Microsoft plans to offer elements of its Zune music and movie services throughout Europe and other countries in conjunction with the release of its Windows Phone 7 operating system.
Windows Phone 7 is scheduled to launch before Christmas but no firm date has been set, says Scott Rowe, spokesman for Microsoft's Entertainment Services. The upgraded Zune 4.7 software will be the Windows Phone 7 synchronisation client.
Microsoft's Video Marketplace will enable people in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (where the service will expand in the spring) to buy movies to download and watch on either Xbox Live, a Windows PC or Windows Phone 7. A rental service will also be offered in those countries as well as Italy and Spain.
The Zune Music Marketplace -- where users can buy MP3s from a catalog of 8 million songs -- is in the US now but will be expanded this fall to the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany. Music videos will also be on sale that can be played on Windows PCs, Windows Phone 7 and Zune on Xbox Live.
Another service -- Zune Pass -- lets users stream and download an unlimited number of songs. Downloaded songs have DRM (Digital Rights Management) restrictions that cause the songs to become unplayable if the subscription lapses.