Microsoft Kills the Zune

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When we published a story last week about rumors that Microsoft would finally pull the plug on its $100 skipping stone, the Zune, a strange thing happened: No one from the Redmond company's public-affairs office called to say "Those rumors are false! Zune rules!" Today's leaked announcement reported by Bloomberg appears to answer why.

Microsoft Corp. will stop introducing new versions of the Zune music and video player because of tepid demand, letting the company shift its focus to other devices, according to a person familiar with the decision.

Some of the Zune software will live on through the Windows Phone 7 and other Microsoft media services, and current users will still be able to download content through the Zune Store.

The official announcement--with none of the fanfare that the original Zune roll-out boasted--has not come yet. Instead the company released the following statement/semi-denial:

"We have nothing to announce about another Zune device -- but most recently have introduced Zune HD to Canada via the Zune Originals store and remain committed to supporting our devices in North America. We are thrilled by the consumer excitement for Zune across many new platforms, including Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360. Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms."

The obvious question left to ask is: What will Steve Smith the Zune Guy do with his tattoo?

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Steve Smith is going to need to come up with a good story to tell his grandkids (assuming having a Zune tattoo won't make conception impossible).

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