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Zune nears Xbox tie-in, "competitive" with iPod

updated 08:45 am EDT, Thu September 11, 2008

Zune and Xbox Union Close

The underlying architecture for the Zune Marketplace and the Xbox 360's Video Marketplace are close enough that integrating the two is only a relatively short step, Zune development chief Joe Belfiore says in an interview published today. The executive tells CNET that the technical layers for both online stores are fundamentally the same and that the primary obstacles are licensing content to be shared across the platforms and adoption rates of two or more necessary devices, both of which Belfiore hints may be resolved soon.

"As more and more people have more than one of those devices, then the cross-device scenarios become more important," he explains. "Undoubtedly it is something you will see us do at some point in the not-too-distant future."

Belfiore also acknowledges the importance of the phone as part of a portable device strategy but is evasive on the subject of whether a Zune phone or a Zune-like Windows Mobile component is in the works. "We don't have any announcements about what we are doing on the phone at this point in time," he says. "We're excited about the progress we've made with Zune and stay tuned."

When asked to compare the third-generation Zune software to Apple's new iPod and iTunes offerings, the Microsoft official is complimentary to the "nice hardware engineering" of iPods but still believes the Zune system is "very competitive" with what Apple offers. The two companies both have recommendation engines for existing and purchasable tracks, but Microsoft's Zune Card sync feature (introduced in the earlier 2.5 software update) and Zune Pass subscription music allow users to collect recommendations from friends or to auto-download tracks, neither of which are currently available through Apple's platform.

By Electronista Staff


  1. BDLatimer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2005



    If "integrating the two is only a relatively short step", then why haven't they done it yet? The XBox 360 has been on the market for 3 years; the Zune, almost 2.

    Don't get me wrong: This sounds like a great idea, being able to tie the two products together in unique ways. But, this statement smells like most of MS's other marketing ploys: Spread as much Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt as possible, in a pathetic attempt to deflect interest in competing products with "Oooh, but look what we (might) do!" attention-attracting double-speak.

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002



    and just wait for windows 7! look at what it will (might) do!

    it's like people who predict the end of the world. comes and goes and they say, hey we made a small miscalculation. here's the real date! and the believers just keep believing. vista? anyone?

  1. wymer100

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2003



    The issue down the road is that the iPod/mp3 player is really a mature product. There's not a lot that can't be added. What's really going to be coming down the pipe is the convergence of the ipod and ipod touch/iphone features. In a couple of years, the ipods will just be smaller versions of the touch. If MS doesn't see that, they'll be going down the path.

  1. robttwo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005



    Do they Have Seinfeld and Gates working on a Zune that looks like a shoe??

    The endless meaningless "announcing" that comes from these b**** is amazing.


  1. DeezNutts

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008


    re: geesh

    They didn't announce anything, the executive was speaking with an interviewer during an interview! Not that I'd expect anyone here to read an article and use their melon before commenting!

    Its business 101 here. Detract from the fact that you don't have a product offering today by talking about what you have in development and whats 'coming next'

    Again not that I'd expect you to grasp anything this simple. Doofus.

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