I’m the kind of person who is somewhat hard on his or her personal digital devices, which is why I bought an extended warranty for my Zune 120 after the original warranty ran out. The extended warranty essentially gave me another year of full protection for my Zune for the cost of about $60. The price was well worth it, as I would end up using the warranty several times due to a few problems with my Zune’s hard drive.
The warranty came up for renewal this past weekend. Two weeks beforehand, I attempted to renew online through the Microsoft Zune management system, but the “Purchase Warranty” coverage button kept sending me to a missing web page. Puzzled, I tried again a week later and was surprised to discover that the button was now missing entirely from my Zune management screen.
I called Microsoft Zune support and spoke with a customer service representative about the problem. He put me on hold and came back to let me know that Microsoft put an end to its extended warranty program for the Zune back in November of 2010. He also told me that I had been notified of this fact, which was not true. I tried to get more information out of him, and after speaking with his superior he told me that Microsoft was in fact ending all warranty support for all editions of the Zune and would only be supporting the Zune software on Windows Phone devices from now on. He finished off by telling me that Microsoft no longer had access to any of the parts required to repair any version of the Zune.
This news is both sad and alarming, for several reasons. The first is that a device that I purchased in November of 2008 was sunsetted by Microsoft only two years later. That’s two years of use before the cessation of any warranty coverage. Second, I paid for a full year of extended warranty coverage yet received only 9 months, with no notification from Microsoft that my plan had been cut short. This is despite the company still finding the time to contact me on an almost bi-weekly basis to send me updates about the Zune marketplace and content available for purchase.
I can only imagine what Zune HD users must think of this repositioning by Microsoft. Without the ability to extend their warranties on their fairly expensive devices, they are essentially being driven to drop the Zune in favor of a competitor’s product or choose to replace their current mobile phone with a Microsoft offering.
Honestly, Microsoft’s attitude regarding its Zune warranties makes me much less likely to upgrade to a Zune HD or to purchase a Windows Phone. If the company can be this cavalier about supporting its products over the long haul, why would I take the chance on investing in anything new produced by the company in terms of hardware?
I hope that my Zune will continue to function without any issues for as long as possible, and that I am able to locate a third-party repair service should it give up the ghost before I am ready to move on to a new MP3 player.