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Microsoft confirms Zune project

Ryan Block, @ryan

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Well, it's not much, but we've got a quote and an official confirmation of the Zune project at Microsoft. The Zune brand is being billed as a "music and entertainment" project aimed at "connecting with others to discover new music and entertainment and will deliver a family of hardware and software products." Here's what they sent over, by way of Microsoft's GM of marketing, Chris Stephenson:

"Today we confirmed a new music and entertainment project called Zune. Under the Zune brand, we will deliver a family of hardware and software products, the first of which will be available this year. We see a great opportunity to bring together technology and community to allow consumers to explore and discover music together."

We've got a lot of questions waiting to be answered (as we're sure you do too), and we'll post updates here as we find out more information from our peeps at Microsoft. In the mean time, keep yourself occupied with their official announcement in Billboard Magazine, as well as two new Zune blogs sprouted by people working on the project.

Update: Billboard confirms that "additional Zune-branded devices will follow, including a portable video player and, potentially, a portable game device," as well as an initial device offering WiFi and drive-based storage. The WiFi won't just be for moving around music files, as in the MusicGremlin, however. Apparently other "seven or eight" wireless usage scenarios are envisioned, as suspected, and aims at providing "ubiquitous access to digital media from a wide range of Windows-powered devices in what ultimately aspires to be one part MySpace, one part iTunes and one part Xbox Live." Yikes. Zune will definitely be a general media player, though at launch music will be the "primary content," later also including video and "other types of media." More to come...

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