Engadget reported that Microsoft may be killing off the Zune hardware to focus on the software experience and let people experience Zune on Windows Phone 7 hardware. I still have my custom FC Sounders Zune HD and still find it to have the BEST sound of any digital media player while also being an extremely nice and light piece of hardware to use while working out when I don't want to track my runs with GPS on my phone. Microsoft never did very good at promoting the platform so it is understandable that Zune focused hardware may no longer be made.
I have written about the obvious benefits of the Zune Marketplace, but it seems that my enthusiasm for the platform has fallen on deaf ears. Microsoft never actively promoted the platform, even the fantastic Zune HD. It never should have been compared to the iPod and they should have told the story about the entire experience as it stood alone. Microsoft seems to only provide sales data for the Xbox platform so we are not sure how well the Zune did in retail channels, but if they are killing it off then it obviously wasn't doing that well.
I have emails into my contacts at Microsoft to verify if this rumor is true or not, but as I said it would not be surprising to anyone.
I will continue to use and enjoy my Zune HD and hopefully it continues to last for a few more years before some compelling Nokia Windows Phone 7 device launches.
UPDATE: I received the following response from a Microsoft spokesperson so while the Zune hardware may eventually be killed off, there is no official statement confirming this at this time.
We’re absolutely committed to providing the best movies, music, and TV show experiences through Zune on Xbox, the PC, Windows Phone 7 and Zune devices. We’ll share more information about the evolution of the Zune entertainment service and Zune hardware as future plans develop.