After a four and a half year run, Microsoft may be retiring its Zune media player. A report from Bloomberg claims the Redmond company has stopped producing new models of the Zune player due to weak sales and even weaker demand. The company will abandon its hardware efforts and focus on the software side of the media player.
The Zune launched in November 2006, and the media players never caught on with consumers. Even the flashy Zune HD, which launched in 2009 with sleek styling and a nice set of specs, never gained the retail interest that is garnered by the iPod touch. Microsoft's branded media player was always in the shadow of the iPod family juggernaut, which grabbed 77 percent of unit sales in 2010. In that same period, the Zune did not even break into the top five.
Despite the hardware's less than positive welcome, both the Zune user interface and the all-you-can-eat subscription service were popular among those using the platform. Microsoft recognized this and wisely ported the best of the Zune features to the media portion of Windows Phone 7. Windows Phone is a newcomer to the smartphone market and is currently trailing the market leaders: Apple's iPhone, flavors of Android and RIM's BlackBerry.
[Via Business Insider]