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Zune VideoX: Microsoft’s iTunes killer?

This comes at an interesting time for me, as I've been updating the Windows Vista Secrets book for Service Pack 1 and am adding a bunch of material on related technologies, including a chapter on Zune. Like many, I'd sort of written Zune off, mostly because they seem to go into deep hibernation mode every year after releasing a new product version and never seem to ship any decent updates. But the Zune is a solid product now and is certainly attractive, especially the PC software. And it occurred to me, again, in writing about the Zune, that what it really lacks is a video content solution (TV shows, movies).

Anyway, today, Mary Jo Foley offers up some hopeful news about what might be happening there. For the record, Joe B. is a great guy and had a lot to do with the success of Media Center as a product. So I hope this is true.

Zune Marketplace is no iTunes killer. But maybe Zune VideoX will (at least attempt to) be.

I’m getting word of yet another Microsoft entertainment marketplace, known currently as “Zune Video X” (for Video Experience).

One of the main movers and shakers behind the initiative is said to be Joe Belfiore. Corporate vice president of the Entertainment and Devices eHome Division. Belfiore was responsible for “development, business management and marketing of Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition and related devices, including Media Center Extender and the Media Center DVR,” last anyone heard of him. As Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Todd Bishop noted today, Belfiore is rumored to be working on something Zune-related now.)

Zune VideoX is not Zune Marketplace revisited, sources say. Instead, it is Microsoft’s attempt to apply the lessons learned with the success of the Xbox Live Marketplace to the Zune market, said one source who asked not to be named. It would be a single hub where Zune users could buy and download music, videos, TV shows and more entertainment content.

The only thing I can add to this is that I do know the Media Center guys essentially took a year off to work on, yes, the UI for Zune 2.0. This explains a few things, I think, including why the "Fiji" update to Media Center was delayed.

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