Microsoft ditches ‘classic’ Zune models

San Francisco (CA) – Microsoft has finally decided to retire its “classic” Zune models, including the 8, 16, 80 and 120. According to Paul Thurrott, the upcoming Zune HD will be the “only” MP3 device type sold by the Redmond-based company.  

“I met with the Zune folks today and one bit of information than I can discuss immediately is that the Zune HD will be the only device type going forward,” Thurrott wrote on SuperSite for Windows. “So if you want a classic Zune device, buy it now, as they’ll only be around while supplies last. The Zune HD goes on sale September 15 in 16 GB and 32 GB variants.”

Sales of the Zune have been remarkably sluggish. To be sure, Microsoft has only managed to sell three million Zunes and capture a two percent market share over a three-year period. In contrast, Club Cupertino – which dominates a respectable 73 percent of the MP3 market – sold 10.2 million iPods between March and June of 2009.

Matt Rosoff, analyst with Directions on Microsoft, told PC World that Microsoft’s decision to drop its classic Zune models signified an attempt to cut “low-end” losses.  

“They still want to be in this business primarily as a way to keep the brand alive, keep the service going and maybe pave the way for the next generation of the Windows phone, which I assume will have similar form factors and have the Zune software integrated into them,” said Rosoff.