Microsoft's Zune Is Dead; Let's Relive Its Finest Moment

Unable to vanquish Apple's iPod, the Zune never had a chance

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Microsoft has finally killed its Zune MP3 player. For four years, it was the laughing stock of the tech world. It never generated strong sales and always seemd to be one step behind Apple's iPod devices, which dominated the market with 77 percent of unit sales in 2010. According to Bloomberg, Microsoft will continue selling existing versions but will no longer introduce new ones.

While Apple fanboy sites are celebrating the MP3 player's demise ("iPod's Mission Accomplished" reads a headline on TUAW) some business pundits are being slightly kinder to the aging software giant. Business Insider's Matt Rosoff applauded the decision, saying Microsoft has realized it doesn't need to replicate everything Apple does. "MP3 players were no threat to Microsoft's core businesses," he writes. "In fact, the iPod probably spurred a lot of Windows upgrades as users suddenly realized that their 10GB hard drive was too small to hold all that music."

To be honest, that's probably the nicest thing that's ever been said about Microsoft in a Zune-related article. To find anything more flattering, one must delve into the archives of The Onion for a  prescient bit of satire circa December 2007. By then, it was already apparent that Apple was eating Microsoft's lunch. Here's how "America's Finest News Source" covered the tech trend:

NEW YORK—In a year that saw the release of such best-selling products as the Motorola RAZR 2 V8 and the wildly popular Casio XD-SW4800 handheld dictionary, no personal electronics product launch was more highly anticipated than the November 13 debut of the second-generation Microsoft Zune mp3 player.

The sleek new Zune, whose record-breaking sales have made the Zune name synonymous with "mp3 player," was so sought-after that thousands formed long lines outside hip, minimalist Microsoft Stores across the country days before the device went on sale. In Midtown Manhattan, the hysteria reached such a fever pitch that some were willing to pay as much as $200 for a spot in line.

"How could you not want one?" said self-described "Microsoft fanatic" Maria Arkin, who, like many others scrambling to be among the first to get their hands on the new Zune, expressed disappointment upon learning that sales were limited to just two units per customer. "It's amazing. There's just nothing else like it on the market."

Arkin added, "Plus, it's small enough to fit in my pocket—right next to my cell phone!"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.