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Microsoft Exec Slams Report of Zune Death

Microsoft has not issued any information on the purported demise of the hardware version of the Zune music player, according to a blog post attributed to Dave McLauchlan, a Microsoft program manager.

An article by Bloomberg published on Monday said that Microsoft would stop releasing new Zune hardware models, but it cited an unnamed source for that information. McLauchlan, who says that he manages Zune hardware business development, affirmed that he still has that job. He implied that the Bloomberg story should be viewed with skepticism, without debunking the story's claims.

"To be 100 percent clear -- NO information about our future plans, no matter what the incarnation, has been shared," McLauchlan purportedly wrote.

The last new device, the Zune HD, was delivered to stores on Sept. 15, 2009, according to a Microsoft press announcement. Near that same time, Microsoft announced that Zune software would be available for PCs, Xbox Live and Windows Phone 7 devices. The Bloomberg article claims that Microsoft has its Zune teams split into hardware and software groups, with the split occurring sometime in 2009.

McLauchlan implied that Microsoft considers Windows phones to be a hardware release of the Zune.

"We were completely frank about this year's Zune hardware being the WP7 phones, and we continue to both sell and fully support the Zune HD line of products," the blog states. "And as I've promised -- we continue to bring new apps and games to the platform. More of those are in the works, I promise you."

Microsoft's press support did not respond to an inquiry sent on Tuesday about Zune hardware plans. However, it did release a statement to Bloomberg stating that it had nothing to announce about another Zune device and that "our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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