Microsoft May Finally Nuke The Zune (MSFT)

As everyone who doesn’t work for Microsoft has known for two years, the Zune is doomed. Thankfully, it seems this message may finally have reached Steve Ballmer.

(And, doubly thankfully, he doesn’t seem eager to try to save the product by offering a “Zune Phone.”)

FT: In digital music… Mr Ballmer seemed all but ready to throw in the towel on the Zune mobile device, which has failed to gain ground on Apple’s iPod. But he suggested that the focus of competition in digital media was moving onto ground that Microsoft understands well: software.

He said that, with the market for dedicated portable media players in decline, the future lay in more “general purpose” devices – such as Apple’s iPhone and touch.

Asked if Microsoft would counter with a “Zune Phone”, Mr Ballmer said: “You should not anticipate that.” He added that the company would stick to its strategy of developing software to support a range of mobile devices. That suggests that, if there is a future for Zune, it lies in planting the software and online service linked to the player in other devices.

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