Zune Player: Still dead

Obviously this should come as no surprise to Microsoft watchers, but the Zune  players were finally laid to rest today in a notice on Zune.net:

We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players. So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. Your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honor the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our very last devices. Customer service has been, and will remain a top priority for us. To get the most out of your Zune player or for additional support, see the following sites:

  • For information about your player, see Zune Players.
  • If you need a repair or want to register your Zune player, see the Zune Online Service Center.
  • If you recently placed an order for a Zune player through the Zune Originals website, your order will still be fulfilled. To check the status of your order, please contact us.
  • If you have any other questions, ask Microsoft Answers.

Apparently Microsoft couldn’t even kill the star-crossed players off without making a mess of things, much like a large part of the history of the Zune brand.  Earlier today, mentions of the players were wiped from the website with no explanation, then a Zune team member said it was all a mistake, and shortly after that the death notice was posted.  Owch.   We were a bit pre-occupied with getting into and around San Francisco for today’s Hotmail announcements (we’re posting this from 26,000 feet somewhere over Northern California), and missed most of the fun, but WPCentral has a good write-up.

Of course the handwriting’s been on the wall for ages about the demise of Zune hardware, and why Microsoft felt the need to drag this out so long is beyond us.  If anything, the last remaining players may even increase in value, as kind of a macabre status symbol, so prolonging the agony seemed pointless.  Chalk up another one for the deadpool.