Wednesday, April 06, 2011

[Tech] R.I.P. Zune

R.I.P. Zune: Very sad to see that Microsoft has given up on Zune. The service and music store will continue, but the player is dead. The knee-jerk analysis is that there was no way they could stand up to the iPod, which is perhaps true, but I think the bigger issue is that all dedicated music/media players are evolving into smartphones and tablets. With that in mind Microsoft is aiming to be an operating system provider, not a device maker. So they will be hammering on Windows Phone 7 and some tablet variation to battle Android and Apple in the ongoing struggle over pods and pads.

I have two Zunes -- a first gen 30 gig model that is my main music player and a second gen 8 gig that I keep loaded with workout music for runs and the gym. They excel at what I need them for, which is to play music -- not movies, not facebook, not Twitter, not re-orienting myself to the enlightened Tao of Apple. Basically, I want a super convenient Sony Walkman. But once again, it looks like the world is passing me by. And just when I think I've finally caught up to it.

I am also quite possibly the last person on Earth still using a Motorola RAZR for a phone. The lagging edge has served me well. And I'm in no hurry to change. I have a pay-as-you-go plan for voice and text and it literally costs me about $200 a year for what I need. And I feel confident that Microsoft will continue to support existing Zunes as legacy products (they are actually pretty god about that), so I may be OK for some time to come.

Still the inevitable change is, well, inevitable. At some point I will probably have a smartphone and a tablet. Probably about the time they are beginning to go obsolete.