Press release: Microsoft Zune


We’ve seen plenty of rumours about Mircosoft’s media player in the past months. Others have tried, but none have been able to put a serious dent in Apple‘s dominance in this market. Might Zune be the one true iPod killer?

Microsoft Zune Media Player

Let’s see. From the press release:

Zune includes a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service and a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music. The Zune device features wireless technology, a built-in FM tuner and a bright, 3-inch screen that allows users to not only show off music, pictures and video, but also to customize the experience with personal pictures or themes to truly make the device their own. Zune comes in three colors: black, brown and white.

Okay, so we got a 30GB media player with wireless communication. Oh, and it comes in one attractive color. What else?

Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends between Zune devices. Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days. If you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device and easily purchase it from the Zune Marketplace.

That’s actually a nice feature indeed. I can share my music with others so they can see if they like it enough to buy it (easily from the Zune Marketplace, smart!).

It even comes with an interesting selection of preloaded music, from labels like Astralwerks Records, Ninja Tune and Sub Pop Records.
Furthermore you can get a bunch of accessories for Zune in your car, in your home or while you travel.

All in all it looks like Zune is a nice player that could do well. But then there’s the dreaded DRM.

It’s no surprise that the press release does not mention DRM. Zune’s fact sheet shows you can import audio files in unprotected WMA, MP3 and AAC formats. But Microsoft’s new DRM system also wraps these files in the protection scheme which makes sharing your own music a bit awkward as it only allows you to play it 3 times over 3 days, a serious limitation. Then again, many consumers might just want a media player to play music they purchase in an online store.

I guess time will tell…

  • Zune Insider confirms the DRM issue:

    “I made a song. I own it. How come, when I wirelessly send it to a girl I want to impress, the song has 3 days/3 plays?” Good question. There currently isn’t a way to sniff out what you are sending, so we wrap it all up in DRM. We can