Thursday, 14 September 2006 19:40

Zune to sing its tune at noon

By
Microsoft is about unleash its iPod killer Zune on the world today as the clock strikes midday on the US East Coast and the world is waiting for Apple's biggest threat to fill in the gaps of what they don't know.

Unlike Apple's top secret iPod announcements two days ago, much is already known about Zune, having been leaked in bits and pieces in true Microsoft fashion.

What we do know is that Microsoft's manufacturing partner is Japanese electronics giant Toshiba. We also know that Zune will have a 30GB hard drive (looks like Apple trumped them with the 80GB iPod Video), an FM radio, 802.11 wireless networking, USB 2.0 port and last, but definitely not least, a generous 3 inch TFT screen.

We also know that Microsoft has set up Zune as a communal device, designed to encourage owners to share their music wirelessly when they meet in groups.

We have been told that the Zune DRM will not be PlayForSure but will be a closed system with Microsoft's own Windows Media Player 11 compatible music store. We have also been told that PlayForSure music owners may be able to do a one-off transfer from their MP3 players to the Zune platform.

There was some suggestion early in the piece that Microsoft might do the same for iTunes music owners but that appears to be ludicrous given the huge 60 million installed base of iPod owners.

Finally - and this where Apple should worry a little - Microsoft is being realistic. It believes it will take around five years for Zune to make a sizeable impact on the market.

The world is waiting and watching.


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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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