The Zune saga continues. Is the music player really dead? The drama got a little weirder today, as Microsoft seems to be making a concerted effort to erase any evidence that it said Zune hardware is finished. Passed on. No more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and has gone to meet its maker. It is a late media player. An ex-media player, if you will.
A support page which said that the company was focusing on Windows Phone for entertainment and "will no longer be producing Zune players" was deleted from its website (see the cached version here). Furthermore, in a tweet from the official Zune Support team, it continued the walk back.
"We are still supporting the Zune HD hardware. No official info has been released stating hardware is being discontinued," support representative "SM" said in a tweet. Thus, as official as it seemed being on Microsoft's Zune website, now we're being told that's not the case.
Moral of the story here? Not even Microsoft knows the status of its music player that seemingly is the tech world's equivalent of the Energizer bunny.
We contacted Microsoft and finally got a response nearly three hours after posting. And that post to the Zune site? Microsoft says to ignore it. When questioned by Betanews on its mixed messages this week and if the post to the support mistake was a mistake, Zune support representatives said yes. "It appears to be the case," tweeted "SM." "We apologize if you felt misled by this."
Misled? I'd say!
So what could be the reasons for the apparent confusion in Redmond?
The first may be that the page could have been released to the public before it was intended. It seems like a forgone conclusion that Zune hardware will be phased out, and this will eventually occur.
The second is that Microsoft does not want customers considering the Zune yet to skip purchases, which would create a glut of all-but useless players on the market. Yes, Zune Pass is getting cheaper, but the "cool" factor is arguably no longer there.
Finally, it could really signal an internal struggle within Microsoft itself. While there is no evidence this is happening, the company has spent millions on the platform and may want to give it another go.