Microsoft sounds final death knell for Zune music streaming service

Microsoft Sign

Alas, poor Zune: Microsoft’s long-doomed answer to the iPod has finally given up the ghost, according to a quiet and brief eulogy posted on Microsoft’s support pages on Sunday.

While the company will still allow the remaining Zune-enabled devices to function, it won’t be possible to stream or download music to them anymore.

“As of November 15, 2015, Zune services will be retired,” said the post. “You will no longer be able to stream or download content to your device from the Zune music service. However, Zune devices will still function as music players and any MP3 content that you own on the Zune device will remain there.”

The company is still pushing its own music services, but it’s not trying to take share from iTunes anymore, opting instead to put its muscle behind its streaming service, Groove. (Zune accounts, as well as Xbox Music accounts, will be converted to Groove accounts.)

Users can scarcely say they didn’t see it coming: Microsoft stopped making Zune devices in 2011.

The original Zune was one of a half-dozen digital media players that either predated the iPod or hoped to take a bite out of the popular device’s impressive sales figures, but Apple was already well ahead of the curve by the time the Zune arrived. The first-generation Zune, a lightly retooled Toshiba Gigabeat S, debuted 14 November 2006. The first-generation iPhone came out seven months later.

At the time, Microsoft had already tried to launch an aspiring iTunes-killer called MSN Music; with the launch of Zune the name of the service changed to Zune Marketplace and included videos. In 2012 it changed again, to Xbox Music (and Xbox Video, and Xbox Music Pass). Now, as Microsoft embraces Android devices more fully (and works on retooling its own mobile hardware), the Zune is probably just a reminder of a time the company would like to forget. Although at least one fan, who celebrated his enthusiasm with a Zune tattoo, will remember the music player for some time to come.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Sam Thielman in New York, for theguardian.com on Monday 16th November 2015 18.41 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010