The Zune is dead. Long live Zune.

Microsoft has announced the discontinuation of Zune devices, and at first blush, the news sounds gloomy, as reflected in this Mashable headline: “RIP Zune Player, 2006-2011.” But look beyond the headline, and the news is not as bad as it seems. Yes, Microsoft is throwing in the towel with the Zune device — but the company will embed Zune features into Microsoft Windows Phone 7 and Zune desktop software for Windows. Zune as a device? Dead. But Zune as a brand? Very much alive thanks to Microsoft’s decision to develop content where its customers are.