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September 16, 2008

Zune And McDonalds - Partnering to Offer Music, Audio Books and Food On The Go...

Yesterday I was going to attempt to clean up before I dropped the kids off at school so that I could head off to a Microsoft press release meeting. I actually enjoy going to these meetings, because I look forward to the "surprise" announcement. I even armed myself with a  Sierra Wireless USB Broadband card with Sprint wireless service so I can liveblog every juicy moment. I received an email that the press meeting was canceled, but I did check the news to see if anything interesting popped up...

Well - what do you know - this morning Techmeme and gadget blogs are a-buzzin with the news that "Internet access provider Wayport enables wireless music downloads for Zune customers in Wi-Fi hot spots at more than 9,800 McDonald’s restaurants."

Here is more from the Microsoft press release on Zune downloads:

"Zune customers have a choice in how they acquire music — they can pay per track or choose a Zune Pass subscription. Zune Pass subscribers can download or stream music from their Zune or computer interchangeably, all for a flat rate of $14.99 (U.S.) per month. To give people a chance to experience Zune Pass subscription, Zune is offering a free, 14-day trial to all new customers. More information is available at http://www.zune.net/setup.

Zune also now supports audiobook content from leading distributors including Audible Inc. Zune users can now explore more than 50,000 books, magazines and newspapers from more than 600 publishers and content providers at audible.com and sync it to their Zune. To commemorate the addition of audiobooks, Audible is offering all new and existing Zune owners a free copy of “Black River” by bestselling writer Dean Koontz."

So, I assume that means if you have a Zune and purchase a subscription for $14.99 - then that will also give you free access to the Wayport Wi-Fi at McDonalds. I think this is a smart move for Microsoft, the Wi-Fi in food and beverage stores is heating up. Starbucks partnered with AT&T to offer Wi-Fi at their coffee shops for customers that have cards.  T-Moblie partnered with companies like FedEx Kinkos and Borders to offer their hotspot serviceBoingo offers Wi-Fi hotspot service to 103,749 locations around the world.

Now that McDonalds is starting to work with Wellness experts and offer things like fresh fruit, yogurt and salads - the Wi-Fi option may be more attractive. Until I read the press release, I never thought of the option of also downloading books on tape to the Zune. My kids enjoy listening to music and already have their own tastes. Having books on tape make any car ride easier from my family (of three active boys). Good to know if I am on a family road trip, and forget to bring the CD's like I always do - but have a Zune and the subscription service, that I can just stop by Mickey D's to download a book for my boys to listen to.


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Not surprised...with iTunes partnering with Starbucks and McDonald's trying to become the new coffee place in town....Coffee, music, and McDonalds--nah, think I will be sticking to Starbucks.

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