Zune may launch in Europe by end of 2007

Written by Tim Smalley

January 23, 2007 | 12:06

Tags: #european #flash #ipod #launch #mp3 #nand #nano #zune

Companies: #europe #microsoft #research

A Microsoft representative has told Reuters that the company hopes to launch its Zune music player in Europe before the end of the year, while hinting that there are more devices and more features on the way too.

Although the company has said it is hoping to launch the Zune in Europe before the end of the year, the representative stressed that it wasn't an official announcement.

In order to make sure Zune is fit for the European market, Microsoft is planning an extensive market research scheme with focus groups in Europe. The representative said that this should help the company understand European consumers. In addition, it will also give Microsoft chance to make modifications to the device so that it is better suited for customers here.

Microsoft is realistic about the challenge it faces in trying to crack into the MP3 player market and acknowledges that Apple is its toughest competitor.

However, rather than going after the iPod brand, Microsoft wants Zune to make a name for itself and the company is upbeat about its prospects in the digital music player industry. "We are very realistic, we have what is essentially a three-year plan to firmly and solidly get on the radar," said the representative.

Ars Technica believes that Microsoft is planning a flash-based Zune in order to compete against the iPod nano, and there are plans for a 12GB model if the NAND flash memory market can cope. Ironically, the NAND flash memory sales generated by the iPod nano's success is likely to be the key to expanding NAND flash storage capacities.

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