First: if you haven't turned on your Zune today… Don't! Now read on.
Leap years happen only once every four years, and many Zune owners this morning I bet are wishing it was a bit more rare than that.
Around zero dark hundred (midnight) today owners of the 1st Gen. 30 gb Zune started experiencing problems (dubbed Z2K9) with their player of choice. Many were playing just fine, and froze, others turned theirs on to have it freeze or restarted it… different actions culminating in the same result; essentially a brick. Check out this thread at Zune Boards, with 34 pages and counting of posts by folks who have this very problem – and that's just one place the same scene is playing across the intarwebs; Zune Scene, Zune.net, and even the post at Gizmodo has 136 comments st the time of this post.
The most popular line of thought is that it's a firmware bug that craps out since this is a leap year, which I guess makes sense. This begs the question, why haven't the other models failed? And if they new about it (and fixed it in later models) why didn't Microsoft updtae the firmware to avoid this? Maybe they didn't know? Who knows, what I do know is that flat out sucks and isn't good for the company that everyone already loves to hate.
Some folks also have claimed success by cracking the case of their device, pulling the battery and reconnecting it – a hard reset…. I would highly recommend folks not do this unless they are out of warranty, or your Zune most truly could become a brick as I am sure this voids the warranty. For anyone wanting to go this route, here is a guide from Rapid Repair on how to replace the battery in your Zune.
Good luck, and God Speed.