Zune is an abandoned brand of digital media products and services marketed by Microsoft. Zune included a range of portable media players, digital media player software for Windows PCs, a music subscription service called “Zune Music Pass”, streaming music and video services for the Xbox 360 console via Zune software . movie sales and desktop sync software for Windows Phone. Zune also streamed music for United Airlines after a partnership in 2010. Zune hardware drives were shut down in October 2011. In June 2012, Microsoft announced its intention to end all “Zune” services; Instead, Microsoft would distribute its digital media content and services under the Xbox Music and Xbox Video brands available on its product line, including Windows 8 PCs and tablets, Xbox 360 game console and Windows Phone smartphones. The domain www.zune.net now redirects to the Xbox website, but the software retains the name Zune. The Windows Phone application replaced Zune Software as a desktop sync service for Windows Phone 8, as part of Microsoft’s relinquishment of the Zune brand. However, the Zune software must still be used for Windows Phone 7 desktop synchronization and is still available for download from the Windows Phone website for all Windows Phone 7 devices. In November 2015, Microsoft removed the download service and Zune music streaming. The remaining Zune subscribers will upgrade to Microsoft’s Groove Music platform.

Music and Zune devices were followed by Microsoft’s MSN Music service. MSN Music was created in 2004 to compete with Apple’s iTunes services. After only two years, Microsoft announced the closure of MSN Music in 2006 immediately before announcing the Zune service. In 2008, Microsoft shut down MSN Music license servers only two years after promising users that the servers would be available for five years.

The first-generation Zune device was created by Microsoft in close collaboration with Toshiba, which took the design of Gigabeat S and redeveloped it under the Toshiba 1089 name as registered with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2006. Xbox 360 supervisor J Allard ran the project, code-named “Argo”, featuring Xbox developers and MSN Music Store who worked on “Alexandria”, finalized as Zune Marketplace. Both products were then combined under the Zune brand in the US market. While some features have been praised, the initial Zune has been viewed with derision and jokes for its cumbersome size and brown color, CNET considered it best as an alternative “outsider to the Apple iPod” where other readers Windows Media MP3 from Creative, iRiver and Samsung had failed. At midnight on December 31, 2008, many first-generation Zune 30 models froze. Microsoft said the problem was caused by the internal clock driver written by Freescale and the way the device handles a leap year. It was automatically repaired 24 hours later, but an intermediate “fix” for those who did not want to wait, was to empty the battery of the device and then recharge after 12h GMT January 1, 2009. The devices Zune first-generation and later included a number of social features, including the ability to share songs with other Zune wireless users. Songs that were transferred over Wi-Fi could then be played three times in three days.

The Zune 4, 8 and 80 second-generation devices, manufactured by Flextronics, introduced the Zune tactile pad, which was shaped like a circle. Zune 4 and 8GB devices use flash memory and are smaller than the 80GB version, which uses a hard disk. The 30GB Zune has not been redesigned, although it has received a software update that has put its interface in line with second-generation models. At the same time, the Zune 2.0 software has been released for Windows PCs. This version of the software has been completely rewritten and introduced a new user interface.

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