With the release of the Zune HD, Microsoft will hopefully finally get a real stand in the MP3 player market with a device made to fit the times. The older Zune models; both first- and second generation hard drive based models and the flash based players never really made that big of a dent in Apple’s market share, and it’s no surprise to see Microsoft now deciding to drop all the older models and go forward with just the HD in it’s lineup.
The information that Microsoft will do this move comes from a Windows blogger who met up with Microsoft to discuss various things. Among secret information he couldn’t share, the one piece of info he didn’t have to keep a lid on was this discontinuation.
Seeing how the market looks today, it’s probably the right move by Microsoft. Hard drive based players are simply not worth producing anymore due to the major drawbacks of the technology (especially in something as portable as an MP3 player) and the fact the vast majority of consumers won’t need as much storage space. Flash memory is also catching up to it in terms of capacities. With the MSRP of the Zune HD being as low as it is (only $30 higher than the MSRP of the 16GB Zune) even the flash based Zunes are becoming pointless since they would have to be ridiculously cheap to be worth it dropping all the goodies in the Zune HD.
No information is available as to when the discontinuation will be official and put in motion, but the Zune HD is only two weeks away so it’s probably not long.