Having previously highlighted the limitations of the Zune's wireless music sharing capabilities, I was surprised to wake up this morning to find Techmeme filled with discussion about how a percentage of songs bought from the Zune marketplace can't be shared at all. Zunerama conducted a crude test and found that only 29 out of the 50 songs they tried to share were successful. For those tracks that never made it, an error message read "can't send some songs because of rights restrictions".
So it seems that despite already crippling the Zune's sharing functionality, Microsoft was unable to persuade the record companies to take part in full. Or alternatively, it may well be that the labels themselves couldn't get all of their artists on board -- perhaps due to contract implications. However, what's even more surprising is that Universal is one of the labels most effected, despite securing a revenue share deal with Microsoft for every Zune player sold.
With Apple's iPod being the dominant player, along with Steve Jobs' reputation for playing hardball with the music industry -- what does this say about how far Microsoft is willing to bend in order to get a piece of the action?
Related post: Zune: welcome to the anti-social