Zune HD International launch hopes crushed by Microsoft, others raised

Don't be sad. We know it hurts but that's what happens when your emotions exceed reason. The Zune HD will be a US exclusive when it goes on sale September 15th just as it was when the original Zune brownie went on sale back in November 2006. Here's what Microsoft told Ars:

"For the time being the Zune HD device will remain US only. Right now we are focused on deploying an exciting service in the form of Zune Video to 18 markets. We are looking at potential future hardware experiences for these markets, but do not have anything to announce right now."

Plenty of fodder for conspiracy types here. First, that means Canada is out, even though older Zune models are already on sale there. But the words "for the time being" leave plenty of wiggle room for an international launch window. And what does Microsoft mean by the generically phrased, "future hardware experiences?" Are they referring to a Zune service destined to "transcend Zune the device" later this year? Perhaps. One thing is clear: consumers are far more excited about the Zune HD than the original -- especially now that Apple's cat is out of the bag. Microsoft could be leaving a ton of money on the table if they don't go global, quick.

[Thanks, Safir]