The fat lady’s song hasn’t played on the Zune yet: Holiday sales of Microsoft’s (MSFT) MP3 player may have been down 54% year-over-year, but the company is still insisting it’s full steam ahead with the Zune.
Microsoft now says it was the economy, not the player, that killed Zune sales. Via the Seattle P-I’s Joseph Tartakoff:
[Zune marketing boss Adam] Sohn said that much of the drop could simply be attributed to the Zune’s product lineup this season.
“Last holidays we were introducing new devices,” he said. In addition, Sohn said, “There were a ton of 30 gigabyte devices and we got very aggressive with our resale partners trying to get those out of inventory.”
Those 30GB Zune devices Microsoft was pushing so hard at Christmas are the same ones that crashed six days later on New Year’s Eve.
“Every time anything comes up, there is a set of people who pull a Chicken Little and say the ‘Sky is Falling.’ Zune is dead,” he said. “The fact is we are on track to deliver the next generation of Zune innovation in software and hardware.”
“The planning is fast and furious,” he said. “We will deliver progress this calendar year.”
Even if Microsoft meets 2007’s sales figures over the 2009 holidays — something we doubt — we’re not sure if we’d call that “progress.” It will be interesting to see how Microsoft defines “progress this calendar year.”