“Looking back, Zune played a large role in making me the Microsoft geek I am today. When Microsoft first announced the service and devices, it sounded like a fantastic alternative to the iPod – and it was. The Zune Music Pass, in particular, was an excellent alternative to something like Rhapsody, which I’d subscribed to before Zune hit the market. I got my hands on a black Zune 30 as soon as I could, and the rest is history. I upgraded with every new device iteration, and when Zune made the jump to Windows Phone I was right there along with it. It was my go-to device for media, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

With Microsoft preparing to release Xbox Music this fall, the Zune branding has slowly begun to fade away. The removal of the Social was probably the most painful, since it was one of Zune’s biggest selling points in the early days of the service. While I didn’t like sharing my own play history, I always enjoyed being able to discover new music through what my friends were listening to.

The Zune Social is no more and the devices aren’t available in stores, but the DNA of the service itself is still alive and well. Sure, the branding will change to Xbox Music, but it’s still Zune at its core, backed by the same team that launched the product back in 2006. More importantly, Zune helped pave the way for the “Metro” interface now found throughout Microsoft, from Windows Phone and Windows 8 to Xbox and Office.

We still don’t know much about Xbox Music, but I have high hopes for the service. I will, however, miss the Zune branding, devices, and Social. They were great aspects of a fantastic service, and they’ll be sorely missed. Thank you, Zune, for the last six years.”

William Devereux

Contributing editor AnythingButiPod + Microsoft Zune MVP