Late Monday evening Microsoft announced the death of its ailing music listening device. "We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players," read the brief notice on Zune.net. The device, age 4, would have celebrated its fifth birthday on November 16, 2006. The Zune had a short lived, but relatively successful career. If you consider second best an achievement.
Five years after the iPod changed the way humans listen to music, Microsoft decided to craft an iPod competitor. Not exactly too little too late, in its early life, it showed small signs of success. After launch, it ranked second to the iPod, reported Gizmodo.
Despite the fact that the Zune was only #18 on Amazon's sales chart (it's #17 now)—behind 12 varieties of iPods—Microsoft's doing quite well this holiday season. Statistics released by NPD Group says that while the iPod is still number one, the Zune's leapfrogged everyone else and claimed 9% of sales and 13% of total dollar share. Impressive, until you compare it to the iPod's 63% of sales and 72.5% of dollar share.
The Zune looked like Microsoft's Jessica Simpson to Apple's Britney Spears. It had a chance! But then came along the New Years glitch of 2009: Z2K9. At midnight on December 31, 2008 thousands of first generation Zune's froze. The Zune never recovered.