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Zune HD sees final phaseout: stores running out of stock

updated 02:10 pm EDT, Sun October 9, 2011

Zune HD clearing out from stores

Microsoft over the weekend provided a more definitive answer on the end of the Zune after repeatedconfusion as the Zune HD exited stock in earnest. Best Buy, the Microsoft Store, and Walmart all now show the MP3 player as out of stock. Microsoft had pulled the Zune HD from its Originals plan but, until now, still had supply in other stores.

The company's support page claiming the end to Zune HD players also returned after a temporary return following the company's earlier confusion. The statement reinforces Microsoft's strategy of shifting focus for the Zune's services to Windows Phone as well as its desktop and Xbox 360 components.

Microsoft still hasn't formally ended the Zune line outside of its statements, although it finished September by ending its long-running Zune Insider podcast with an abrupt notice at the end of its final episode. No mention was made at the time of the devices themselves going away, but the two key Zune team members hosting the show were moving on to other projects.

The on-again, off-again message from Microsoft on the Zune line creates a muddy end for the devices that parallels Microsoft's commitment in the long term. Zune players first shipped in November 2006 and were given a high profile and focus at the company in the hopes of toppling the already-dominant iPod. After a major 2007 update, however, the company's efforts diminished with fewer hardware updates and less marketing attention. An industry shift towards smartphones and an inability to dislodge Apple's share gradually reduced the Zune's importance, most of all as the company began working on Windows Phone and needed the Zune team for its music and video features.

As of the Zune's end, the iPod has about 78 percent of the US market, according to NPD data. In its lifetime, the Zune reached as high as second place but was always taking share from smaller rivals, many of whom were once also Microsoft's partners and not just competitors. [via WinRumors]

By Electronista Staff


  1. jpellino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Happens every October...

    ... around Halloween. Shoppers mistake them for Fun Size Snicker bars. Guess this was the last batch.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Fire sale! Every Zune must go!

    Microsoft could have done this two years ago and nobody would have cared back then. I'll bet a lot of consumers would consider buying the Zune HD if MS reduced its price to $99. I see there are always lot of tech-oriented consumers looking for bargains in dead-end products.

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    Buy now

    This will make for a unique paperweight for that special Windows-MS fan. Get two if you can. :-)

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    New Zune business model

    Old Zune business model: Copy 5 year old iPods.

    New Zune business model: Quit. Blow money on another dumb project.

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jan 2003


    Typical Microsoft

    The reason Apple does so well is because of a ecosystem. Microsoft lacks this ecosystem. If Windows worked better with xbox, zune, windows mobile, its other software and other hardware like sync for cars along with online services like live, Microsoft might actually do better. They keep missing point and keep doing the same thing.

    They use fancy looking complicated interfaces which the average person does not like. Looks pretty and kids love it but the 25-35 year olds don't. Its complicated to get things working with each other. Free stuff is full of annoying ad's like Windows Live. Microsoft has no vision.

  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010


    A fire sale...

    They will have a fire sale...sell shitloads in the space of a weekend and then Tech writers will ask why Microsoft is End-of-Life'ing such a popular product. Seen it before. Will see it again.

  1. tightzeit

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2006


    So there is

    a loss limit. I thought it was a long way off.

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Dec 2007


    Na na na na, hey hey


    Curious to know what M$'s total cost of R&D + manufacturing + marketing +- revenue was. That had to have put a big dent in their cash flow.

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