Zune Users Get Free Wi-Fi at McDonald’s

September 16th, 2008 at 12:00 am

microsoft zune

Microsoft today is releasing a software update to their music player Zune.  The update, Zune 3.0 unlike the iPhone 2.0 comes for free. In addition to the free software update,  Microsoft is also increasing their distribution of their music from their online store Zune Marketplace by partnering  up with 9800 McDonald’s stores in the US.

Revealed last week, the new software will allow Zune users to wirelessly stream and download music from the Zune Marketplace store on the go; tag and purchase songs directly from the built-in FM radio; and tap into new, personalized music recommendations and programming. To allow customers to take full advantage of the new wireless functionality, Zune today announced that it is working with high-speed Internet access provider Wayport Inc. to deliver Zune users free, wireless access to the Zune Marketplace from more than 9,800 participating McDonald’s restaurants across the U.S.

"Wayport is pleased to be working with Microsoft to make it easier for Zune users to access music on the go,” said Dan Lowden, vice president of business development and marketing for Wayport. “Our ability to enable and manage applications and devices over converged networks creates exciting new opportunities for our clients to attract new customers whose digital lifestyle extends beyond their home and office.”  [Press Release]

Zune has always been struggling to get some market traction and share against the formidable iPod and iPhone. Although technology speaking, the Zune may have all advantages over the iPod.  However, design, marketing and price keeps consumers craving for the Apple.  Moreover, Apple has iPhones and App Store to keep their customers happy and well supplied with digital information.  This was a feature Microsoft lagged behind so much before realizing its lucrative potential.   So with those in mind, the new Zune is funkier, cooler, connects wirelessly and gets free internet in McDonald’s.

In addition to launching Zune Channels, which push new music to subscribers’ collections each week, and personalized music recommendations, Zune Marketplace also offers editorial features such as the Zune School Music Masters Program and the Xbox Gamer Central pages, as well as Instant Collections playlists to help consumers explore specific themes and genres. Zune Marketplace now offers more than 4 million songs, 80 percent of which are available as digital rights management (DRM)-free MP3s; 8,500 music videos; 3,000 episodes of popular TV shows; and more than 6,000 audio and video podcasts. [Press Release]