Microsoft to Scrap Zune

This should come at no surprise given how Microsoft has been doing poorly when it comes to consumer audio and video — this is good news, as they are very poor when it comes to user experience and polished interfaces.

As usual, Steve Ballmer, the new CEO (and errrmm visionary leader?) has yet again showed he's a very good contrarian indicator, when he predicted that Microsoft could beat Apple with Zune.

So I'm happy to spread the rumor about the demise of the Zune device:
March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. will stop introducing new versions of the Zune music and video player because of tepid demand, letting the company shift its focus to other devices, according to a person familiar with the decision.

Microsoft will concentrate on putting Zune software onto mobile phones, such as those running its Windows operating system, said the person, who declined to be identified because the decision hasn’t been announced. Zune software lets customers buy songs and movies, as well as pay a monthly fee to stream unlimited music.

Zune, introduced in 2006, never managed to break the iPod’s grip on the music-player industry and became the brunt of late- night talk-show jokes. Apple Inc.’s iPod led the market with 77 percent of unit sales last year, while the Zune failed to crack the top five, according to NPD Group Inc. By adding the Zune features to the Windows Phone software, Microsoft aims to gain ground in another challenging area -- mobile phones -- where it’s lost market share to Google Inc. and Apple.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, declined to comment on plans for the Zune.
When Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer released the Zune more than four years ago, he predicted that Microsoft could one day overtake Apple.

“We can beat them, but it’s not going to be easy,” Ballmer said in a November 2006 interview.

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