Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) appears ready to take more of its Zune services outside the U.S. for the first time, using Windows Phone 7 as a beachhead.
One observer spotted this website inviting UK sign-ups to Microsoft’s all-you-can-eat Zune Pass music service, with unlimited streaming and downloads, priced at £8.99 a month or £26.97 for three months.
When asked, Microsoft told paidContent:UK there are still no plans to ship the Zune HD media player device outside the U.S., but that, because upcoming Windows Phone 7 handsets require Zune PC software to sync music, videos, podcasts, photos and apps, it has given “preview” access to a “limited Zune Marketplace catalogue” to app developers.
It’s likely there where the observer’s screengrab came from. But don’t rule out a full global Zune Marketplace/Zune Pass launch when Windows Phone 7 handsets start shipping. Microsoft tells us: “We will be sharing more details on the Zune service later this summer.”
So Zune, as promised, is coming together as Microsoft’s cross-platform content brand.
Although the device has never been available outside the U.S. and Canada, Zune already has a presence elsewhere – Microsoft rebranded its Xbox Live Video Marketplace movies service “Zune Marketplace” last year. In music, though, Xbox’s music videos are provided by VidZone and MSN UK recently launched its own in-house music downloads service.