Zune launches today


Engadget has (most of) the details, although somehow I don’t think the launch will attract quite as much online attention as this week’s iPod stuff. Still, looks quite nifty with good file format support and a nice screen. Until we know the price, though, it’s hard to say whether it’ll fall into the “want one!” category.

Interesting colours, too. Brown, anyone?


Microsoft’s main emphasis with Zune is on social networking, so the idea is that you’ll be able to beam tracks to your pals for them to check out. They’ll be able to listen three times to those tracks, and when they get home they can – of course – go online to buy the songs. It’s not clear yet whether that sharing applies to all your MP3s or just your purchased ones; if it’s the latter, it’s considerably less interesting.

The thought that immediately springs to mind is that Zune exists to sell music. That’s very different from Apple, whose iTunes basically exists to sell iPods (the figures of paid downloads per iPod are still tiny – 20ish per player. Most music is ripped, with illegal downloads coming second and legal music a good bit behind).

Update, 15th Sept.

Still no news of pricing – Microsoft says “competitive” – or battery life (still testing that, apparently), but it seems the sharing feature applies to all your music. Unfortunately that means unprotected files you share will be DRMed before they land on someone else’s Zune.

Interestingly, Zune Marketplace will use Microsoft Points, the currency currently used on Xbox Live. Points will be interchangeable between Xbox and Zune.






0 responses to “Zune launches today”

  1. I imagine it won’t be long before the sharing DRM is cracked though. Will this mean endless patches every time you sync your Zune?

  2. How long before “Sync Your Zune” is a top-ten hit?

  3. A long time. Although this was supposedly a “launch”, there is in fact no pricing, no indication of availability, and some indication that Microsoft are still working on some essential features, such as how to let Zunes find each other without destroying the battery life. In other words, it’s somewhat less of a “launch” than the “launch” of iTV, which had both pricing and availability dates, but of course was specifically not labelled a “launch”. The only area where Zune appears to be ahead of iTV is in having its final name.

  4. Gary

    Carlton, it looks as if the sharing thing is on the device itself rather than the tracks – although the way MS is drip-feeding information via blogs, it’s hard to get an accurate picture. It seems that the three-day limit only applies to a track when it’s on your Zune, not on your PC. Although surely they’d prevent you copying a shared track from Zune to PC? Dunno… it’s not the most open “launch” ever.

    Stephen, you’re right in the iTV comparison. I wish companies would actually launch things properly…