Microsoft to cease making Zune players, plan to crush iPod on hold

But 'consumer excitement for Zune' at fevered pitch (in Redmond's imagination)

Remember the great iPod-Zune battle in the Noughts? Me either. There never was one, despite a boast by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer in 2006 that the Zune media player and ecosystem could someday beat Apple's iPod and iTunes store. (Also see: Google tries to close mobile apps gap with Apple) Someday just got further away. Microsoft has announced it will no longer make new versions of the Zune, though it will continue to offer existing versions of the media player that nobody has bought in, what, three years? Fear not, Zune-omaniacs (both of you). According to Bloomberg, Microsoft will: , ...concentrate on putting Zune software onto mobile phones such as those running Microsoft’s Windows operating system, said (a) person who declined to be identified because the decision hasn’t been announced. Zune software lets customers buy songs and movies, as well as pay a monthly fee to stream unlimited music. Ballmer also said when the Zune was released that Microsoft was in the media player market for the long haul. It didn't quite work out way, though the past five years in the media player market must have seemed like forever to to Redmond. The Zune bows out with somewhere in the area of 2 percent market share. The iPod has 77 percent market share. And do you know what Ballmer would say about that? "Blah blah blah." Microsoft win!

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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