Microsoft Throws in the Towel on Zune Player

That sound you hear is the noise of tens of Zune customers gnashing their teeth in dismay and consternation because Microsoft has quietly pulled the plug on its would-be iPod killer, the Zune. Bloomberg reported that an unnamed source “familiar with the matter” said that Microsoft would no longer introduce new Zune models, and would instead focus on Zune as a software component of Windows Phone 7 smartphones.

Zune HD

Zune HD: RIP?

Zune was introduced in 2006 by Microsoft as the first Microsoft-branded digital media device. The company had opted to produce its own device after its “Plays for Sure” licensing campaign with OEMs failed to make a dent in Apple’s dominance in this market. Unfortunately for Big Redmond, however, the Zune also failed to gain any traction with consumers.

Microsoft was, however, able to develop a music store under the Zune brand, which eventually grew to offer movies and TV shows, just like Apple’s iTunes Store. The company intends to continue to leverage this online store for its smartphone operating system as it fights to regain share in that market, just as it develops Zune software to play music and video on its phones.

Bloomberg specified that this decision has not been made public, and the media company’s sources were not willing to be named. We found that still lists the Zune HD standalone device, but that the home page only promotes Zune “on your phone,” “on your Xbox,” and “on your PC.”