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The Future of Zune: Reading Between the Lines

As you might expect, I have a lot of questions for the Zune team, given the recent news. And unlike in past years, they've actually been pretty terrific at getting back to me, which is nice. But the answers I've gotten require a bit of reading between the lines.

For example:

Q: When is Zune PC software v4.7 being released?

A: The next Zune PC update will roll out later this fall in time for the launch of Windows Phone 7 as it will be the synchronization client for the phone.

Note: Full list of new features is still to come.

Q: Why are certain countries getting only certain Zune online services features (Zune Pass, music, movie and TV purchases, movie rentals)?

A: The launch of Zune Pass and Zune Marketplace in the U.K., France, Italy and Spain is a significant step and evolutionary step in the international expansion of the Zune service. We are constantly evaluating the possibilities of adding our other services to existing markets and over time we will extend the Zune service to more screens and more countries. That is our goal, but we have no further details to share at this point.

Note: While they are going from 1 country to five with Zune Pass and Zune Marketplace, a lot of people elsewhere are feeling pretty burned. I'd like to believe this is going to change, and quickly, over time. But having dealt with the Zune platform since day one, there's no precedence for that.

Q: What's the fate of Zune HD? Will there be a new version, perhaps based on Windows Phone?

A: We remain committed to the Zune HD device in the U.S. and are also focused on expanding the Zune music and video service to additional platforms like Xbox 360 and Windows phones.

Note: So, the Zune HD remains as-is, and only in the US. At least for now. There have been good rumors about an update, but that must be a 2011 product if it's happening.

Do you have any other questions for the Zune team?

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