After years of trying to carve out a niche in the MP3 player market, Microsoft is killing its Zune media player after the device failed to gain any mainstream traction. Of course, it didn’t help that Microsoft came along years after the market was already monopolized by Apple.
Citing sources familiar with Redmond’s plans, Bloomberg reports that Microsoft will sell off its remaining Zune inventory and will not release any new Zune devices in the future.
Instead, Microsoft will reportedly focus on using its Zune software on other devices such as mobile phones.
Originally introduced in 2006, the Zune always seemed to be a step or two behind the iPod in terms of both features and pricing. Microsoft attempted to angle the Zune as a device driven primarily by music and video, a strategy we questioned way back in September 2009.
Again, the battle for singular music and video playback devices is already over, with Apple having won that war years ago. iPods currently saturate the market, and it’s damn near close to becoming the Kleenex or Xerox equivalent of MP3 players. Microsoft may be focusing on music and video, but its focusing on the past, and that’s a strategy that never breeds any sort of success.
As products evolve, they naturally become more sophisticated and acquire new features. Take a look at cellphones. When they first hit the scene, they were purely devices used to make calls. Then came texts, then came music, then came email, then came web browsing etc. Microsoft’s Zune strategy is the equivalent of a company coming along and releasing a phone that only makes voice calls and sends text messages. They might call it a device that’s really focused on call quality and texting, but in reality, its a product stepping onto the court after the game’s already over.
And now it’s official.