It wasn’t a very Happy New Year for owners of Microsoft’s Zune.
Thousands of the MP3 music players froze on New Year’s Eve around the world because of what Microsoft described as a bug in the device’s internal clock.
The bug only affected the original, 30-gigabyte (GB) version of the music player that was introduced by Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft in 2006 as its answer to Apple’s wildly popular iPod.
Later devices with 80GB and 120GB of memory were not affected.
Microsoft was alerted to the problem when Zune forums and discussion boards lit up overnight with complaints from Zune owners around the world that their devices players had stopped working.
Many of the messages were signed “Victim of the December 31st 2008 Zune 30 Meltdown” and the mass Zune stoppage gave rise to puns such as “Zunesday” and “Z2K,” a reference to the millennium Y2K bug.
Microsoft initially put out a statement saying owners of the 30GB Zune might experience “issues” when booting up the device and asked for patience and apologized for the inconvenience.
Several hours later, another statement on Microsoft’s zune.net explained the problem and said it would essentially self-resolve.
“There is a bug in the internal clock driver causing the 30GB device to improperly handle the last day of a leap year,” Microsoft said.
“The issue should be resolved over the next 24 hours as the time change moves to Jan. 1, 2009,” it said.
“We expect the internal clock on the Zune 30GB devices will automatically reset tomorrow,” it said.
“By tomorrow you should allow the battery to fully run out of power before the unit can restart successfully then simply ensure that your device is recharged, then turn it back on,” it advised users.