The Zune, despite plenty of qualities, never really made it. Like most of Microsoft's efforts for the past decade, it was a me-too device, a response to a market driven by others, much like Bing and even Windows Phone.
But the Zune did give rise to the Metro UI look that now dominates the company's mobile, desktop and even online products, with the recent launch of Outlook.com, the redesigned Skydrive site and so on.
Still, that doesn't change the fact that Zune is essentially dead and that Microsoft is squeezing the air out of whatever life it had left. With Xbox the premiere "entertainment" brand at Microsoft, services that used to carry the Zune brand are being discontinued.
Microsoft announced its remaining Zune Pass users that some features are being disabled tomorrow, in preparation for the Xbox Music launch
, later this year.
Mixview playback and channel playlists are among the features being removed. Also gone will be the ability to buy or stream music video with the Zune desktop app.
Re-downloading or re-licensing music videos you already bought if you upgrade your PC will no longer be possible.
That sounds like a rather nasty move by Microsoft and an example of why you don't really own anything with DRM that you buy. But very few people probably bought music videos because, well, YouTube, so this is not going to affect that many users.
Social features are all getting killed as well, users will no longer be able to send and receive messages, invite friends, or share music, playlists or albums. Those still sporting a Zune device won't be glad to hear that apps for the Zune HD are also on the chopping block.
Microsoft emphasizes that users will still be able to buy and stream music with Zune Music Pass and any songs they have already bought will stay put.