With just a week left until Microsoft’s MIX developer conference Microsoft’ employee Michael Kulcher is now talking publicly about what devices and services will be compatible with it’s forthcoming XNA 4.0 software. True, you could read the entire article but we’ll sum up why you might want to read it closely;

When we first announced XNA was a development platform for the Windows Phone 7 Series last week and followed up with some real-time Twitter Q&A (@WP7Dev), we got a lot of questions about Zune/Zune HD and how that will work with XNA Game Studio 4.0. Development for the Zune and Zune HD will continue to exist in XNA Game Studio 3.1, however, in XNA Game Studio 4.0, we’re encouraging you to migrate your games over to the Windows Phone 7 Series platform.

Yes, you read right. Microsoft will leave the ZuneHD attached to the current version of XNA, but before you read too much into it, read on.

We tested this a lot during development and had games like Hexic and Goo Splat up and running in an hour or so, it’s very easy! Finally, we learned some valuable lessons on launching a development platform. One of those lessons is that you need a way to bring your ideas to consumers at launch. All of us at Microsoft have heard that feedback, and I will say that it doesn’t matter what type of game developer you are, you’ll be able to find the perfect audience on Windows Phone 7 series. I know you’ll have a lot of questions about how this will work so I urge you to stay tuned to MIX ’10 where we’ll be streaming sessions live to the world and ready to answer more of your questions.

Now this is complete speculation on my part but depending on who you are this announcement could be taken a few different ways, so for humor’s sake, (and those in the comments) I’ll entertain both. If our most straight forward reading comprehension can be trusted it seems that Microsoft not including ZuneHD in this new software could mean the death of the Zune player, and any future application and game development, a thought that while entirely possible doesn’t seem to be what they are saying here. Those who are saying because of this, Zune is dead or grasping at straws. By all accounts the ZuneHD is to Windows Phone 7 what the Ford Taurus is to a Mercury Sable; same under pinning’s different logo. With the ZuneHD having been released last fall and with a new player suspected to be in development for a much later release date then XNA 4.0 is expected to have, maybe ZuneHD’s current firmware isn’t compatible with XNA 4.0. This isn’t to say that it may not be supported later on in a fall firmware update or something of the sort. Of course the usual suspects are now linking to this story as further proof that Zune is now only software and services, however I would remind you this: Weren’t these the same people predicting the death of Zune 12 months ago? Yeah that’s what I thought.

Read Michael Kulcher’s post about XNA Gamestudio 4.0 in it’s entirety here.