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Microsoft Zune meltdown

As some of you know, yesterday all first-generation 30 GB Zune music players stopped working at midnight Pacific time. Technology journalist Andy Jordan had a piece on the breakdown on the Wall Street Journal Web site. He invited me to discuss the bigger meaning of the failure.

Will sociability make Zune cool?

With the rise of recommendation-based music discovery systems like and iLike, and the increased importance of friends and contacts as trusted recommendation sources and filters, music discovery is more social than ever. In an attempt to compete with Apple's iPod success, Microsoft has announced that it will release a portable subscription card for its Zune players. Users had recommendation functionality in the past, but it was accessible only through the website. With the portable card, Zune users can share their favorites with other Zune users.

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