Thanks to Tom Warrenâ€™s tweet for the title.
A reader last month wrote us a note requesting information about the Zune and ostensibly its future. Here is an excerpt
I’d like to ask if the editors here can post about how the Zune HD hasn’t been getting any updates since around April and what they should do about that. Also, if you do post it, can you make the point that Windows Phone 7 updates shouldn’t be following the Zune HD update path(nonexistent really).
Well, the time has come. Over the past few days, speculations having been running wild about the future of the Zune brand . The situation got amplified with the omission of Zune in the Microsoft â€“ Nokia chart of merging services, the lack of mention of Zune during the MWC 2011 keynote, and Paul Thurrott surmising on his blog that the brand was going to be folded into Windows Live label. A few websites have touched on this subject
- Zdnetâ€™s Mary Jo Foley â€œIs Microsoft Zune about to be Kinned‘â€™
- Zune Springâ€™s Travis Pope â€œKeep Zune hold the Live nonsenseâ€
- MyMicrosoftâ€™s Life Michael Gillette â€œZune rebrand; what it could meanâ€
- Livesideâ€™s Kip Kniskern â€œZune rumors heat up: How does Windows Live fit in?â€
- Tromboneforhireâ€™s Marques Lyons â€œoh Zune, where art thou?â€œ
- Engadgetâ€™s Tim Stevenâ€™s â€œMicrosoft Zune is dying, long live Microsoft Zune?â€
- Winrumorsâ€™ Tom Warren â€œMicrosoft seeking to rebrand Zune into Windows Live servicesâ€œ
Microsoft, as per its modus operandi using of using tweets or vague blog posts issued via the Zune team issued this denial
Weâ€™re not â€˜killingâ€™ any of the Zune services/features in any way. Microsoft remains committed to providing a great music and video experience from Zune on platforms such as Xbox LIVE, Windows-based PCs, Zune devices and Windows Phone 7, as well as integration with Bing and MSN.
Today, Paul Thurrott speculates that
Iâ€™ve been stating for a while now that the Zune brand is disappearing. And it is. This is something thatâ€™s been happening, slowly, for about a year so far. My guessâ€”and this part is a guessâ€”is that the end game will occur in Windows 8. That is, by the time that OS ships, the Zune brand (and associated materials, like the logo) will simply be gone for good.
Microsoftâ€™s obsession with shoving everything into the â€œWindowsâ€ label is perplexing to say the least! Just as Zune is showing gains in the video rental space they decide to to can it? Instead of improving Zune and adding missing features to WP7 like Zune Social, Smart DJ playlists and more, the Zune team now has to worry crazy disruptions and uncertainties caused by such reorganizations.
All that Zune requires as brand to succeed, is for Microsoft to once and for all, put some money into properly marketing the product and extend its availability to more consumers outside the US. The Zune name would also be perfect for a tablet device. I would prefer something like â€œ Zune Slateâ€. There are too many portable devices with the â€œpadâ€ or â€œtabâ€ suffixes so calling it a slate would differentiate it from the pack. An added advantage is that Microsoft gets to build and have full control of the device without relying on third party OEMs.
Blogger Jamie Thompson offers some thoughts on future Zune in the post aptly titled â€œWhat I think is going on with Zuneâ€. Here is an excerpt
The software that that we currently know as â€œthe Zune softwareâ€ or â€œthe Zune clientâ€ will be distributed with the next version of Windows Live Essentials and will be a replacement both for the current Zune client and the aging Windows Media Player. It will not be called â€œZuneâ€ but will have a name more befitting its new role as part of the Windows Live and larger Windows ecosystem â€“ for the purposes of the rest of this blog post Iâ€™ll refer to it as â€œWindows Live Media Playerâ€.
I have read some rumors that a Zune HD2 device may still on the way, and that the MIX Conference in April will clarify the future of Zune and Zune devices. I sure hope so, but after the debacle with the removal of â€œDrive extenderâ€ from Windows Home Server 2011 and the silence that ensued, I think the future belongs to everything prefixed with â€œWindowsâ€ common sense be damned!
So what are you guys thought on the future of Zune?
Thanks to @markwilsonit for Jamieâ€™s post