On the eve of Microsoft releasing its new Zune HD platform (the one targeted at competing with the iPod touch), Windows Super-siter, Paul Thurrott is reporting that the still nascent plain vanilla Zune platform (the one targeted at competing with the iPod touch and classic) is being abandoned. (Shades of PlaysForSure?)

Likewise, the Wall Street Journal breaks word that Microsoft's general manager of Zune marketing, Chris Stephenson is also being discontinued, leaving to take a position at Universal's Interscope Geffen A&M Records.

The Zune HD admittedly looks like a more-than-compelling competitor to the 2007 iPod touch (the 2009 model, well have to see), and has bloggers strangely enthused, but it's curious Microsoft is cutting support for previous players at the same time. Though Apple also believes them to be a dwindling market, rumor has it we'll see camera-sporting iPod nano and classic come next Wednesday.

Could this actually be a sign of Microsoft gaining some much-needed focus? And will the logical, and still denied, ZunePhone be next?

(We're still hoping for an XboxPhone instead!)