Current-generation Zunes going bye-bye

Microsoft will discontinue the current Zunes, ceding the low end of the MP3 player market to SanDisk and other players.

As first reported by Paul Thurott of SuperSite for Windows, Microsoft is discontinuing the current generation of Zunes.

So long, Zune 8, we hardly knew you. Microsoft

Leaving aside all the easy insults--yes, we all know Microsoft never sold many of the things--and the possibility that your candy-apple red Zune 80 may someday be a collector's item, this means Microsoft has basically ceded the low end of the MP3 player market.

While the current Zunes start at $80, the Zune HD, which becomes available on September 15, will run you at least $220. This is great news for competitors such as SanDisk, whose Sansa Clip+ suddenly looks like the best deal around for folks on limited budgets.

On the other end, eliminating the 80GB and 120GB models means that folks with huge digital collections and no interest in touch screens will probably just stick with the iPod Classic, which is pretty much what was happening anyway.

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