updated 02:35 pm EDT, Wed April 16, 2008
MS Zune Video Store Rumor
Microsoft is developing a unified media store for the Zune that would draw on lessons from the Xbox 360, according to information relayed to long-time Microsoft observer Mary-Jo Foley. A service so far codenamed Zune Video X (Experience) is said by a source to address a gap in the Zune's online purchasing options by offering movies, TV shows, and "more" content in addition to the music already available through the Zune Marketplace. The service would be more than just an expansion of the existing store, says the report.
Zune Video X is ultimately the offshoot of an earlier, scrapped project known as "eLive" that would have merged Windows desktop, Windows Mobile, Xbox, and Zune content into a single store whose content works with more than one device, Foley adds. Microsoft has allegedly decided instead that less ambitious but more targeted stores are more effective.
The company is aware of the claims and says it has nothing to announce, but admits that it's developing a "connected entertainment strategy" that includes the Zune. Reports have surfaced that the company is developing a mobile music store in tandem with third-generation Zune players that are expected in the fall.
A video-friendly store is considered important to Microsoft's competition with Apple, Amazon, and similar stores. Music videos are periodically available one the Zune Marketplace today but are rare and sometimes attached to albums rather than available separately. The Zune isn't compatible with the copy-protected version of Microsoft's own Windows Media Video format and so has been without a widespread commercial option since its debut in late 2005.