Microsoft's 'Rock n' Chat' Revolution!

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has revamped their slow-selling Zune digital media players and created a brand new social networking service dedicated to the device. The upgrades are intended to rival the popularity of the Apple iPod, while hopefully sparking a rock n' chat revolution that brings the Zune to the forefront of portable media innovations.

In the last year alone, Microsoft has only sold around 1.2 million Zune devices. These figures do not even begin to rival the iPod, which continually draws higher annual sales. (Source:

Microsoft has breathed new life into the hardware and software designs of the Zune, in addition to the accompanying online music store. Most of the changes are said to be for aesthetic purposes only. The navigation button has been re-worked, while the signature brown color option has been dropped from the list of possible selections. The Zune will now be available in black, pink, green and red only.

Microsoft has even tinkered with what has been the most talked about feature on the original device: the ability to share music files and other media wirelessly with other Zune users.

Since only a few consumers actually purchased the media player, the function became of little importance. The songs that were shared between users quickly expired in only a few days, even if the recipient did not get a chance to hear any of them.

The new plan is to have no expiration date for these shared songs and it would be possible to repeatedly pass along songs sent from one device to another. Still, a shared file can only be played up to three times.

Microsoft has prepared for any potential backlash by creating a social networking site, Zune Social, to appease the masses. Members of the network will be able to use a small application on their computers to display which songs they have been listening to, which can then be posted on certain web sites outside of the network or sent by email.

Whether the masses accept the social networking service as a suitable replacement for only getting to hear their favorite songs three times has yet to be determined.

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