updated 03:15 pm EDT, Fri September 15, 2006
Zune WM Store Support
As the owner of the Windows Media format, Microsoft has a vested interest in promoting online music and video stores that rely upon the company's standard. Its PlaysForSure program was designed to encourage a single standard for protected music across all Windows Media stores. New revelations, however, indicate that Microsoft may be opting out of protected Windows Media for its just announced Zune player. Microsoft's press release for the new music player only indicates that the device can import unprotected Windows Media and Video, observes a Harvard University blog by Derek Slater. The Zune Insider Blog, run by Microsoft marketer Cesar Menendez, similarly describes the Zune's Windows Media support only in terms of unprotected content. If true, the lack of support for stores such as Napster and URGE may signal either a closer adoption of an Apple-like proprietary ecosystem with the Zune player and Marketplace or a preference for protection-free stores such as eMusic. Microsoft has not formally announced the format it will use for its online store.