With Zune, Toshiba Triangulates

mp3players.jpgAn FCC filing announced Friday indicates that the Microsoft Zune is being built by Toshiba. It will feature a 30 GB drive and a wireless connection for song and photo swapping, although early reports indicate that the music-sharing component is, typically for Microsoft, ridiculously restrictive.

According to documents filed Thursday with the FCC, Zune has wireless networking abilities that once turned on, allow people to send and receive photos, as well as “promotional” copies of songs, albums and playlists. It sounds great, but the filing does not define “promotional copies”. I believe it is a term also known as “controlled sharing”, usually involving a few selected songs with a time limit of how long you can keep them.

Two interesting notes here. First, the iPod hard disk has long been built by Toshiba; how do they avoid non-compete problems? Second, the Gigabeat S, Toshiba’s own MP3 player recently beat the iPod in a CNET Prizefight, winning in all categories. So, really, it’s three-pronged dominance for the Japanese behemoth.

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