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MP3 Players

Microsoft kills Zune, then resurrects it

Microsoft pulled its Zune media player from its website, sparking rumours it'd killed it off, only to reinstate it moments later.

Update: Microsoft issued the following statement overnight, confirming that no more Zunes will be produced. "We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players.

"So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. Your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honor the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our last devices. Customer service has been, and will remain a top priority for us."

And just like that, the Zune was no more. Last night self-styled Zune MVP Marques Lyons, a key player in the Zune music-sharing community, tweeted that the player was dead. He said Microsoft had updated to excise all mentions of the actual physical player, while its Zune Music Pass subscription service and desktop Zune software were still prominent.

But click through to the Products section of the site, and the Zune HD is still there. So what happened?

It seems all mentions of the Zune were originally pulled, but have since been reinstated. Microsoft Zune press spokesperson Michael Yaeger tweeted: "Zune HD product page is still live on -- publishing mishap when we pushed out the CA work."

We pressed him to clarify and confirm that the Zune HD was still on sale, but he didn't reply. We'll bring you an update if we get it.

So it seems reports of the Zune's death are greatly exaggerated.

It's not the first time people have spoken of the Zune's demise. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported in March that Microsoft was pulling the plug on the media player, and Microsoft refused to deny it. The Zune stayed on sale though, as it still appears to be, despite yesterday's now-you-see-me-now-you-don't, now-you-do-again.

Launched in 2006, the Zune never made it to these shores, which was always a bit of a hint to us how much faith Microsoft had in the player. It was always going to struggle against the iPod. The software it used went on to inspire the Windows Phone OS though, so us Brits have got some benefit from the player.

Microsoft also changed the terms of service for its Zune music subscription service yesterday, as well as activating it in Canada.

Should Microsoft kill the Zune? Or would you still like to see it in the UK? Let us know on our Facebook page.