Microsoft's answer to Apple's iPod, the Zune, met an early death just four years after it was launched, adding another casualty to Microsoft's list of hardware flops.

Bloomberg reported that Microsoft will stop introducing new versions of erstwhile device as it shifts its focus to other devices. Microsoft will focus on placing the Zune software on mobile phones running on WP7.

Microsoft laid to rest its social media-centric phone Kin in July 2010 just three months after its launch.

Microsoft released Zune in 2006 and its last major hardware update came in 2009 when it launched Zune HD. However, the existing models will be available for sale.

In 2009 Microsoft divided its Zune team into software and hardware groups. Its Zune software was integrated in its recently launched WP7 OS.

Zune failed to compete with Apple's ecosystem around its iPod device, primarily iTunes. Apple's iPod touch can access almost all the apps in its Apps Store. This allowed the device to transcend the boundaries from merely being qualified as a device for playing music and videos.

Microsoft has been promoting its Zune Media Services, which offers streaming music and downloads service through Zune Pass which is an alternative to Apple's iTunes. 

Also, the iPod touch can be described as an iPhone sans calling capability. Thus when compared on hardware specifications the iPod touch beats Zune HD by miles.

Here is a comparison of Zune HD with iPod touch:

 

Microsoft Zune HD

Apple iPod touch

Display

3.3-inch

3.5-inch

Resolution

480x272

960x640

Memory

16 /32/ 64 GB

8/ 32/64 GB

Audio Playback (battery )

33 hours

40 hours

Video Playback (battery)

8.5 hours

7 hours

Video Playback

720p

720p

Camera

No

Rear-facing and front-facing VGA

Weight

2.6 oz

3.56 oz

Depth

0.35-inch

0.28-inch

Wireless

802.11 b/g

802.11 b/g/n

Price

$169, $199, $349

$229, $299, $399