Microsoft to Stop Making Zune!

Microsoft to Stop Making Zune!

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I just shared this news with my wife and her reaction was “WHuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuT! Why?” The shock was audible for her. 

I couldn’t believe it when I read it yesterday and yet I cannot find anything to dispute its truth.  Yesterday it was reported that Microsoft will cease production of the Zune.  They will sell the remaining stock and then the Zune will be no more.  I have to admit that typing those words sends a shudder through me.  5 years ago the Zune was the answer to Apples crushing success in the MP3 player world the Ipod.  Zune was innovative and feature rich, and yet never really caught on.  I of course use them still and love them.  My kids love theirs!  Simple features like the addition of an HD radio, are a a big deal.  I’m getting nostalgic already.  I have 2 things I need to get off my chest related to this news. 

1.  I’m a little bit annoyed that Microsoft is for all intents and purposes giving up on the Zune.  (I know that the Windows Phone is sort of taking up that torch but not enough.)  I spent the last 5 years telling my children that as long as Microsoft makes a competing product we will not be buying Ipods.  I believe in riding for the brand! The Zune HD was hands down a better product than the Ipod. What do I tell my children now?  ( and No, a $199 Windows Phone on a 2 year contract, plus a data plan charge per month, is not an equivalent solution for my 8 year old.) 

2.  This one is a little deeper in its philosophy.  If a competitor owns a market segment and you set out to compete in that same segment, under what circumstances do you decide to no longer compete for that business.  Long ago Microsoft entered a networking marketplace totally and wholly owned by Novell servers.  It took more than a decade and the tables turned dramatically.  Imagine if Microsoft had stopped at Windows NT 3.51 because sales weren’t sufficient to justify the costs of continuing operations.  I know Microsoft is planning to continue its forray into consumer electronics.  I have heard Steve Ballmer himself talk about the importance of tablets and phones and other consumer devices.  I know we are not giving up that fight.  This is why the Zune news comes as such a shock to me. 

I am anxiously awaiting Microsoft’s official statement on the end of the Zune in hopes that there may be some more light shed on the reasons behind this move and maybe some suggested messaging for my children and friends whom I have evangelized Zune to for the past 5 years. 

Comments
  • yep both my kids have zunes! I would have thought the R&D would be done at this point so just sell the hardware.  Let the win7 phone grow the zune marketplace and possible grow the zune device market also..  Kinda gives me the feeling that win7 phone is toast too!

  • not sure if the 1st post made it!

    yep both my kids have zunes! I would have thought the R&D would be done at this point so just sell the hardware.  Let the win7 phone grow the zune marketplace and possible grow the zune device market also..  Kinda gives me the feeling that win7 phone is toast too!

  • I frankly have to say the Zune was doomed at the product announcement. Zune is a terrible product name. The name was too cute (I know they were going for cool, but it missed the mark) in an already flooded market to take seriously.

  • To your second point, I think it's because the ipod has evolved to be more than a simple mp3 player, and MS has decided to make WP7 the competing product to iOS.  I guess my question is, would your answer to your kids wanting an ipod (touch) still be 'no' if they were going to use it to play games?  In that capacity it's less of a competing product, isn't it?

    I also think the situations are very different.  In your Novell comparison, MS was already an established player in the PC OS market, and they were banking on the name they made in that segment to gain ground in the NOS segment.  With the Zune, they were trying to come in as a brand new player in a market they had zero experience with.

    I don't blame them for trying, esp. given the success they had with the xbox.  For the benefit of consumers, I hope they find a niche for WP7.

  • Not only did the enter a market as a brand new player with zero experience, they did it in about a klutzy a fashion as possible.  The original Zune was a laughingstock.  It would have taken a truely innovative product to overcome that, and the HD, while cool, was not that innovative.

    I see them making the same mistakes with WP7.  Not enough innovation and no updates to the crippled fish they did finally launch.  Truthfully, a Zune-Phone probably would have sold better.  No, they had to tie it to Windows and allow the cell phone services to cripple it more.  Speaking of services, if they had focussed on releasing it on Verizon first, at least they would have had something people wanted that iPhone couldn't (at the time) provide.

    Zune, RIP.  WP7, future RIP.

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