Microsoft: There's Still a Sliver of Hope For Zune On Apple ProductsS

Microsoft's all about letting little nuggets loose this fine afternoon: a Microsoft rep just told Mary Jo Foley that the company is mulling "port[ing] the Zune software and services to other platforms, including Apple's." Hey, yes! Do that!

But before I get all bossy about it, it's worth figuring out what this would mean, exactly. Foley goes straight for the most exciting, and by far least likely scenario, in which the gloriously unlimited Zune Pass would be compatible with iPods and iPhones (without hacks, of course):

[The Microsoft rep] noted that with the addition of the ability to stream music from a browser that is part of the new Zune 4.0 experience, Mac and Linux users already can stream music to their systems if they have a Zune Pass subscription. The streaming capability isn't limited to Internet Explorer; it works with any browser, he said.

So what would it mean to take the Zune experience to Apple users? simply make it easier for iPods/iTouch devices to connect to Zune Pass and to run the Zune software? I didn't get any more specifics from Pinero.

Something seems like it's lost in translation here, since getting Zune Pass DRM content onto iPods would entail drastic action on Apple's part as well as Microsoft's. Not likely.

What this probably means—and this is still a pretty big deal—is that Microsoft is open to porting their Zune software over to Mac, meaning that the Zune HD might one day (one day!) be able to natively sync with OS X, and that Mac users will get to use the visually spectacular, surprisingly useful Zune desktop software. But as far as further device support goes, all is not lost:

Zune is a music and video service from Microsoft. Period... Our next step is mobile phones, but we haven't talked about a timeline for when that will happen

Ballmer's been harping on about Zune on other devices, namely mobile for a while, but it's good to know that the dream, such as it is, isn't dead. [ZDNet]