Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Zune - Xbox Live Integration

Earlier this week, I blogged that the new Xbox 360 Dashboard is the clearest evidence yet that Microsoft is about to wage a bigger war with Apple than most people realize. Today I posted that I think Zune Marketplace is a WMP 11 skin, and Brandon pointed out that ZM looks a HELL of a lot like Urge. He's worried that the back-end is also the same as Urge's. But I think Urge looks like Zune because they use the same WMP APIs. I think the back-end is Xbox Live, and not just because both use Microsoft Points.

Here's what I mean (click any picture to enlarge):

Here's my "media' blade. Click on "Video", and you get the next screen:

The two options you don't see are "Current Disc", and "Portable Device". The last one is where you'll get the Zune experience on your Xbox 360. Go ahead and select "Console" for now.

Movies, TV Shows, Music Videos... Viral Videos? Hmmm. Maybe MSN Soapbox plans to link to Xbox Live / Zune Marketplace?

Is that DRM I spy under the show icon?

So here's the bottom line. I think the Zune / Xbox 360 combo is a major opening salvo not just against iPod / iTunes, but against the whole concept of entertainment in your home. I think Microsoft wants to succeed where NetFlix, DirectTV, and others have failed, too.

If Xbox 360 and Zune were linked up... you'd be able to buy videos on your desktop, copy them to your Zune, and take them to a friend's Xbox 360 and watch them on your TV. Or maybe you could stream them through your Vista Media Center at home and watch them in your bedroom though a second-generation Extender. And Zune Marketplace is nothing more than WMP 11... who is to say you won't be able to take videos to other devices too? Like that Windows Mobile phone?

Look, Microsoft didn't put J Allard on this project for nothing. He's going to take an extremely well-executed Xbox 360 strategy and turn it into a media revolution that no one ever expected. And history shows that when Microsoft jumps into the fray, they play to win.

Now we'll just have to wait and see what happens when Zune launches next week.

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