Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

I've Got the Urge to Fix Zune Marketplace

It was inevitable: BetaNews says that MTV is going to announce tomorrow that they're abandoning the Microsoft co-developed Urge and jumping ship to Real's Rhapsody. They cite the Zune as the primary reason for it's failure, which I find really ironic, because compared to Urge, the Zune Marketplace's giant sucking sound is deafening.

If this is true, and I were Microsoft, I'd take this as a prime opportunity to buy the Urge code back from MTV and use it to replace the Zune Marketplace software. Then they could turn the Zune Marketplace into a skin for WMP, to fool people into thinking it is an "Integrated" experience, and also allow people to use the stand-alone WMP11 to interact with the Zune if they so choose.

Otherwise, the only good thing to come out of the arrangement would have been The Killers concert that MTV and Microsoft put on at PURE at Caesar's Palace.

I wonder what will happen with all the music that people bought off Urge. Will they screw their users, like Google just did? Or will they get to keep using their tracks? Only time (and maybe tomorrow's announcement) will tell.

UPDATE: Looks like MTV grafted the Urge flash app into Real's Rhapsody app. So much for that idea.



  • August 21, 2007 12:11 AM
  • Bob Jones said:

    PlaysForSure? What a steaming pile of bullshit that was.

    And now with the the support of H.264 in Adobe Flash we'll see the complete and utter collapse of WMV.

    Microsoft failures keep racking up, it's only a matter of time now.

    August 21, 2007 1:18 AM
  • Shawn Oster said:

    I believe the Zune software is already a skinned WMP.  Is it that you prefer the Urge skin to the Zune skin?  What features did you prefer in Urge over the Marketplace?  I'm curious as I only played with Urge for a day or two when it first came out.

    I have a laundry list of technical issue with the Zune software, as I tend to blog a lot about, as well as quite a few basic user experience issues that I have with the concept in general.

    August 21, 2007 1:38 AM
  • Bob,

    Oh yeah, H.264 is going to crush Microsoft's investment in WMV. Suuuuuuure.

    Shawn, Zune is the only one that is skinned, Urge just has a different UI inside the window borders. The user experiences are similar, but I think Urge executed them a bit better. Plus, urge obviously had better device support and wasn't stripped of important features.

    August 21, 2007 1:58 AM
  • Bob Jones said:

    WMA failed despite Microsoft's investment.

    WMV will follow, the Xbox 360 supports H264, more than a little dim recognition on Microsoft's part on how they're getting steamrolled by the video iPod, Apple TV and iPhone.

    August 21, 2007 3:22 PM
  • Emil said:


    You do realize that the most widely used/adopted codec for HD DVD is VC-1 (aka "Windows Media Video Advanced Profile")?

    August 22, 2007 1:16 AM
  • DCMonkey said:

    FWIW, Rhapsody uses Window Media underneath and supports PlaysForSure (though I've had nothing but problems with using the later on my Creative Zen Jukebox Extra Pro Turbo EX edition)

    August 22, 2007 1:54 PM
  • Chris Parker said:


    I was going to write something along the lines of "no its not, its h264" but your right, both h.264 and VC-1 are mandatory codecs of both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.

    From a personal point of view i've had better experience encoding my vids into h.264. I seem to get better quality, lower file size and obviously its platform agnostic which is important.

    I do think Bob has a point that with the introduction of h264 in the flash player, h.264 will begin to be used in many situations. From a user's perspective, this means that they can download a video off the web and play it almost anywhere; iPhone, iPod, Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox, PSP, the list is very long. WMV is restricted to Windows related devices (with the exception of Flip4Mac which only supports WM9 and below).

    and another thing. people still use WMP? I dumped that pile of crap years ago and can't say I know anyone who uses it.

    August 22, 2007 5:06 PM
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    September 28, 2007 8:03 AM