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At least as far as Microsoft hardware goes

Microsoft surrenders iPod Zune battle says report

Microsoft has reportedly slammed the brakes on new Zune media player models following weak demand for the iPod competitor.

Citing a source ‘familiar with the decision, a Bloomberg report said that the company has made a decision to shift focus to other devices.

The software giant will instead set to rolling out Zune software to mobile phones including those running Windows Phone. The Zune service, much like Apple’s iTunes service, sells music and video as well as offering a music streaming subscription service.

Microsoft declined to comment on the Bloomberg report but tellingly drew attention to Zune arriving on "many new platforms including Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360."

"Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms," the company said in an email to Bloomberg.

Microsoft has not, however, launched a substantially updated media player since the two-year-old Zune HD so it seems likely the company may have decided some time ago.

The decision paves the way for the firm to keep the focus on expanding the Zune content service while retiring from a head on battle with the Apple iPod. A battle which has more often than not invited unflattering comparisons with the iconic Apple portable.

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