Microsoft can't make up its mind on whether Zune hardware is dead or alive -- or at least that's the way it looks after a series of conflicting messages over the last couple days.
A quick recap:
On Monday, WinRumors noticed that Microsoft had removed all references to the Zune HD from its Zune Music Pass website. But that didn't last. The references were quickly restored, and Microsoft Zune team member Michael Yaeger blamed the removal on a "publishing mishap."
On Tuesday, a support article on Microsoft's Zune website confirmed that the company was getting out of the portable media player business, while making it seem like old news. "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," the support page said.
Now, Microsoft is changing its story once again. "We are still supporting the Zune HD hardware," says Microsoft's Zune support feed. "No official info has been released stating hardware is being discontinued." The webpage that said Microsoft is no longer producing Zune players is gone now.
I think several things are being conflated here: development of new Zune devices (probably not happening), manufacturing of existing Zune models (possibly still happening), sales of any existing Zune inventory (definitely still happening) and support for Zune users (also still happening).
In any case, the back-and-forth messages from Microsoft aren't helping users understand what's happening. I get the feeling Microsoft is covering up some news that it's not ready to share. Unfortunately, the mixed messages only make the company's music and movie brand look worse.