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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

R.I.P. Microsoft Zune, Redheaded Stepchild of MP3 Players

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM

click to enlarge Zune 2
  • Zune 2

Word out of the Seattle area is that Microsoft is finally killing its Zune lineup of MP3 players, opting to fold the media player technology into their Windows Phone 7 devices. While most people shrugged the Zune off as an unworthy MP3 player, the truth is it deserved better. None of the devices were never bad; actually, they were quite good. But they always found themselves lagging behind that other company when it came to innovation.

The second iteration of the Zune had a slick interface and an amazing control pad informally dubbed the "squircle." It was actually better than the clickwheel on the iPod, but by the time it came out Apple had already focused its efforts on the touchscreen UI of the iPod touch.

click to enlarge zune_hd.jpeg
Zune HD

Zune HD, Microsoft's touchscreen Zune, was also a capable, well-made device. Unfortunately, the iPod Touch had already been out for two years by the time it saw the light of day, and it had none of the thousands of apps that Apple's offering had.

Alas, a combination of terrible marketing campaigns and bad decisions (like making the Zune incompatible with Macs) doomed it to a life of irrelevance. And of course, there was Zune Guy. We failed you, Zune.


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