Yet another internet music subscription and sales service has tipped up in the UK, this time from Microsoft.
It's called Zune - and on offer is a Spotify-like MP3 and music video download service called Zune Marketplace and a subscription service for £8.99 delivering "unlimited downloads" and streaming access to a big music catalogue. There is no mention of of the 10 songs a month that Zune US customers can get to keep, so customers will find out soon what "unlimited" really means. Also there's a film streaming rental service.
Remember, Microsoft also has an MP3 player with the same name - which never officially made it to the UK and probably never will. Here, the company should do better with the software side of things, as it can claim massive distribution welly, through tie-ins with Windows-based PCs, Windows Phone 7 and XBox Live. OK maybe not Windows Phone 7... if Microsoft really wanted to make Zune fly on mobiles, it would be better off integrating the service with Android. But perhaps we are missing the point.
You can synchronise the account across screens using the same Windows Live ID.
Zune's UK website has yet to catch up with the brand new one-stop multiscreen digital entertainment world - at time of writing the info is about accessing the service through XBox Live.
You don't have to have Windows or an XBox to run Zune - you could always download the Zune player and stream music via the internet. But s it's Microsoft your browser must support Silverlight.