updated 10:20 am EDT, Sat September 6, 2008
MS Zune Service Job Post
Microsoft is finally hoping to unify its Zune Marketplace and services with other devices, the company reveals in a recent job posting for a Software Development Engineer. The firm hopes to develop a new, "unified entertainment service" that would work on not just the company's music player and PCs but also on Windows Mobile devices and the Xbox console lineup as well. At present, Microsoft's storefronts are balkanized and don't allow Xbox Video Marketplace content to be transferred outside of the game system, while protected Zune Marketplace content refuses to play on the Xbox even when the player is directly connected.
The listing makes it clear that the project is just starting and thus that Microsoft doesn't expect to have a unified service for a significant amount of time, suggesting that the company is aiming for an iTunes level of integration between different device types but is significantly delayed versus Apple's services, which rely on a common OS X operating system core for most devices to ensure that they can all recognize the same music and videos.