Microsoft must have been working all hours to get this package together. It’s not just another update on their Zune mp3 player, this is an entirely new approach to music based on what consumers really want: convenience and the ability to share.
As well as developing an iTunes store-like interface on which Zune users can purchase music downloads, this is integrated into a social network based on sharing music tastes and experiences.
The sharing goes beyond swapping top ten lists. The new Zune, which will be released some time this autumn, has a feature called ‘Extended wireless sharing’.
Essentially, you can share your music collection and photos wirelessly with other Zune users, and they can play the songs you give them up to three times before they expire.
“The time is right to let go of the older business models and recognize that consumers want something different when it comes to music today,” said Terry McBride, CEO of Nettwerk Music Group.
The two new Zune models feature the new Zune Pad: a touch-sensitive navigation pad, as well as a wireless syncing ability.
“By tapping into customers’ passion for music with Zune Social, we’re starting to change the game,” said Microsoft corporate vice-president J Allard.
“This lets us start building a new, more valuable kind of relationship with consumers that, combined with other Zune innovations, will start to drive the entire music industry forward.”
As well as the Zune 4GB (US$149.99); and Zune 8GB (US$199.99) flash models, Microsoft will also be releasing an 80GB model with a 3.2 inch screen at US$249.99.
By Marie Boran