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Microsoft Zune Logo

Zune is a Microsoft entertainment platform and portable media player. The Zune entertainment software platform and supporting products designed and marketed by Microsoft include Zune Marketplace Software, the Zune Social, Windows 7 Media Center (Podcasts only) and Xbox 360 (TV & Movies). Zune Marketplace Software offers music, TV shows, movies, podcasts, and music videos. The Zune Social is a service integrated with Xbox Live that allows users to manage friends, send messages, and compare music. Each user has a personal Zune Tag, which corresponds with his Xbox Live Gamer Tag if he has one. Zune Social allows two Zunes to send songs wirelessly, but with extensive DRM restrictions.

The Zune software is used to manage the Zune, and runs exclusively on Windows XP and later. It can rip CDs, manage music and can be used to access Zune Marketplace. Purchasing items from it requires Microsoft Points or a Zune Pass. Zune Pass is a subscription music service that allows the user to temporarily download an unlimited number of songs for the length of the Zune Pass subscription, as well as permanently keep up to 10 tracks per month.

Zune's distinguishing features are its FM radio, subscription model, and the Zune Social. FM radio is available on all Zune hardware models, while Zune HD also features HD radio. FM radio features include RBDS, which receives and displays digital information in conventional FM radio broadcasts. Files can be shared wirelessly between Zunes and PCs as well as other Zune devices. Zune's primary competitor is the Apple iPod product line.

History

The first Zune model, the Zune 30, was released in the United States on November 14, 2006, featuring a capacity of 30 gigabytes, FM radio, and a 3 inch screen. The Zune 30 was initially available in black, brown or white. Retail packages contained a pair of basic headphones, a carrying case, USB cord, and a software CD. A Zune was used as one of the main props for the movie 'Another Cinderella Story' starring Selena Gomez.

The Zune 80 was announced on October 2, 2007, along with the smaller Zune 4 and Zune 8 to compete with Apple's iPod nano line. These were to be known as the second generation of Zunes. The Zune 80 featured a 3.2 inch screen, while the Zune 4 and 8 come with an 1.8 inch screen. Both come with a new touchpad-style input device and new software (also available for the updated Zune 30.) Additional file support for H.264 and MPEG-4 formats was also included, whereas the older Zune 30 requires these formats to be transcoded to WMV prior to sync. The ability to sync wirelessly (automatically if connected to a power supply), podcast support, and an upgraded song-sharing licensing are now available on all models. The new software also allows a Zune to communicate with other Zunes to share pictures and songs. A free firmware update added the new software features to the original Zune 30, and was released on November 13, 2007. The Zune 80 came bundled with a USB connection cord and premium headphones. The Zune 4 and 8 come with a USB connection cord and basic headphones.

Development

Zune2generation

The first-generation Zune was created by Microsoft in close cooperation with Toshiba, which took the design of the Gigabeat S and redeveloped it under the name Toshiba 1089 as registered with the FCC starting in 2006. Xbox 360 overseer J Allard ran the project, codenamed "Argo," staffed with Xbox and MSN Music Store developers who worked on "Alexandria", finalized as Zune Marketplace. Both products were later united under the Zune brand name in the U.S. market.

The second-generation Zune 4, 8, and 80 were manufactured by Flextronics. In this generation the touch-sensitive Zune Pad was introduced. The 4 and 8 GB Zunes are flash-based and smaller in size than the 80  GB version. The 30 GB Zune was not redesigned.

The third-generation Zune 16 and 120 came out September 16, 2008, though are commonly referred to as second-generation as the only hardware change was additional capacity, it was not redesigned.

The fourth-generation Zune took a big leap when Zune HD 16 GB and 32 GB capacities were released on September 15, 2009.

Zune 3.0

On September 8, 2008, Microsoft announced the Zune 3.0 update. Included in this update are the abilities to tag and later purchase songs heard on FM radio, channels which can be customized to deliver suggested songs for the user, and the ability to purchase songs from the Zune device via the Zune Marketplace, all available wirelessly. The update also included sample games - Hexic and Texas Hold' em. In addition, support for audiobooks from online stores like Audible.com, and Public libraries that support OverDrive media files such as the Free Library of Philadelphia was added. Other noticeable changes included the introduction of a clock and changed "quicklist" functionality. Zunes feature games developed using XNA with custom soundtracks and 8-player wireless multiplayer using the built-in Wi-Fi. An early version of XNA Game Studio 3.0 released on May 7, 2008 allows developers to work on Zune games.

On November 18, 2008, the Zune 3.1 update was released. Primarily a stability-oriented release, it also introduced Space Battle, Sudoku and Checkers for Zune devices. A new policy announced on November 20, 2008 allows Zune Pass customers to download 10 tracks per month in the protection-free MP3 format (if available) for permanent ownership; otherwise, WMA protected format will be downloaded, in addition to the existing "all you can eat" subscription usage at an unchanged monthly cost.

Zune 4.0

On September 15, 2009, the Zune 4.0 was released, a significant update to the software that supports the Zune HD as well as providing several new features. These 4.0 updates simultaneously released in the Zune hardware, software and online services. Microsoft pointed out that this will bring customers instant access to their favorite music and videos anywhere, across their mobile device, PC and TV. Zune Pass subcribers can now stream tracks through a computer’s web browser. Zune 4.0 also supports internet radio streams similar to those of iTunes but is disabled by default and can only be enabled by a third-party patch. This was the first firmware released for the Zune line which did not provide new features for the older Zune 30 as well as the flash-based Zunes and the 80/120 Zunes as well. These models were given a firmware update with version 3.2.

Models

For the main articles, see Zune 30, Zune 4, 8, 16, Zune 80, 120 and Zune HD.

The Zune 30, the original Zune music player, has a 30 GB hard drive, 3 inch screen, and simple directional pad for menu navigation. The second generation set of Zunes includes the Zune 4, 8, 16, 80 and 120. The Zune 4, 8 and 16 are smaller in size and hold 4, 8 and 16GB of flash memory, respectively. The 80GB Zune, acts as a replacement for the Zune 30, it is thinner and lighter than the original. All second generation Zunes have a Zune Pad instead of the original directional pad that was included on the Zune 30. Microsoft released an upgrade for all Zune models, including the Zune 30, to the second generation software/firmware. On the back of models an inscription reads "Hello From Seattle (Model #) Assembled in China", signifying that Microsoft is based in Seattle and the Zune is assembled in China.

On May 26, 2009 Microsoft announced the Zune HD, the first touch screen Zune. The Zune HD has HD Radio and the ability to display video in High Definition. The screen is multi-touch and uses gestures for the UI. The device comes with 16GB or 32GB of flash memory. The screen is OLED, 3.3 inches, and has a 480x272 16:9 resolution (the Zune 120 is 320x240 4:3, iPod Touch is 480x320 3:2, neither are OLED.) Included is WiFi (with a mobile Internet Explorer browser), and an accelerometer.

Preloaded content

Zunes feature preloaded content in both audio and video formats from various artists like BT, The Thermals, Paul Oakenfold, and CSS, like with Windows Vista and Windows 7. Special editions feature their own unique set of content.

Specifications

Zune 30 Zune 4 Zune 8 Zune 16 Zune 80 Zune 120 Zune HD
Size 6.1 × 11.2 × 1.5 cm 4.1 × 9.1 × 0.8 cm 6.1 × 10.8 × 1.3 cm5.27 × 10.21 × 0.89 cm
Weight 158.8 g 47 g 127.6 g 73.7 g
Screen 7.6 cm (240×320 pixels) 4.6 cm (240×320 pixels) 8.1 cm (240×320 pixels)8.4 cm (480x272 pixels)
Storage 30GB HDD 4GB Flash 8GB Flash 16GB Flash 80GB HDD 120GB HDD 16GB & 32GB Flash
Wi-Fi Zune-to-Zune, sync with computer / wireless network / wireless multiplayer gaming / wireless shopping from Zune devices as of September 16, 2008 (with firmware update) Zune-to-Zune, sync with computer / wireless network / wireless multiplayer gaming / wireless shopping from Zune devices as of September 16, 2008 Sync with computer / wireless network / wireless multiplayer gaming / Access to a Wi-Fi Zune Marketplace / Web browsing
Colors Black (JS8-00001), brown (JS8-00003), white (JS8-00002), hot pink (JS8-00008), pink Black (glossy black in 16GB only), green, red, pink, blue (8GB only in retail, 16GB through Zune Originals) Black, red (previously available only as a Valentine's Day promotion, and later as a customization option for Zune Originals) Black, blue, red (Blue only available from the Zune Store) Black, platinum, red, blue, green, purple, magenta (black 32GB, platinum 16GB, red, blue, green available only from Zune Originals)
Limited Editions Orange (JS8-00007), Brown (Halo 3), Red & Pink with Diamonds (Nylon Magazine), Black (Halo 3, Wisin & Yandel, Adult Swim, Microsoft Interns)Citron 16GB (Zune Employees), Gold 8GB (GOODS), Black 8GB (Allen Iverson), Green 4GB (2008 Democratic National Convention), Red 4GB (2008 Republican National Convention)Gold (GOODS), Black (Joy Division) Black (Gears of War 2)
Navigation Circular Directional Pad Zune Pad Multi-Touch Screen
Released November 2006 November 2007 September 2008 November 2007 September 2008 September 15, 2009
Price (USD at launch) $249.95 $149.99 $199.99 $179.00 $249.99 $249.99 16GB: $219.99
32GB: $289.99
Price (USD recommended today) $199.99 $79.99 $129.99 $179.99 $199.99 $229.99 16GB: $219.99
32GB: $289.99
Battery life (constant audio / constant video) 12 hours audio, 3.5 hours video 24 hours audio, 4 hours video 24 hours audio, 4 hours video 30 hours audio, 4 hours video 33 hours audio, 8.5 hours video

Accessories

The standard Zune comes with basic earphones and a USB data cable. The Zune 30 comes with these items plus a carrying bag, and the Zune 80 model adds upgraded "Zune Premium" headphones. Accessories sold separately include:

  • Charging devices (car adapter, AC wall-socket adapters, external battery)
  • I/O adapters (A/V composite, FM transmitters, headphones, USB data cable)
  • Docks (charging, multimedia large speaker, vertical hands-free assist)
  • Protection (glass screen protection, hardened/cushioning material case protection)
  • Carrying cases (standard issue, armband type, and belt clip)
  • Replacement parts and upgrades (battery, hard drive, LCD, etc.)

Among the firms that make Zune accessories are Microsoft, Altec Lansing, Belkin, Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO), Dual Electronics, Griffin Technology, Harman Kardon, JBL, Integrated Mobile Electronics, Jamo International, Klipsch Audio Technologies, Logitech, Monster Cable Products Inc., Speck, Targus and VAF Research.

Firmware

According to Microsoft, the most current firmware version is 4.3 (191) for the Zune HD, which replaces the original player firmware that ships on the device, 4.0 (356). In the case of the Zune 4, 8, 16, 30, 80, and 120 players the most current player software version is 3.2, which provides compatibility with the 4.0 version.

The current 3.2 firmware contains a bug that often causes the counter to continue indefinitely rather than continue to the next song when playing AAC files.

Zune's operating system is based on the Windows CE kernel for ARM architecture and uses a distribution like the Portable Media Center found on the Gigabeat S. Zune's native file compatible formats are

  • JPEG for images;
  • WMV is supported on all models, and MPEG-4 and H.264 are supported for video on all models except the Zune 30. The MPEG-4 and H.264 formats are automatically transcoded to WMV by the Zune software when syncing to a Zune 30;
  • MP3, AAC (.m4a), Zune Marketplace (restricted and DRM free), WMA Pro (2-channel), WMA Standard, WMA lossless for audio.

The graphical user interface (GUI) (called the "twist interface" by Microsoft) has sections for music, videos, pictures, social, radio, podcasts, marketplace, games and settings. It is said to provide "two-dimensional navigation" for scrolling through items with its directional pad. In the music section, users can add songs to a quick playlist without reconnecting to the desktop software. In the picture section, the background can be customized using any image stored on the device (for viewing) as wallpaper. In the radio section, users can receive and play FM radio internally, with North American, Japanese, and European tuning ranges and show song information on supported FM stations. In the social section, users can broadcast user profile and current activity to others nearby. In the setting section, users can control backlight settings and output analog TV in with purchase of a separate connection.

The first updates to the firmware added sharing features (send, community, list nearby Zune users) as described in FCC filings.   Firmware 1.1 allowed the device to inherit sharing capabilities described by codename Pyxis. Early firmware releases patched software bugs. About a year later, the much anticipated 2.2 firmware release added support for DVR-MS (Media Center Recorded TV) files, lossless playback, added wireless syncing, and GUI interface improvements.

Zune supports the Windows Media DRM digital rights management system, which is not compatible with other DRM systems and is not part of the PlaysForSure platform or program. Multimedia content is transferred through Media Transfer Protocol (MTP); however, its proprietary MTP extensions ("MTPZ") place an interoperability barrier between the Zune and previous MTP-based software.

Zune software

File:Zune software.png

The Zune software functions as management software for the device, a full media player application with a library, an interface to the Zune Marketplace, and as a media streaming server using Zune Network Sharing Service.

The Zune device was designed to only work with the Zune software. The software synchronizes all content (music, videos, pictures, social, podcasts, and games) to the device doing any necessary transcoding for a file to play on the device.

As a media player, the Zune software supports the following formats — for audio: MP3 (.mp3), AAC (Low complexity) (.aac, .mp4, .m4a, .m4b, .mov), WMA (.wma); for video: MPEG4 (in .mp4, .m4v and .mov containers), H.264 (in .mp4, .m4v and .mov containers), WMV (.wmv), ASF (.asf); and for still images: JPEG (.jpg). It organizes the media in its library and allows users to add to the library by ripping from CDs and to organize the metadata. It can automatically pull down album art and metadata tag data for content in the library.

On the PC, the Zune Network Sharing Service streams files to other PCs, the Xbox 360, and other compatible devices. There is also an inbox feature in the desktop client software as well on the device, which keeps track of songs swapped with other Zune users. On the desktop client, the inbox also serves as a message center for Zune Social.

The Xbox Live Video Marketplace was replaced by Zune Video Marketplace in late fall of 2009, allowing purchased content to be used on Zune players and the Xbox 360.

History

The 1.0 versions of the Zune software were a modified version of Windows Media Player 11 while versions since 2.0 are built independently with additional DirectShow decoders for AAC, MPEG-4 and H.264. The current version of the software is 4.0.740.0 released on September 15, 2009. Several versions of the software have been released.

Firmware
version
Software
version
Date Software and firmware changes
1.0 1.0.5341.0
-
Zune 30 device original default
1.1  ? 2006-11-14 Added menu item “community” allowing to search for nearby Zunes, see their status, and transfer music and pictures. Improved performance.
1.2 1.2.5511.0 2006-12-19 Fixed compatibility with Windows Vista and improved browsing performance.
1.3 1.3.5728.0 2007-03-28 Prevents FM tuner from draining the battery while the device is sleeping. Fixed Zune Marketplace music to not skip on the device. Improved device detection and syncing.
1.4  ? 2007-05-31 Improved shuffling. The dev team states: “this firmware update makes successive shuffle actions produce more random lists.”
2.0  ? 2007-11-13 Complete re-write of the software and firmware. Inclusion of "Social" features in both. Original device software version that is installed for the Zune 4GB, Zune 8GB, and the Zune 80GB.
2.1  ?  ? Enhances device functionality and performance.
2.2 2.1.888.0 2007-11-13 Improved performance and added several new features, including wireless sync and podcast support. New user interface on both the Zune device and the Zune software.
2.3 2.1.888.2 2007-12-18 Resolves an issue in which the battery of the Zune 80 and upgraded Zune 30 would discharge prematurely due to difficulty entering sleep. Also includes improved device recognition and improved stability and reliability on sync (both wirelessly and while connected to a PC). It has also been noted that the new firmware features the option to unsubscribe from a podcast right on the device. This can be activated by bringing up the menu during a podcast play and selecting “unsubscribe”. This feature was originally slated to be part of the original consumer release of the 2.x firmware (several reviewers described having this option), but it was removed.
2.4 2.3.1338.0 2008-01-22 Resolves a number of issues including problems with marketplace, podcasts, sync, Xbox streaming, and library problems.
2.5 2.5.447.0 2008-05-06 TV show downloads now available from Marketplace. Also adds new features such as gapless playback, smart playlists, new sorting options, multiple device syncing, and support for XNA (Xbox game developers will be able to load custom code using the XNA platform). Zune Social is better integrated, and users with Windows Live Messenger can display which song is being played to people in their buddy list. Video podcasts can be shared wirelessly between Zunes, allowing the receiving Zune owner to subscribe to a podcast on-the-go.[1]
3.0 3.0.532.0 2008-09-16 Buy from FM allows songs played from FM radio stations to be purchased from the Marketplace (using RDBS data). Wireless hotspot access added for automatically updating the user's collection, browsing the Marketplace, refreshing Channels, exchanging favorites with friends, or buying songs tagged from the device's FM radio. Zune Channels, custom programming stations that deliver personalized playlists to Zune from a variety of sources the user selects (such as music experts, celebrities, or top radio stations), is added. A clock, screen lock feature, and free games (Texas Hold'em and Hexic) are added. The "quick list" has been replaced with a "now playing" list, which functions differently from the previous "quick list".
3.13.1.620.02008-11-18 Checkers, Sudoku, and Space Battle are added to games. A new multiplayer mode and single-player difficulty levels are added to Texas Hold'em. Visual changes have been made to Zune Social, making it easier to navigate. Like-Minded Listeners feature added to social, allowing users to compare their music tastes to others. Improved play count reporting, content synchronization, and other bug fixes in both the hardware and software.
3.20 (34), (35)4.0.740.02009-09-15 Bug fixes, faster operation (Latest for all but Zune HD)
4.0 (356)4.0.740.02009-09-15 Zune HD original firmware
4.1 (137)4.0.740.02009-09-19 Bug fixes (Zune HD only)
4.3 (191)4.0.740.02009-11-05 Bug fixes (Zune HD only), new artists view links, mobile or PC view settings in browser as well as auto-correction, auto-capitalization and privacy links, seek to radio presets, and new and updated apps.

Zune 30 leap year bug

At approximately midnight Pacific Standard Time, on the morning of December 31, 2008, many first generation Zune 30 models were reported to have automatically rebooted and frozen during the boot process. Microsoft has stated that the problem is with the internal clock driver written by Freescale and the way the device handles a leap year; with an intermediate official "fix" to drain the device battery and then recharge after 12 noon GMT on January 1, 2009. Specifically, a third party analysis of the clock driver's source code revealed an infinite loop in the way the clock driver calculates years based on a given number of elapsed days. Zadegan, Bryant (2009-01-03). "A lesson on infinite loops". AeroXperience. http://winjade.net/2009/01/lesson-on-infinite-loops/. Retrieved 2009-01-05.  </ref>

Zune Marketplace

The Zune Marketplace is an online music, video and podcast store that integrates with Zune software and Xbox 360. Initially offering two million songs it has grown to include more than 6 million tracks, with 90% being DRM free. In addition, Zune Marketplace has podcasts, TV shows, music videos, and movies. Music on Zune Marketplace is provided by the big four music groups (EMI, Warner Music Group, Sony BMG and Universal Music Group) and smaller music labels. Like other technology companies in the music business, the Zune team at Microsoft has a team of music, TV, film and podcast experts responsible for the Zune Marketplace editorial content and programming.

Music

Music is offered in DRM-restricted WMA format (2-pass CBR at 192kbit/s) or non-DRM MP3 format (up to 320kbit/s) for a per-song or per-album fee, or via Zune Pass monthly/quarterly subscriptions.

Songs downloaded from the Zune Marketplace are restricted by DRM similar to yet slightly different from PlaysForSure, meaning that songs purchased from PlaysForSure partners could not be playable in Zune Software or on the Zune device, although the reverse is true. Several entities have criticized the Zune for not playing PlaysForSure content, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Internally, Zune DRM is referred to as "9.1", differentiating itself from PlaysForSure DRM, which is version "9". While removal of PlaysForSure DRM has been facilitated with several tools, none would remove Zune DRM until July 14, 2007 when one of the tools ("FairUse4WM" [Windows Media]) was updated to support removal of the Zune DRM wrapper. As of September 6, 2007, an update from Microsoft has broken FairUse4WM once again, with the effect that anyone with the updated license cannot remove the DRM. Updating the Zune software to the most recent version (3.1 as of November 2008) will not affect previously functioning DRM components.

Purchases are made through a system called Microsoft Points, in which users prepay US$5 for a block of 400 points that can be applied to downloads at 79 points per song. This works out to US$0.9875 per song, plus whatever remainder is left after a user makes his or her final purchase from the Marketplace. Cost and minimum purchase varies with foreign currency exchange rates and taxes. The points used for the Zune Marketplace are the same points used to buy content from Xbox Live Marketplace, which will soon be replaced by Zune Marketplace. Purchased songs can be burnt as a regular audio CD.

As of June 2009, as an alternative to Microsoft Points, the Zune Pass is a subscription service that allows users to pay a flat monthly fee of US$14.99. Zune Pass subscribers can download unlimited music from the Zune Marketplace. Zune Pass downloads cannot be burnt to audio CD unless purchased, and become unplayable if the subscription lapses, or if in the future Microsoft should decide to discontinue the service. The Zune pass allows for 3 Zunes to share the downloaded DRM content as well as the content to be downloaded on up to 3 computers. Zune Pass subscribers are also able to keep 10 songs per month. This is offered in the form of a 10-song credit each month that doesn't rollover. The songs can be purchased as DRM-free MP3 files, when available.

Zune 3.0 and higher firmware allows the device to access the Zune Marketplace while connected to a wireless access point. To help push this feature, Microsoft partnered with Wayport to allow the Zune access to its network of over 10,000 wireless hotspots, including McDonald's restaurants.

TV and Movies

With the new Zune 4.0 update, the Zune Marketplace now includes movies, in addition to the TV shows, podcasts, and music videos previously available. In late fall 2009, the Zune Video Marketplace will be rolled into the Xbox Live Marketplace to increase parity over the two services. The new Marketplace contains movies and TV shows which are playable across Zune HDs, Xboxs and PCs. It will also offer HD movies, some of which will have 5.1 surround sound, and 1080p instant streaming. The movies can be purchased or rented; Movie Parties will also be available. Zune Marketplace TV shows come from:

Apps

As of Zune 4.0, the Zune Marketplace includes an applications section where apps and games are available for the Zune HD. The store initially launched with 9 apps, all of which were developed by Microsoft and released for free. On November 9, 2009 Microsoft released 6 new apps (5 being games). Vans Sk8: Pool Service is a port of an iPhone/iPod touch app, and is the only Zune game to not enable users to listen to their own music while playing. A collection of basic games are available for non-HD Zune models.

Sales and marketing

Marketing

Microsoft launched several campaigns to jump-start the Zune. The company had a major campaign to promote Zune with "Music the way it wants to be" as a major theme and "Welcome to the social" as an advertisement tagline. Also, the company enlisted about 300 "Zune-masters" to advertise the device on American college campuses, to promote the item, and to run Zune-related events. In exchange, they received free merchandise, including a Zune.

Additionally, Microsoft launched an attempt at viral marketing with its comingzune site, complete with several videos in succession. Along with ZuneInsider, and several other ad hoc events, Microsoft hoped to generate buzz for the product outside of the normal marketing avenues, and market its product as a part of a social construct.

The choice of brand and distribution were part of the Zune as a decision of "two strategies in the market right now: cross-brand ecosystems... and singular brand ecosystems... The former is gaining in share and units sold, but the latter has enormous share and won't give that up easily."

Microsoft normally follows a platform (cross-brand) strategy, as exemplified by the PlaysForSure system. However, its Xbox division has gained some experience with the vertically-integrated strategy in which it controls everything end-to-end from the hardware to the online store. With Apple dominating the audio market with its vertically-integrated iPod system, the Xbox division won permission to try the same approach, separately from PlaysForSure and PlayReady.

Microsoft also wanted to go beyond Apple's efforts and promote the tagline "the social" and wireless sharing as key differentiators. Chris Stephenson, leader of Zune's marketing and manager of Global Marketing for the Entertainment Business, said, "we see a great opportunity to bring together technology and community to allow consumers to explore and discover music together." New York Times Magazine columnist Rob Walker agrees that the Zune's "community and togetherness seem like a reasonable counterpunch to iPod's supposed attraction as an individuality enabler that allows owners to wallow in their own tasteful personal soundtracks." But he also sees the Zune as having gained appeal as an individualistic statement against the omnipresent iPod: "The most salient feature of the Zune seems to be that it's not an iPod".

Microsoft also released a Zune theme for Windows XP that replaced the appearance of the operating system. This theme includes an orange Start button and black taskbar/Start menu.

Zune has also expanded its brand efforts by creating a Millennial-friendly website and campaign focused on emerging artist talent: Zune Arts

MySpace has added the feature to label music players on personal profiles to Zune-themed or a red Zune 8.

Sales

NPD Group
Zune's hard disk unit share
Dec '06 Jan '07 Feb March April May
10.2% 9.9% 8.7% 9.1% 9.2% 11.3%

During its launch week, the original Zune, now Zune 30, was the second-most-sold portable media device with a 9% unit share in the United States; behind the market-leading iPod's 63%. For the first 6 months after launch, NPD Group figures show that the Zune 30 achieved approximately 10% market share in the Hard Drive based MP3 market and 3% in the overall MP3 player market. According to Bloomberg Television 1.2 million Zune 30 players were sold between November 2006 and June 2007,[2] surpassing a milestone.[3] A price drop on Amazon.com during November 2007 temporarily boosted the brown Zune 30 to the top Sales Rank in electronics.

On May 6, 2008, Microsoft announced that it had sold just over 2 million Zunes. Roughly one million of those were sold since the second generation Zunes launched in November 2007.

On May 22, 2008, It was reported that GameStop "has decided to stop selling Microsoft's Zune players at its stores due to what it sees as insufficient demand from customers." A statement issued by Adam Sohn, Zune marketing manager said "We have a set of great partnerships...Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, and others."

In January, 2009 Microsoft's quarterly earnings filing with the SEC indicated that Zune sales had fallen $100 million from 2007 to 2008 during the fourth quarter of the calendar year. The Wall Street Journal estimated that sales appear to have dropped from about $185 million during the holiday period in 2007 to just $85 million in 2008. This may be due to the company's decision not to substantially update the Zune hardware in the fall of 2008.

In September, 2009 "The Zune-HD is listed as 'sold-out' in all major internet outlets, such as Amazon, NewEgg and BestBuy. Amazon is listing a 1-2 month wait for the 16GB model and a 1-3 week wait for the 32GB". as reported.

Availability outside the U.S.

Microsoft released the Zune to Canadian consumers on June 13, 2008, marking the first time it was available outside the U.S.[4] A Microsoft spokesperson said a European launch might not occur until 2009. Microsoft has even made efforts to ban visitors outside the United States from Zune Originals. Users wishing to sign up for a Zune Tag can easily circumvent most problems by signing up for a US-based account.[5]

The Zune 2.0–3.* firmware does not support non-romanized fonts other than Cyrillic. East Asian characters used in Chinese and Japanese, for example, show up on the Zune device as small boxes instead of characters. Microsoft's Zune desktop software has no problem with Unicode. Users have improvised ways to downgrade the firmware on the Zune device to older version that support Asian characters (V1 Zunes can be hacked to display Asian font).

In late fall of 2009 Zune Marketplace will replace Xbox Live Video Marketplace offering streaming and downloading of movies and TV shows. This may also lead to international distribution of the Zune Marketplace on Xbox Live in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Australia, Italy, Spain, and Germany. [1]. At the moment Zune HD is only sold in the US and Puerto Rico. There are currently no plans to bring it to other countries.

See also

[[File:Template:Portal/Images/Default|32x28px|alt=Portal icon]] Microsoft portal

References

External links

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