At the E3 games conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft said yesterday that the company plans to introduce a new music service called "Xbox Music", which will run on the Xbox 360, Windows 8 and Windows Phone, uniting Microsoft's media brands for games, music and videos under the Xbox umbrella. While Microsoft hasn't spoken about Zune at it's E3 presentation, Microsoft's current media brand for music and video, afterward, the company's Melissa Stewart confirmed that the Zune brand is going away soon so Microsoft can use the way better-known Xbox brand for its entertainment services, including its online video service.
While further information have to be detailed, it looks like Microsoft will migrate Zune into Xbox Music, or maybe just rebranding it, because Stewart also confirmed that Zune Music customers, who created playlists, would still have access to those songs through the new Xbox Music service.
The Zune brand, which was launched back in 2006 but never took off internationally, never ramped up, neither the online shop nor the hardware, except maybe the Zune HD. And therefore it makes sense for Microsoft to replace the Zune brand with a far better and broader established Xbox brand which is now on its way to become Microsoft's center for all kind of digital entertainment.
Hopefully, the Xbox Music brand will lasts longer than the forerunners like Zune, MSN Music, PlaysForSure, Windows Media, etc.
Xbox Music is expected to hit the ground anytime later this year, latest with the release of Windows 8 and it's most likely also used in Windows Phone 8 which is expected to be launched after.
Cheers ~ Arne