The Redmond company caused a stir today when journalist Ed Bott pointed out that the company had removed references to the Zune HD music hardware from the official Zune site. A flood of reports followed, some interpreting the removal as the official end of the dedicated Zune hardware lineup as Microsoft shifts its focus to Zune-enabled Windows Phones.
Not quite, apparently. A Microsoft representative says the removal was an “inadvertent publishing issue,” and the page has now been restored.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg News reported that Microsoft would no longer be introducing new versions of the dedicated Zune hardware but would continue to sell existing versions, including the Zune HD, and still offer the Zune music service on other devices, including Windows Phone. Microsoft never confirmed the report, but there have been no signs of any new Zune hardware since then.
Separately, Microsoft has reduced the price of the monthly Zune subscription from $15 to $10, and removed the option for 10 monthly MP3 download credits for new subscribers.
Despite the restoration of the Zune HD product page, references to and images of the Zune HD are still missing from a different part of the site, the Zune Music Pass page, as noted by Tom Warren of WinRumors. Here’s the before-and-after of the image on the page, which we gleaned from the cache stored by Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Before (with our circle around the Zune HD) …
And now, with the Zune HD gone …