if not only media device creators to scrap all of its non-touch players and appears part of an attempt to completely modernize the Zune feature set. Outside of minor firmware updates, the "clickpad" Zunes have remained the same since 2007 and are believed to have contributed to plumming sales figures as the absence of new features, along with a poor economy, drove customers to other players or else to hold off on purchases.

Software is also a concern for Microsoft as the touchscreen demands a different interface for certain tasks and will otherwise need significant changes in Microsoft's app platform, which should now support general third-party apps instead of just a handful of games.

Apple by comparison has been conservative to date, launching the iPod touch in 2007 but keeping all its existing iPod lines around in the 2008 refresh a year ago. Rumors have these returning this year but with cameras added.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    Probably until 2050

    The supply of Zune probably would last for another five decades, so the production should stop now.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999



    When did Paul Thurrott become a journalist? I thought he was just a Microsoft fan-boy with a few web sites.

  1. chas_m



    Oh noes!

    This will probably devastate -- or excite -- both Zune buyers out there.

    Seriously, in years of people-watching, I've seen a fair few Creatives and a few dozen no-namers, but exactly ONE Zune. And a couple of million iPods.

    Give it up already MS.

  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2004


    Why is this news?

    It is pretty obvious that touch screen based devices are the "bee's knees" for the foreseeable future, so why would they not cut everything else? I have owned a Zune and it was a fine device. The only reason I sold it was because of the lack of unicode support. Currently I have an iPhone for calls/apps/mobile internet and a Sony X-1050 for music. Why? Because the iPhone/iPod sound quality blows.

    If only Apple would truly care to improve two things:
    1. Sound quality ("okay" sound quality is not enough)
    2. Battery life on the iPhone/iPod Touch. These are mobile devices and need more battery life...but I guess thin is in!

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