Zune's international expansion unveiled
8/14/2009 by: Theo Valich
When we ran a story about the Zune HD, feedback received implied that Microsoft is targeting US-only with this device. We decided to ping our Microsoft moles and get some answers about the future of the Zune HD outside of North America.
First of all, the Microsoft Zune HD is a member of the Zune family of products, and as such follows the Zune Experience wherever that experience is available. Originally, Microsoft wanted to tie-in Zune subscription and everything as a separate licensing platform, but this changed a while ago.
Microsoft decided to evolve "Xbox Live" and "Live Arcade" into a "Live Experience", spanning across PC, console, multimedia player and mobile phone. In order to do this, Microsoft is currently developing unified platform that will automatically detect different devices and tie everything up to your Live account, e.g. your e-mail address. That means unifying PC, Xbox and cellphone, if it is Microsoft powered. We only wonder how much time it will take for this video, music, games, and many others platform to actually come to life. BTW, our sources referred to this platform as Connected Entertainment.
Microsoft is trying out to sell Zune outside USA in limited sales programs among users that don't belong in the mainstream category. Some of the members inside these limited programs actually have access to the features of users living in the Northern America.
According to the people in the know, the Zune experience is being built around Xbox Live and that will stay for foreseeable future. We did not get the exact timeline when the new platform will expand to other nations, but Microsoft is working on getting the Zune outside of the USA.
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