Microsoft Zune Outage Caused By Leap Year Glitch

February 29th is a cool date. Whenever it rolls around, it’s kinda satisfying to be experiencing a day that you only get every four years (except on millenia.) But for Zune owners earlier this week, Feb 29th 2008 was a big problem.

On wednesday 30GB Zune owners found their media players crashed, unresponsive and effectively dead from a gadgety perspective. Microsoft itself admits the problem was “widespread.” And then it released a statement saying the glitch was caused by “a bug in the internal clock driver related to the way the device handles a leap year.” Essentially the devices lost track of what the heck day it was supposed to be (traditionally we all feel that way early on January 1st, but for different reasons.)

The solution? Switch the Zune off and wait until the first of January.

Embarrassing glitch from Microsoft–it’s not like leap years are a rare event, or unpredictable. But imagine if it’d been the iPod that had that problem, rather than the slow-selling Zune. The world would’ve been in uproar.