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All posts tagged "zune pass"


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Muve Over Zune Pass, Opportunity's Knocking…

Posted by Todd Allcock in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 12:00 PM

Microsoft's Zune Pass has to be the best kept secret in the digital music business. Anyone I know who has tried the service, which gives you unlimited download or streaming access to virtually the entire music catalog offered by Microsoft's Zune Marketplace for $15/month, has been amazed by it, but no one I know personally had actually heard of it until I showed it to them.

Windows Phone 7 took Zune Pass to the next level, by combining the ubiquity of cellular networks with the service, giving access to its millions of songs virtually anywhere, anytime. This created a truly "on demand" digital music service. If, as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Microsoft should be blushing right now. Read more...


Monday, January 24, 2011

The Windows Phone 7 Feature Availability Matrix, A.K.A. The Confusing Mess

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Articles & Resources" @ 12:08 PM

http://andrewtechhelp.com/andrews-t...lability-matrix

"Windows Phone 7 is available in many different countries across the world, but where you live depends on how much of the experience you are able to get. The 3 major features on the Windows Phone revolve around availability of online services and they are the Zune Marketplace, Xbox Live and Bing Local search. Microsoft has not made each of these 3 services available in every country that they are launching Windows Phone in and therefore have created a mess of what services are available on the phone in each country (with some countries even having partial access to some services)."

Although I'm enjoying using Windows Phone 7 for the most part, I start to get an angry twitch whenever I stop to think about how fractured the product experience is for people outside the USA. This isn't anything new - I've ranted about this on Zune Thoughts for years - but the core problem is still the same. If someone wants to buy a Windows Phone in Canada, they can't buy music from the Zune Marketplace. What kind of sense does that make then for them to use the Zune desktop software to manage their phone and media collection, but not be able to buy new music - and that's not even the Zune Pass, that's any music at all from Zune. I've heard for years how hard it is to negotiate rights in every country, etc., but at the end of the day it has to happen or the product isn't going to succeed. And the consumer doesn't care about what's hard or what's easy; they want a product that works for them. If Microsoft can't provide that, they'll go with someone that will.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Nokia Shuts Down "Ovi", Music Streaming Service, in 27 Countries

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Competition" @ 04:06 PM

http://unplugged.rcrwireless.com/in...-music-service/

"Nokia Corp. has announced it will be shutting down its Ovi Music unlimited subscription service in 27 countries. The service - similar to Microsoft Corp.'s Zune Pass - allowed people to pay a set fee to access as much music as they wanted, legally and conveniently. Originally launched with much fanfare in Britain in late 2008, and seen as a major threat to the iTunes dominated market with Nokia securing all four major music publishes [sic], it has seen a sad decline in most markets."

Subscription music is a hard sell, so it's not surprising to see Nokia giving up on it - I have to commend them on getting it all up and running in so many countries in the first place...it's something Microsoft hasn't been able to do with Zune as of yet. Hell, I can't even buy music from the Zune Marketplace in Canada, let alone have a Zune Pass subscription. A key problem with Nokia's Ovi approach was that it locked the music to the handset - I don't think there was a way to get it onto the user's computer. The concept of subscription music is also hard for people to wrap their heads around, even though it's similar to a cable TV subscription.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Annual Zune Pass: Pay for 10 Months, Get 12 Months

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 09:34 AM

http://zune.net/en-US/products/zune...annualpass.htm#

Like having a Zune Pass? Like saving money? Here's a no-brainer offer for you then: if you sign up for a year of Zune Pass, you get 12 months worth of goodness for 10 months - and you still get to keep 10 songs a month even if you don't renew the Zune Pass later on. Nice! Now if only if were available in Canada. Or Germany. Or many of the other countries out there on this planet...


Monday, September 20, 2010

Zune Marketplace Expands Elsewhere in the World - Sort Of

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 05:44 PM

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/...zuneintlpr.mspx

"REDMOND, Wash. - Sep. 20, 2010 - Microsoft Corp. today announced the further international expansion of Zune, its digital entertainment service. This fall, Zune will expand its music and video footprint and bring the free Zune software, Zune Marketplace online store, Zune Pass music subscription service and enhanced features on Zune.net to new markets, providing a comprehensive entertainment experience on Windows-based PCs, on the go with Windows Phone 7 and in your living room through Xbox LIVE. "The integration between Zune, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE is an exciting expansion in our entertainment offerings," said Craig Eisler, corporate vice president, Interactive Entertainment Business Group at Microsoft. "Zune enables users to access the entertainment they want, wherever they want it - and now, more people than ever will be able to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that the Zune service offers." "

No surprises here, except perhaps that Microsoft has failed to expand the world-wide reach of the Zune Pass as much as I'd hoped they would. I live in Canada and was hoping - no, expecting - to be able to get a Zune Pass to go along with my upcoming Windows Phone 7 purchase. Here are the highlights:

  • The Zune Pass is coming to the U.K., France, Italy and Spain - consumers in that country will get the full subscription package for £8.99 / €9.99. However - and this is a bit of an issue for some - there are no free 10 tracks per month.
  • Music purchase is available in the U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Germany - this means MP3s from the Zune Marketplace.
  • Video purchases from the Zune Marketplace for the U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Movie rentals from the Zune Marketplace for the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Is that a confusing mess, or what? As a Canadian, I can buy videos from the Zune Marketplace, and rent them, but I can't buy music? Or can't get a Zune Pass for the Windows Phone 7 device I'm pretty sure Rogers is going to be launching here in the next 90 days? Ridiculous. And why can someone in Ireland rent a movie, but not buy one? The Germans will be able to purchase MP3s from the Zune Marketplace, but they can't get a Zune Pass? And my head will explode if I try to figure out who can do what with Xbox Live - I've been able to rent movies from Xbox Live for months, but I can't rent them or purchase them on my PC.

This not the unified vision I was hoping to see from Microsoft. This is a slapdash, fragmented effort that fails to deliver a solid entertainment experience to everyone in the countries Microsoft is supporting. Yeah, yeah, I know that this is complicated legal stuff, but if Apple can get it done, why can't Microsoft? I'm tired of having to use a loophole to purchase music from Amazon. I'm tired of iTunes being the only source for video purchases I have available. I was hoping Microsoft was going to deliver a solid solution here, and they haven't. It's no wonder Apple is kicking ass and taking names when this is the best their competition can do.

The glimmer of good news in all this is that there's finally a new release of the Zune desktop software; I hope they've added useful features and improved performance, both of which are sorely needed.

What's your take on this? Am I being too hard on Microsoft? Should I be patting them on the back for achieving a tiny fraction of the digital entertainment unity that Apple has been able to create?

The remainder of the press release is after the break. Read more...


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What To Do About Zune?

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Software" @ 10:00 AM

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13526_3-20006344-27.html

"After almost four years, the standalone Zune player has something like 2 percent of the MP3 player market. Ballmer should face it: the iPod is unstoppable. But Microsoft already has a mobile-phone business--even if Windows Mobile is the Atari 2600 of mobile platforms, it still shipped on more than 15 million phones in 2008 and 2009, and the vastly improved Windows Phone 7 could help Microsoft double that number in 2011. Every Windows Phone 7 will have the full Zune HD interface built into it. Microsoft should market the heck out of this feature: the Zune HD is a better MP3 player than the iPod in many ways--wireless sync, the "now playing" queue and Quickplay feature, the Zune Pass all-you-can-eat subscription service, cool rolling displays of album and artist art, and better PC software. I'm willing to bet that phones running Windows Phone 7 will be better MP3 players than the iPhone, too."

As a longtime Zune owner, it pains me to admit that the product hasn't sold as well as it probably should have. With the single-function form factor on the way out, will a strong integration with Windows Phone 7 be enough to stave off tough competition from Apple? There's no doubt that the Zune HD interface is both beautiful and perfectly optimized for touch, and in a way it has served as a testing ground for some of the UI conventions within Windows Phone 7. With wireless syncing, the "pins" metaphor, and of course the Zune Pass, the Zune HD is in many ways a stronger media player than the iPod Touch. Putting this combination into every WP7 device will certainly shake up expectations of cell phone media players, but will people be willing to fork over another $10 or $15 for a Zune Pass on top of their monthly cell bill? Rosoff brings up the old "sure you could pay $3000 for 3000 songs, or just $15 a month" as a possible marketing tactic, but Zune has gone there before to no effect. There's little doubt that Zune on WP7 can be a winner, the question is whether they can execute on it and if this will be enough to save Zune.


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