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Microsoft Zune HD  (Source: Microsoft)
Zune content will play on windows Phone 7, Zune, PC, and Xbox 360

Microsoft has been working with its Zune media player and accompanying Zune software to win ground against Apple and its wildly popular iPod and iTunes music service. Apple still has the vast majority of the market and continues to dominate while Microsoft is a distant competitor in terms of popularity and market share.

Microsoft's Zune has some features that Apple lacks, however, like a subscription music service. Microsoft it's talking up a new expansion of Zune content to multiple screens and into international markets. The Zune and the Zune software will be expanding to other countries along with the subscription music service. The service will now be offered in more than 20 countries including the UK, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

More interesting than the Zune expansion into other countries is the new multiple screen service for Zune. The way the service will work is that the buyer of content for the Zune will be able to view the content and listen to music on the Zune portable device, the Windows PC, and on the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live in the living room on the big screen.

"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."

The new upgraded Zune software is now at version 4.7, will be a free download, and will serve as the synchronization software for Windows Phone 7 devices that are set to launch in October. The Zune Pass service will cost users in the UK, France, Italy, and Spain 9.99 euros or 8.99 pounds per month.

The expanded services also bring movie rentals to the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.





"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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