Microsoft: Reports of Zune's Death Greatly Exaggerated

According to a blog post attributed to a Microsoft program manager, Microsoft has not officially confirmed the purported demise of the hardware version of the Zune MP3 player.

An article published on Monday by Bloomberg cited an unnamed source who indicated that Microsoft plans to stop releasing new models of the Zune hardware. Dave McLauchlan, the blog post's author, wrote that he currently manages Zune hardware business development and that the Bloomberg article should be viewed with skepticism.

"To be 100 percent clear -- NO information about our future plans, no matter what the incarnation, has been shared," McLauchlan wrote.

However, McLauchlan did not explicitly debunk the Bloomberg story's claims.

The last new Zune device, the Zune HD, was delivered to stores on Sept. 15, 2009, according to a Microsoft press announcement. Near that same time, Microsoft announced that Zune software would be available for PCs, Xbox Live and Windows Phone 7 devices. The Bloomberg article claims that Microsoft has its Zune teams split into hardware and software groups, with the split occurring sometime in 2009.

McLauchlan implied that Microsoft considers Windows phones to be a hardware release of the Zune.

"We were completely frank about this year's Zune hardware being the WP7 phones, and we continue to both sell and fully support the Zune HD line of products," the blog stated. "And as I've promised -- we continue to bring new apps and games to the platform. More of those are in the works, I promise you."

Microsoft's press support did not respond to an inquiry sent on Tuesday about Zune hardware plans. However, it did release a statement to Bloomberg stating that it had nothing to announce about another Zune device and that Microsoft's "long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.