Former Microsoft exec says Apple killed the Zune before it even launched

By on May 14, 2012 at 12:05 PM.

Former Microsoft exec says Apple killed the Zune before it even launched

Apple iPod Killed Microsoft Zune

A former Microsoft executive in charge of the company’s Zune division has admitted its music players were a mistake, GeekWire reported. “The portable music market is gone and it was already leaving when we started,” Robbie Bach said at an entrepreneurs’ event in Seattle last week. “We just weren’t brave enough,” he said, admitting that Microsoft had been targeting Apple “and there wasn’t a reason for somebody to say, oh, I have to go out and get [Zune] that thing.” Bach regrets that he never pushed the company’s Zune software to Microsoft’s Windows Mobile team to “produce the coolest music service for your phones ever.” The former executive also blamed the Zune’s failure on a music industry that was “hooked” on Apple. “The music industry just didn’t get it,” he said, adding that Microsoft’s Zune marketing message was also very confusing. “I don’t think people walked away saying, this is what Zune is and this is why it’s different. This is why I have to have it. We did some really artsy ads that appealed to a very small segment of the music space, and we didn’t captivate the broad segment of music listeners,” Bach concluded. More →

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Zune Desktop software will no longer be able to access Marketplace

By on April 25, 2012 at 10:30 PM.

Zune Desktop software will no longer be able to access Marketplace

Microsoft on Tuesday announced on its Windows Phone Blog two changes regarding its Windows Phone Marketplace that will “help pave the way for new store features and new apps in the months ahead.” The Redmond-based company will be removing the option to shop for Windows Phone apps from the Zune Desktop software and will now require handsets to be running Windows Phone 7.5 to buy and download new apps, or update existing ones. The Zune Music Marketplace will remain open, and the software will be used to back up music and photos, and to install updates on the Zune HD. More →

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Microsoft reportedly readying cross-platform streaming music service

By on April 25, 2012 at 11:00 AM.

Microsoft reportedly readying cross-platform streaming music service

Microsoft is reportedly preparing to unveil a new streaming music service at the annual E3 conference later this year. Citing unnamed sources, The Verge reports that the new streaming service will work across several platforms including Xbox, Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS and Android, accessible through a native app or a web browser. Code-named “Woodstock,” the service is reportedly comparable to Spotify, potentially allowing users to stream unlimited music. The service will also seemingly feature deep Facebook integration and a “scan and match” cloud locker feature similar to iTunes Match. According to The Verge, the service will be part of a larger effort to shift away from Microsoft’s Zune brand. More →

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Microsoft to dump Zune and Windows Live brands in Windows 8

By on February 24, 2012 at 3:40 PM.

Microsoft to dump Zune and Windows Live brands in Windows 8

Microsoft will be killing off two well-known brands with the upcoming Consumer Preview release of Windows 8, according to The Verge. The software giant has removed Windows Live applications and has replaced the software with its Windows Communications suite. Windows 8 will remove the “Live” name from its mail, calendar and photos applications as well, with “Live Contacts” simply being renamed “People.” Microsoft Account will replace Windows Live ID as well, and the company will be removing any references to Zune from its Windows Store, music and video applications. Microsoft’s Xbox team will reportedly be creating and managing Metro style video and music applications within the operating system, with “Xbox Live for Windows” becoming the primary entertainment hub for music, video and games in Windows 8.  More →

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Microsoft kills Zune hardware, again, presumably for the last time

By on October 11, 2011 at 1:15 AM.

Microsoft kills Zune hardware, again, presumably for the last time

Microsoft’s Zune player is no more. Again. Last week, Microsoft put up a support page announcing that it would no longer build or sell Zune hardware, choosing to instead focus on Zune software for Windows Phone and other platforms. “We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players,” the company said in a statement on the Zune website. Shortly after the page went live, Microsoft said it was a mistake and pulled the note. Now, the page is live again and Zune devices are dead again — presumably for the last time. Zune player, we hardly knew ye. More →

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Microsoft: Zune is not dead… yet

By on October 6, 2011 at 11:50 PM.

Microsoft: Zune is not dead… yet

Dead or alive? Reports surfaced on Monday suggesting that Microsoft had pulled the plug on its Zune media player, but those were quickly written off as a mistake. On Tuesday, Microsoft did pull the plug and and said in an official death certificate that Windows Phone would be the “focus of [its] video and music strategy moving forward.” However, as of Wednesday, Microsoft’s support team suggests the statements published yesterday were in error as well, and the original statements have since been pulled. “We are still supporting the Zune HD hardware,” Microsoft posted on Twitter. “No official info has been released stating hardware is being discontinued.” Official information was posted, however, and it is likely that this is just a case of one arm not talking to the other. More →

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Microsoft pulls plug on Zune hardware

By on October 4, 2011 at 9:10 AM.

Microsoft pulls plug on Zune hardware

Following a premature 21-gun salute on Monday afternoon when Microsoft accidentally erased the Zune player from its Zune webpage a bit early, the Redmond-based company has now confirmed that the Zune player has been laid to rest. First released just ahead of the holidays in 2006, Microsoft’s Zune player was a clear attempt to divert dollars from Apple’s iPod line and in that respect, it failed somewhat epically. The Zune player is survived by Zune software, however — a multimedia experience that will live on in Windows Phones, on the Xbox 360 and on personal computers around the world. Rest in peace, little buddy. Microsoft’s statement follows below. More →

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Microsoft to drop Zune Music Pass to $10 per month on October 3rd

By on September 30, 2011 at 2:45 AM.

Microsoft to drop Zune Music Pass to $10 per month on October 3rd

Microsoft will lower its Zune Music Pass from $14.99 per month to $9.99 per month beginning on October 3rd alongside the service’s launch in Canada. The service will now be priced in line with Spotify and similar services. Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace is home to 14 million songs and a Zune Music Pass subscription provides unlimited streaming access to the music. Unlike other services, Zune Music Pass allows subscribers to keep 10 songs per month. Microsoft’s move is no doubt an effort to attract customers who might otherwise but attempted to join a number of competing music subscription options including Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody and even Apple’s upcoming iCloud service. Zune Music Pass subscribers can access their playlists and library from any Windows Phone, a PC or from an Xbox 360 console. More →

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Microsoft Zune exec leaves for startup

By on September 8, 2011 at 12:01 AM.

Microsoft Zune exec leaves for startup

Microsoft’s Zune senior business development manager Dave McLauchlan recently said he is leaving the company to create his own startup. McLauchlan announced his resignation to the public on Twitter. “I have some news to share,” he tweeted. “Last week I offered my resignation to [Microsoft] and my last day is [Friday].” McLauchlan will work on a startup called “Buddy.” The website, located at http://Buddy.com, says the company will help developers “build mobile apps cheaper, faster and easier.” McLauchlan also tweeted that he will still be around in the mobile space. Microsoft killed its Zune mobile media player earlier this year, but Microsoft confirmed it will continue to offer music and video services on Xbox LIVE, Windows PCs and Windows Phone devices. More →

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Spotify said to launch in U.S. next week

By on July 8, 2011 at 12:30 PM.

Spotify said to launch in U.S. next week

Popular European streaming music service Spotify could launch in the U.S. as soon as next week, AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka speculates. Spotify announced earlier this week that it would be taking its talents to the U.S., but it gave no indication as to how soon the launch might occur. AllThingsD says the smart money is on a launch next week, and the blog has historically been accurate with its coverage of the Stockholm-based music start-up. Kafka reaffirms that Spotify only has deals inked with three of the four major U.S. record labels, but he says a deal with Warner Music Group is close enough to being signed that it should be completed ahead of a launch next week. Like Microsoft’s Zune service or Rhapsody, Spotify allows users to stream music on demand, create playlists and more. The service uses a freemium model that permits ad-supported content to be streamed to desktop computers for free, and then offers mobile streaming, playlist sharing and sheds the ads for paid subscribers. Spotify has not yet revealed pricing for the U.S. market. More →

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Microsoft creating web-based Windows Phone Marketplace for Mango

By on May 26, 2011 at 1:53 PM.

Microsoft creating web-based Windows Phone Marketplace for Mango

Microsoft’s senior director of the Windows Phone Marketplace, Todd Brix, has announced that Microsoft will launch a new web-based Windows Phone Marketplace for Mango phones. Brix explained that customers will be able to read reviews, view screen shots, and even promote applications on social networks. Purchases can be made with any credit card associated with your Windows Live ID, and you can choose to download the applications over-the-air to your phone. We’ve seen similar interfaces before: Google’s http://market.android.com website already allows Android users to install apps over the air, search for new apps, and more. The Windows Phone Marketplace web store is expected to launch in tandem with Mango, which Microsoft has confirmed will happen this fall. More →

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Amazon’s Trade-In program now accepts electronics

By on May 18, 2011 at 9:00 PM.

Amazon’s Trade-In program now accepts electronics

Moments ago Amazon announced that its Trade-In program will now accept consumer electronics. That means anyone who wants to trade-in consumer electronics, along with other goods, can send a box to Amazon and receive an Amazon gift card in exchange. Amazon originally launched its trade-in program in 2009, and until now it only accepted games, text books, and movies. “We want to give customers the opportunity to get great value from their used electronics,” said Paul Ryder, vice president of electronics at Amazon. “Hundreds of thousands of customers have already received millions of dollars in gift cards from the other products in our program.  The Electronics category is a natural extension and we are delighted to offer our customers more trade-in options.” We gave the service a quick test and noticed that a 16GB black iPhone 4 on AT&T could bring in as much as $314.50. An original 30GB Microsoft Zune? Just $25. Hit the jump for the full release. More →

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Slacker intros ‘Slacker Premium Radio’ for $10 a month

By on May 18, 2011 at 5:59 AM.

Slacker intros ‘Slacker Premium Radio’ for $10 a month

On Tuesday Slacker introduced a new subscription service called “Slacker Premium Radio.” Slacker Premium allows you to search for artists and play songs, or even full albums, on demand. Similar to Rhapsody, you can also cache songs for offline playback on your phone where a 3G or Wi-Fi signal isn’t available. The streaming radio service said that it offers 6 times the amount of music that Pandora offers, although it remains unclear how its library stacks up against Rhapsody or Microsoft’s Zune service. Slacker Premium Radio is available for the web, Android, iOS, and BlackBerry now for $10 per month. More →

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