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Microsoft Corp. will reportedly cease development of new Zune personal digital media players (PDMP) models. While the company will continue to sell existing models, new versions of the players are not incoming. Instead, Microsoft wants to concentrate onto integration of Zune services into various other devices, such as mobile phones.

Microsoft will concentrate on putting Zune software onto mobile phones, such as those running its Windows Phone operating system, as well as Xbox 360 game console, said a source of Bloomberg news-agency. The software giant will stop introducing new models of the Zune music and video players and therefore the days left to the Zune hardware player are numbered as they device will not be able to gain new functionality.

“We have nothing to announce about another Zune device - but most recently have introduced Zune HD to Canada via the Zune Originals store and remain committed to supporting our devices in North America. We are thrilled by the consumer excitement for Zune across many new platforms, including Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360. Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms," an official statement by Microsoft reads.

The market of standalone personal digital music players has been shrinking for several years now. A lot of people prefer multimedia smartphones, such as Apple iPhone, or even media tablets, such as iPad. Even Apple, the PDMP market leader, has been reporting declines is sales of its popular iPod players for many quarters now.

Without new models and competition from smartphones, Zune and Zune HD players will quickly become outdated and will lose popularity among end-users, which will eventually catalyze Microsoft to discontinue the devices. Still, Microsoft denies such a plan.

Tags: Microsoft, Zune

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