Alas poor Zune, you are dead. Microsoft has stretched out the end of Zune over such a long time that I feel that we have called it RIP for years. Here’s what I consider the last domino: By November 22, Zune’s Marketplace will stop selling and renting content, and won’t allow users to browse TV content.
This means that the only remnants of Zune will be the hardware that is still in the market and the Zune desktop software. I presume that you can keep using both with music that you outright own, and I have asked Microsoft to confirm the fact.
If you have leftover Microsoft Points (yuck), you can convert those to local currency, and spend them in the Xbox Video and Music stores.
I bought the first generation device the day it came out, if I recall properly, and this is all a bit sad. Microsoft did some really neat things with its music project, and in the end made one of the best pieces of MP3 hardware, the Zune HD. In its heyday, the Zune music software was, and remains, the best piece of tune-playing software released in my view. Darn you, current Spotify edition.
Ultimately, Zune was caught trying to catch up to Apple’s iPod line at a time when Apple was hitting its stride with the iPhone, a device that would break the back of the standalone music player market. And then streaming services such as Spotify caught on, ending the potential for the Zune Pass, with its rental downloads and “keep” option, to become even a modest hit.
It was all too late, but still quite nice in its bright autumnal senescence. Zune is over. On we move.