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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Microsoft Zune out for Christmas
Microsoft Zune
The Zune will compete with Apple's iPod
Microsoft has announced that its Zune digital music player will be released in the US in time for Christmas.

Unveiling more details of the player, which it hopes will rival Apple's iPod, Microsoft said the Zune will come in three colours - black, white and brown.

To be manufactured for the US giant by Japan's Toshiba, it will come with a three-inch (7.6cm) colour screen.

The Zune will also have wireless connectivity, allowing nearby users to exchange songs and photos.

'Competitively priced'

Microsoft hopes the Zune, which will also be able to play videos and includes a radio, will eat into the iPod's more than 75% share of the digital music player market in the US.

The software giant said it will also introduce a competitor to Apple's iTunes music library and online store called Zune Marketplace.

This online store will allow users to choose to buy songs individually, or alternatively sign up to a subscription service to download a certain number of songs for a flat fee.

The initial Zune will have a 30-gigabyte memory, but Microsoft said it could not yet provide an exact release date or price for the product, only that it would be priced "competitively" with rivals.

"The digital music entertainment revolution is just beginning," said J Allard, a Microsoft vice president of design and development, who is in charge of the Zune line of products.

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