Will instead focus on Zune ecosystem
It will likely not come as much of a surprise to some that Microsoft is rumored to be poised to discontinue its Zune music players at some point this year. While the Zune has gone through multiple evolutions, including the latest Zune HD which received a number of positive reviews, it just has not sold as Microsoft had hoped. As with others in this space, they were basically crushed by Apple with the iPod family of devices.
While the Zune players will likely be discontinued, the Zune will live on in the form of the Zune ecosystem that has been developed and is prominently in use on the Windows Phone 7 platform. The focus will be to continue to develop the Zune software.
It has been rumored for some time that Microsoft might use the Zune technology and re-work it into a portable gaming device. This, too, looks to be something that Microsoft has decided against. Instead, it will focus on being a platform provider in this space with Windows Phone 7, which offers the Xbox and Zune integration that does seem to put it ahead of other offerings.
Microsoft has not refreshed the Zune player offerings since September 2009, and the price of the players as well as the features are showing their age when compared to the latest iPod offerings from Apple. There apparently is no timetable yet on when Microsoft will move forward on this, but a Zune HD at a good price might worth owning if you are a Zune fan who does not have one yet.