LAGGING THE MARKET, Microsoft has finally decided to give the Zune a passport and let it out of the US.
Although the novelty of music players has long since died, Microsoft has announced that it will bring the Zune service to Britain and a few other select European nations. The move is set to support the integration of the Zune into the firm's upcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system.
Zune now represents the Vole's attempt at serving up music to those who run its Windows operating system and an Xbox 360 or a soon to be released smartphone running Windows Phone 7. Apparently the software has been upgraded in readiness for its European debut and will act as a "synchronisation client" between Windows Phone 7 devices and Windows PCs, which some might say is a lot like Apple's Itunes software.
Microsoft is also set to open up its Zune Marketplace, though that's no surprise as both Google's Android and Apple's IOS come bundled with similar services that allow users to buy music. The Vole is also offering its all you can eat Zune Pass service to Brits in what seems to be a concerted bid to actually make the Zune a success.
It's been a wonder that Microsoft never released its Zune music players outside of the US. While the first version was something of a turkey, the second and third generation units were pretty good. Now that it seems the Vole has given up any delusions about producing hardware, it looks like it is finally making a serious bid to compete, though this might be too little, too late.
The Vole is saying that the various Zune branded services will be available sometime this Autumn. They might be followed closely with the appearance of Windows Phone 7 devices. µ
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