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After launching its Xbox gaming console in 2001, Microsoft entered the hardware business more aggressively with the release of the Zune series of digital media players in 2006. The Zune was a successor of its previous software platform Portable Media Center, which allowed users to play audio and video files on portable devices. The Zune series consisted of various models with different storage capacities and features, such as the Zune 30, which had a 30GB hard drive and a 3 inch screen, and the Zune HD, which had a multi-touch OLED screen and HD radio. The Zune devices also had some special editions with logos of popular video games like Halo 3 and Gears of War. The Zune was part of Microsoft's long history of producing hardware products, which started with its original Microsoft Mouse in 1983. As of 2007, the company was the market leader in selling wired keyboards (Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000), mice (IntelliMouse), and desktop webcams (LifeCam) in the United States. That same year, the company also introduced the Surface "digital table", later renamed PixelSense, which was a touch-sensitive interactive display that could recognize objects placed on it.[54]

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The Zune devices were designed to compete with Apple's iPod, which dominated the portable media player market at the time. The Zune offered some features that the iPod lacked, such as wireless syncing, FM radio, and a subscription-based music service called Zune Pass, which allowed unlimited downloads and streaming from the Zune Marketplace for a monthly fee. The Zune also had a unique social feature called Zune Social, which was an online community where users could share their music tastes and recommendations with other Zune owners.

However, the Zune failed to gain significant market share or popularity among consumers. The Zune was criticized for its bulky design, limited compatibility, lack of apps, and poor marketing. The Zune also faced technical issues, such as the infamous "Zune 30" bug that caused all 30GB models to freeze on December 31, 2008 due to a leap year error. The Zune Marketplace offered a genuine streaming subscription â long before that became the dominant way people consumed music â which never caught on. âPeople liked owning their music back then,â Woods says. âThey didnât like renting it.â In January 2009, Microsoft's quarterly earnings filing with the SEC indicated that Zune sales had fallen $100 million from 2007 to 2008 during the fourth quarter of the calendar year. The Wall Street Journal estimated that sales appear to have dropped from about $185 million during the holiday period in 2007 to just $85 million in 2008.

In October 2011, Microsoft announced that it would discontinue all Zune hardware products, focusing instead on the Zune software and services for Windows Phone and Xbox 360. The Zune software was later rebranded as Xbox Music and Xbox Video in 2012, and then as Groove Music and Microsoft Movies & TV in 2015. The Zune Pass subscription service was also phased out and replaced by Groove Music Pass, which was eventually discontinued in 2017. The Zune Marketplace was shut down in November 2015, leaving users unable to download or stream content from the service.

Despite its commercial failure, the Zune has retained a loyal fan base that continues to use and appreciate the devices. Some fans have created custom firmware and software for the Zune, such as Zunity, which allows users to sync their Zunes with Spotify and other streaming services. Others have collected rare and special edition Zunes, or have modified their devices with new batteries and storage capacities. Some fans have also expressed nostalgia for the Zune's user interface and design, which they consider superior to modern alternatives. As one fan put it: "The Zune was ahead of its time." 0efd9a6b88

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    Ages 0-7 are the most impressional years of life. So how can...

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