Retailer GameStop discontinues Zune sales

By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service |  Personal Tech, GameStop, Microsoft

GameStop will no longer sell Microsoft's Zune digital media players in its stores once it runs out of its current inventory, the company said.

The games retailer, which started selling Zune when the player was released in November 2006, found Zune was not "working with our product mix," said GameStop Vice President of Corporate Communications Chris Olivera in an e-mail on Monday. GameStop is primarily a video game retailer.

GameStop made the decision internally to discontinue selling the product about a month ago, Olivera said. News of the decision first came out publicly on a conference call last week to discuss the company's first-quarter 2008 earnings.

In an e-mail statement from its public relations firm on Monday, Microsoft focused on other retail partnerships rather than address GameStop's decision specifically.

The company noted that Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart and other stores continue to sell Zune, and the company finds "good momentum online and at retail over the last few months, including a great response to our recent spring update."

For that spring update, Microsoft unveiled that NBC would be selling content through the Zune Marketplace, Microsoft's online store that sells content for the player. The news was significant in that it followed a spat NBC had with Apple that spurred the television network to pull its content from Apple's iTunes online music store.

Microsoft released its Zune player as a competitor to Apple's enormously popular iPod. So far, however, Microsoft has seen only marginal success with Zune, selling more than 2 million since its launch. That compares to more than 10 million iPods sold in the first three months of this year.

According to its Web site, GameStop has 5,264 stores, with 4,061 of them in the U.S. The retailer also has 287 stores in Canada, 280 in Australia and New Zealand, and 636 in Europe. The stores operate under the names GameStop and EB Games.

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