Zune Is Officially Being Killed on November 15th



It was Microsoft’s answer to the iPod and its thriving iTunes ecosystem, but never gained traction and was ultimately marginalized by the iPhone.  Now, eight years after its splashy launch, the Zune is quietly being buried.  Effective November 15th, Zune’s will no longer be manufactured, and all Zune music services shuttered.   That includes DRM-protected content, which, according to Microsoft, ‘may not play’ in the future.




The Zune actually had some promise, though by 2007, Apple was already starting the wheels on a new revolution.  Just one year later, the world experienced the iPhone, and bundled iPod functionality.  In that brand new arena, Microsoft’s Windows-powered mobile devices were marginalized even further, and so were its Zune-powered music ambitions.

There were a few features that unfortunately got buried in Zune’s pile of failure.  The player offered some interesting WiFi-enabled sharing between devices, though a critical mass of players never materialized.  Even so, licensing major labels eventually limited Wifi-enabled device sharing, rendering it effectively useless.


Microsoft is now porting any remaining Zune Music Pass subscriptions to its Groove Music Pass, which works on Xbox and other Microsoft-powered devices.

6 Responses

  1. Name2

    HD FM, also, which was not something a lot of manufacturers bothered with (one edition of the Apple nano had it, I believe). I’ve looked at Zunes over the years, but they always seemed to be a day late and a dollar short. The article fails to mention the early and spectacular failure of “Plays for Sure” DRM, which pretty much put a taint on anything with “Microsoft” and “music” in the same sentence. It wasn’t just Apple’s brilliance that made Microsoft an also-ran.

  2. Troglite

    I was the recipient of a free Zune HD several years ago. The hardware is superior to any of the iPod’s I’ve owned. I also found the software easier to use than iTunes. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s business strategy (or lack there of) made those high quality experiences irrelevant. The press correctly criticized the “we’ve got a music player, too” anti-strategy and the fate of Zune as a brand was sealed.

    What I REALLY want to know is why there appears to be an intentional campaign to remove what I consider to be one of the more intriguing variations of the “all you can eat subscription” pricing model from the marketplace. Once upon a time, several vendors, including Microsoft and Rhapsody used to offer an option where the subscriber got to download and keep a handful of DRM-free songs each month (e.g. 10 songs per month, use it or lose it).

    For me, this has always represented an excellent balance between music discovery and perpetual ownership of the songs I love. If a consumer might buy 5 – 10 CD’s each year, this becomes a compelling price point. By committing to spend roughly the same amount as part of an annual subscription for $120 gives them the additional benefit of being able to stream songs from the full catalog plus the ability to own the same music they would have bought anyway. As a musician, this also seems like an attractive, balanced approach in that it encourages discovery of lesser known works and increases the chances of converting that activity into a full sale.

    Does anyone actually know why the labels have worked so hard to eliminate this option? So far, the only reasonable guess I’ve thought of is they want to encourage mobile downloads that are DRM protected so they can continue to track the consumer’s listening habits. But, I sincerely hope to learn that a better justification exists.

  3. Christopher

    I still use the Zune music client on my PC. I think the design is superior to iTunes. I buy my music through Apple, Google, and Amazon though. I don’t buy media through Microsoft because they always seem to be far more expensive, or lack quality descriptions of the content you are buying.

  4. Infinite X

    Bill Gates need to bring me into , Microsoft , and get it all back on top again. We need to go fast forward back to the mall theme , revamp , integrate the music with the shopping eXperience and insert a personality–host into the program that shoppers can relate to from impression to eXit on demand purchasing environment. : Out of my very first 50 contracts it was with , Rhapsody real player one , I went gold with them and became a gold artist on their radio and download software programs. I went platinum on iTunes and was on nobody’s payroll when my attorney that represents clients like Microsoft and Sony stepped in and started to build my trust estate and during the time when members of my own family was saying my work was bullshit. I’m the only billionaire inside the Bonner family and my name is , Eric Hugh aka Literati X known and heard of in 200 countries . . .Being an independent artist used to be a dirty word inside the music industry ; but now the cartels partner with independent publishers to distribute their stars on Wall Street. The cartels ride with , Literati X , because they know how I plug songs and run up tabs in the trillions ! Al Capone X inside the Brooklyn blueprint. . .


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