Zune Originals closes its doors, Zune devices to be sold exclusively in stores

Zune Originals Closure 560x220 Zune Originals closes its doors, Zune devices to be sold exclusively in stores

To the surprise of many people, Zune Originals closed its doors at the beginning of July. The service offered customized Zune devices in a variety of colors engraved with unique artwork, the customer’s Xbox LIVE Avatar, or a few lines of text. Many orders also came with a free AC adapter. Zune Originals, originally launched on November 13, 2007, was one of the services that set Zune apart from the competition.

But all things eventually come to an end. Microsoft never released figures, but sales of the customized devices were likely lower than the Redmond-based software giant had hoped. Many of the customizations were free of charge, but some cost as much as $25. That, combined with the longer wait time and full retail price, made purchasing a stock Zune device from one of Microsoft’s retail partners a cheaper and faster alternative.

The closure of Zune Originals, however, does not mean that the Zune service is on its way out. Zune is an ecosystem, not a device. Dave McLauchlan, the Senior Business Development Manager for Zune, has made it very clear that “this year’s Zune hardware [is] Windows Phone.”

In fact, portable music players on the whole seem to be on the decline. Wired recently published an article questioning if the iPod might be on its deathbed. Sales have fallen in recent years, with analysts predicting a decrease of 7.2% over the last few months. Apple, like Microsoft, might be preparing to move customers over to its smartphone platform.

Zune devices, particularly the Zune HD, will still be available at online and brick-and-mortar retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. In the words of Zune MVP Marques Lyons, “if you have a Zune HD, enjoy it. If you don’t but want one, go grab one.” The closure of Zune Originals is disappointing, but Zune devices are still available wherever fine media players are sold.

On a related note, one of our fellow CrowdGather sites, ZuneBoards, is giving away four framed pieces of Zune Originals artwork. Head on over there for more details.

[ABI Forums]


s1yfox on July 18, 2011 5:52 AM

so many itouch converts moved into the iphone range. i think the more portable, the better. The old school zunes are still up my alley: I love those small 8-16gb zunes <3

Steve W on July 19, 2011 12:00 AM

You may as well change your URL to nothingbutzune.com.

windspear on July 19, 2011 4:16 AM

how am i gonna buy a zune hd now, they just started to sell it for canada but now i can’t get to the originals anymore :(

William Devereux on July 19, 2011 6:22 AM

Have you tried Amazon or a local store?

epithetless on July 19, 2011 3:38 PM

Zune Originals was the only legitimate portal to the Zune HDs in Canada (although even that apparently never worked right). I’m currently seeing a single 32GB HD on Amazon.ca, but as that’s from a Marketplace seller (not an authorized retailer), I’d question your ability to obtain product support and warranty service should you need it…William’s question might as well be “Have you tried the USA?”

riopato on July 21, 2011 8:20 AM

So much for Microsoft’s word about not killing the zune hd. How can I buy a zune hd 64 now?

Geraldo on August 11, 2011 5:35 PM

That’s BS… I’ve owned 3 different Zunes (30GB Black/Blue, 80GB Black, and a 4GB Black) and I still don’t have an HD (Zune HD, that is). I can’t believe the took the site down. I understand why, but they also never really advertized it. Not that many people knew about it. I also don’t see the HDs at my local Walmart and Target stores which also sucks. I just hate that Zune wasn’t as popular as it should have been…

William Devereux on August 16, 2011 11:10 AM

Geraldo, I agree. It’s too bad. It isn’t dead, though. I have a feeling Zune will make a comeback.

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