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Microsoft to Kill Off Zune Player

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Looks as if the Zune will be Microsoft's next of Kin.

According to Bloomberg, because of sluggish sales, the rise of smartphones, and a virtual anonymity in the iPod's shadow, Microsoft will no longer introduce new versions of the Zune media player. In its absence, Redmond will continue to develop the Zune software on other platforms like Windows Phone 7 devices and Xbox 360.

Neither confirming nor denying the report, Microsoft responded, "We have nothing to announce about another Zune device -- but most recently have introduced Zune HD to Canada via the Zune Originals store and remain committed to supporting our devices in North America." The company added, "Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms."

Despite sporting a decent OS and streaming capabilities, the Zune never could catch up to Apple's unstoppable marketing machine. As the iPod progressed into a Wi-Fi-enabled touchscreen behemoth, Microsoft continually failed to evolve past Apple or claim a sizable market share. Instead, it became the butt of the joke, the also-ran, the Christine O'Donnell of the tech world.

The Zune also had the unfortunate distinction of launching just as smartphones were beginning to catch on. Once iPhone and Android devices became effective media players themselves, there simply was no need for an additional gadget to just play music and video. Even dropping iPod sales are evidence of that.

Now, it's just up to Microsoft to ensure the success of Zune software by making Windows Phone 7 a bona fide hit.

Good thing Apple doesn't have a product to compete with that.
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