We’ve got this fancy new communication system which, I’m told, is going to be the next big thing. It’s called electronic mail and it’s like magic. Seriously, I used to have to visit phone booths when I wanted to be offered “massages” and that dodgy bloke who sits in the corner of the pub with one eye and only four and a half teeth was the only place to find “herbal” medication for the bedroom. I’d never even heard of penny stocks before!
Anyway, Microsoft, being the technology giants that they are, have clearly fathomed this new method of delivering adverts quite quickly because just this very night I’ve received an electronic letter from them to tell me that they’re going to be offering extended Zune Marketplace services to the UK.
The new services will enable UK users with Zune.net acounts to purchase MP3s from the Zune Marketplace which will then be usable on “their Windows-based PC, Windows Phone 7 or any other device that supports MP3 format”. That last bit seems like a way of saying “oh, alright, it plays on your bloody iPhone too but please buy a Windows Phone 7, we tried really hard this time”. Of course, the Xbox 360 can also play MP3s if you plug an external hard disk, memory stick or iPod in to it.
That’s not all though. The new services also include Microsoft’s “Zune Pass”, which is a monthly subscription service allowing customers to pay the pawltry sum of £8.99 per month to have access to unlimited downloading and streaming from the Zune music catalogue. This service is explicitly stated within the press release as being usable with the Xbox 360.
We will also see an expansion of the Zune video service from Xbox Live onto Windows-based PCs with downloads sync-able to those Windows Phone 7 devices. So you will be able to download a movie to rent or own and view it on your PC, Xbox 360 or fancy new Windows Phone.
There is no word on a new mobile media device to rival the iPod, instead Microsoft seem to be relying on their Windows Phone 7 platform for mobile access. Shame, those Zune HDs they released in the US were very pretty.
Update: Just to be crystal clear, because there seems to be a little bit of confusion, in the comments, in my email and on other sites which are reporting this. The £8.99 subscription fee is for unlimited streaming and downloads which will, I assume, work for the duration of your subscription. Here’s the direct quote from the press release to clear any doubts (bolding is mine):
Zune Pass, the monthly music subscription service, will also be available for £8.99 providing unlimited download and streaming access to the Zune music catalogue and will be accessible on Windows-based PCs, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE