Will Microsoft’s Zune do away with PlaysForSure?

Microsoft finally owned up to
developing a rival to Apple’s iPod and iTunes combo last Friday, but
some believe the upcoming music player will do
away Microsoft’s own PlaysForSure program
. PlaysForSure
certification ensures compatibility between the vast majority of
non-Apple music players and services, such as Musicmatch, Napster, and Urge.
Today, however, SanDisk CEO Eli Harari stated that “Based on what they have publicly said, we believe that Microsoft
will mimic Apple’s proprietary closed-system solution.”

Microsoft’s official position on the subject is somewhat ambiguous. The
company doesn’t plan to abandon PlaysForSure, CNet says, but it has made
no mention of either PlaysForSure support in Zune or of the Zune’s
player interoperability with other services. Furthermore, speaking about
Zune, a Microsoft spokesman told CNet, “Any experience, whether it is
device and service and software, will be tightly integrated.” An IDC
analyst believes the arrival of Zune is a sign the PlaysForSure strategy
did not successfully thwart the iPod’s success, and that the
certification effort could become redundant if Microsoft focuses on its
own service and hardware.

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