Microsoft Abandons Podcasts

It is time to say goodbye to the Zune. Microsoft has recently announced that it is switching over to Xbox Music. The emphasis is clearly focused on music, and it looks like there will be a way to stream music videos through Xbox Music as well. What about podcasts?

A quick search of the Xbox Music website shows that it will not support podcasts. Type the word “podcast” into the search, and you get: “There are no results for this category”, all across the board. Where are the podcasts? The Xbox Music website doesn’t appear to recognize the word.

There are plenty of articles where Microsoft is reassuring Zune users that they will still have access to the songs on the playlists that they created using “the old system” after the switch is made to Xbox Music. Not one word has been said about the podcasts that Zune users have made into playlists.

I know that podcasting is generally seen as a media that you listen to once, and then delete. However, plenty of people do save an episode or two that they found to be especially interesting, or that they made a guest appearance on. It looks like Zune users can say goodbye to whatever podcasts they have saved, or put into playlists, when Xbox Music goes live.

As someone who has been podcasting since 2005, I am disturbed by the implications that Xbox Music is not going to be something that people can use to download or listen to podcasts. I am currently involved in four separate podcasts. I have concerns that I, and all the other podcasters out there, will lose listeners because the listeners are about to lose their access to the podcasts that they listen to through a Microsoft device.

Until I hear facts that say otherwise, I am going to believe that Xbox Music is not going to be something that people can listen to podcasts on. You won’t be able to download the newest episode of your favorite podcast, and you won’t be able to use Xbox Music to search for more podcasts to listen to.

Microsoft isn’t just killing off the Zune, it is abandoning podcasts. It is cutting away an entire category of entertainment from what Xbox Music will offer users. Microsoft is making the choice to exclude podcasts from Xbox Music without asking consumers if they wanted to continue listening to podcasts. Microsoft is attempting to quietly abandon all podcasts, and podcasters, without making that known to the general public. Perhaps they realize that excluding podcasts from Xbox Music is a big mistake.

2 thoughts on “Microsoft Abandons Podcasts

  1. The question then needs to be asked. Where in xBox is Podcasting going to be supported. Or is Microsoft going to continue to allow Apple to clean it’s clock in podcasting support.

    It is readily apparent that the leadership at xBox have essentially put up two middle fingers to 10’s of thousands of media creators.

    I am sure it is all about the money. Sadly Microsoft does not see the added value in adding Podcasting support. for the millions of people that consume podcast today.

  2. The Zune Podcasts Marketplace is very much alive today and will continue to be on Windows Phone. Microsoft is not walking away from podcast support, but is going through a brand change over for all the Xbox supported services. Rest assured Podcast support will continue, but not as part of Xbox Music.

    Rob Greenlee
    Business Manager, Podcasts Marketplace at Microsoft.

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