Lack Of Content Agreements Appear To Hold Up Zune In Europe

Word surfaced on a little-known tech blog this week that Microsoft intends to release a Zune update before Christmas, is planning “parity with iPod” on podcasting and videos and is hoping to sell the device outside of the U.S. A Microsoft UK spokesperson confirmed to the company aims to “expand our device offering, add new features and scenarios and consider new international markets when the time is right” – but said no official announcement on features or timing had been made.

When will the time be right? Zune launched in the U.S. alone in November 2006, other territories are still waiting. The spokesperson’s statement suggests Microsoft has the hardware but hasn’t been able to ink sufficient content agreements: “We will launch in Europe once we can ensure that consumers have a high-quality Zune experience straightaway, and that means having the right breadth and depth of content available from day-one.” Microsoft last week confirmed it sold one million Zunes in the eight months since it went on sale but, in the latest quarter, revenues in the entertainment and devices division which spawned the media player dropped 10 percent to $1.2 billion – attributed to lower Xbox 360 sales.