It’s been rumored for a long time now that the Zune brand would eventually be killed off, considering the commercial failure of the Zune music players. But alas, Zune has lived on as the music service integrated into Windows Phone and Xbox, and the Zune desktop software is used to synchronize Windows Phones with PCs, suggesting that Microsoft was looking to retain Zune as a brand similar to Apple’s iTunes.
In all Windows 8 demos and previews to date, however, the Zune branding was notably absent, and Neowin is now claiming that they’ve seen a possible replacement for it, on Windows 8 devices shown at CES, that’s called Microsoft Music.
We do not know yet whether this Microsoft Music app will replace Zune or Windows Media Player, or whether it is just an internal, non-finalized moniker for the music player application. What Microsoft will probably do, though, is to ditch the venerable Media Player and integrate the features of the current Zune software into Windows 8, so Windows Phone users do not need to install another application to sync their devices. The only question now is how that new software will be named â€“ Microsoft Music?
Whatever the outcome, it’s quite frustrating to see the lack of a clear branding strategy at Microsoft. While the application stores on Windows Phone and Xbox are called Marketplace, in Windows 8, it’s called Windows Store instead. The worst case scenario here would be that the same divergence happens with Zune and Microsoft Music â€“ or even that there’d still be a seperate Zune software, in addition to the built-in music app.
Update: Â We had an anonymous but seemingly informed tipster who said this:
Zune isn’t going away.Â The Microsoft Music app is more a hub.Â It will allow users to get to other service like Pandora or Zune, and will also show things like artist information, upcoming shows and lyrics.
You heard it here first 😉