Speculation that Microsoft was going to kill off its Zune players has been circulating since earlier this year, and after the Redmond-based company removed any reference to the device from its website yesterday, it seemed certain that the Zune was destined for doom.

The company has now confirmed in a post on its website that the Zune player is no more, and that Windows Phone will be the focus of its mobile strategy. However, if you already have a Zune, you won’t be left out in the cold:

We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players. So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. Your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honor the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our very last devices. Customer service has been, and will remain a top priority for us.

Microsoft seemed to be denying the death of the Zune player back in March — when rumors speculating the death of the device reappeared — releasing a statement to assure fans that the device was part of its long-term strategy. However, it had seemed inevitable for some time that its death wasn’t far away.

Microsoft is now expected to merge the Zune service into its Windows Live brand, and port its Zune HD applications to its Windows Phone operating system.

Are you disappointed that the Zune player is dead, or have you been expecting it for some time?

[via The Next Web]