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.