Zune devices to quietly fade away

Because of weak demand, Microsoft will cease to introduce new versions of the Zune music and video player, Bloomberg reports. The company will instead focus on Zune software for mobile devices.

As Mashable noted, Zune was launched in late 2006 “to much fanfare and hopes that it could beat Apple’s iPod,” yet it never gave much of a challenge to the iPod, “Apple’s best-selling and market changing music and media player.”

I think that much of the problem of these devices that go after market-defining devices is that they serve to strengthen the product you’ve set out to defeat. By saying your media player is the “iPod killer”, you’re admitting that the iPod is the standard for all other media players to aspire to be.

The same thing is unfolding in the tablet space. Motorola, Samsung and RIM are all trying to make devices, knowing full well that they’re competing for the same market that will buy the iPad. Instead of making something innovative and different, they make something that is essentially an iPad clone. But these competitors, in creating these devices, justify the tablet as a product category, and help make the iPad that device at the top of the heap.

Unless these devices start to offer something beyond the iPad’s specifications (I’m talking about something more substantial that the ability to play Flash, mind you), I see a great likelihood that history will repeat itself.

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