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Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest maker of software, who has been tapping digital entertainment business for years now, confirmed Friday that it would develop and sell digital media players under Zune brand-name, without providing any details. Additionally, at least two official Zune-related web-sites have been launched.

“Today we confirmed a new music and entertainment project called Zune. Under the Zune brand, we will deliver a family of hardware and software products, the first of which will be available this year,” said Chris Stephenson, a general manager of marketing for the software maker, told Billboard magazine.

Microsoft’s Zune player will be available in three colours with a duotone approach on each. The device will contain a hard disk drive as well as some functionality, not currently available on competing products, such as Apple iPod or Creative Zen, including ad-hoc music sharing between a group of people in the range of the device as well as digital radio, thanks to Wi-Fi connectivity. Microsoft Zune 30GB will cost as much as $399, it was reported earlier. Along with the Zune device, Microsoft is expected to launch its new online music store.

“We see a great opportunity to bring together technology and community to allow consumers to explore and discover music together,” Mr. Stephenson is reported to have said without providing any further details on the matter.

In conjunction with the statement, teaser web-site was launched. The owner of the web-site could not be identified, as it was registered with DomainsByProxy, a company, which specialty is hiding the data about the real domain owner’s identity. Nevertheless, it looks like Microsoft is behind the web-site, as the latter contains the official Zune logotype, which can also be found in the blog of a man, who calls himself ZuneInsider and says he had left Xbox division to work on the Zune project.

“So what’s Zune? It’s Microsoft’s new, holistic approach to music and entertainment. And yes, this year, we’ll be releasing a device as part of the project. Under the Zune brand, we’re looking to build a community for connecting with folks, all to discover new music and entertainment,” the author of the blog, whose real name is Cesar Menendez and who claims to be a Microsoft employee working on Zune project.


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