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Ballmer Hints At Giving Up On Zune At CES

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Recent by comments by Microsoft executives have led to speculation that Microsoft may abandon the Zune.

Microsoft CEO Ballmer declared at CES that consumers increasingly were moving away from one task devices like the Zune towards smart phones while at the same time stating flatly that no Zune phone was in the works.

Zune frozen

My ugly brown Zune
just got uglier.

Microsoft president of the Entertainment and Devices Division Robbie Bach told the press, "We have already started to see some flattening and even declining in the stand-alone MP3 player market. I think you’ll see that continue. As phones get more capable, as battery life gets better, people’s desire to have their music with them along with their phone is certainly going to go up."

Zune has struggled to gain traction against the iPod/iTunes juggarnaut, but just as the full death of DRM has opened up the potential for real competition, will Microsoft really walk away from Zune?  More likely it will concentrate less on music hardware and more on software which has always been the company’s strong point.

As Pauk Davis hinted on Microsoft’s official Zune Insider, "We’ve been saying for some time that our strategy for Zune is to provide a great entertainment experience across multiple screens and devices.  Software and services have always been at the core of this strategy – this is nothing new.  Today, this means a great Zune experience on the PC and portable Zune devices, and as we have said before we think it makes sense to extend that experience to other devices in the future."

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Ballmer Hints At Giving Up On Zune At CES
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