The Zune brand has died a thousand times, it seems, or at least been close to death. As CNet points out, reasons why the Zune has supposedly been on life support in the past are many (like poor sales), but not always accurate (the platform is thriving). Is there any reason to think things have changed? Paul Thurrott, who runs the Supersite for Windows, says his sources tell him that the Zune brand is on its way out for real this time, and that all Zune products and services will be shoveled into other businesses, like Windows Live. Here's what Microsoft had to say about that.
"We're not 'killing' any of the Zune services/features in any way," a Microsoft rep told ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley. "Microsoft remains committed to providing a great music and video experience from Zune on platforms such as Xbox Live, Windows-based PCs, Zune devices, and Windows Phone 7, as well as integration with Bing and MSN."
Case closed, right? It should be, but CNet isn't entirely convinced, or at least isn't sure that's the right move. Let's look at Exhibit A. During last week's announcement that Microsoft was partnering with Nokia, there wasn't any mention of Zune on future devices. The second piece of evidence is that the Zune hardware hasn't been upgraded since late 2009, almost one and a half years ago. If ever Microsoft planned on rebranding the Zune platform, now might be the time.