Microsoft hasn’t given in yet it seems, as they announced their updated Zunes yesterday. They’re available as 4 or 8GB flash and a 80GB hdd version, and these ones are claimed to play more movie formats (like h.264 and MPEG-4) and they actually seem to be capable of using the wifi for things like syncing music etc.
The zune music is also said to go DRM-free… All in all, I’d say they seem to really make an effort to be a serious iPod alternative.
Anyway, there hasn’t of course been any serious dissect of these new Zunes yet but given how their earlier models were made it seems unlikely that they will attract any larger crowds of eager hackers. They also seem to have applied a fair amount of cryptography, another Apple-like approach, so it is hard to put a replacement firmware on it.
The guys in the Zune Linux project have really no clues about what hacking these things require, and their early chatter on deciding what logo to use and what “distro” to base their work on have just been hilarious jokes. I don’t expect this new set of models to change this situation in any significant way.
I’m not aware of any known skilled (Rockbox) hacker having a go at Zune. The old Zune models are however quite similar (but not identical) hardware wise to the Toshiba Gigabeat S models, for which there is a Rockbox port in the works (as I’ve mentioned before).