It's true: The Zune is incompatible with Vista

I really couldn't believe the tip a reader sent in earlier this month that Microsoft's Zune MP3 player would be incompatible with Windows Vista. But, dear readers, it's true!

I really couldn't believe the tip a reader sent in earlier this month that Microsoft's Zune MP3 player would be incompatible with Windows Vista.

I had heard the Windows Media Player DRM and the Zune DRM were not going to be compatible. (According to this Knowledge Base article, Zune supports Windows Media Player 10's DRM, but not WMP 11's. And "Zune software and devices only play protected music files from Zune Marketplace.") That was bad enough.

But there is absolutely no way Microsoft would allow the Zune to work only with Windows XP SP2 and Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2, I said. It is going to have to support Vista -- or at least have a clear-cut upgrade path and timetable as to when Vista support will be provided.

But on November 14, Microsoft rolled out the Zune player, which doesn't work with Vista. And so far, the Softies haven't provided any public info (that I've heard/seen) about when the company will introduce a patch or update enabling the Zune to work with Vista.

I already know Microsoft's justification: Vista only RTM'd on November 8. So there was no way that the Zune team could have made sure the final Vista bits would work with Zunes.

All I can say is Microsoft really needs to have a Vista update -- or at least a public Vista support strategy -- for Zune by the time the company does the business launch of Vista on November 30.

(Update: In a News.com story, Scott Erickson, a senior director of product management for Microsoft's Zune effort, said Microsoft is working on Vista compatibility and is shooting to deliver on it by the time Vista is made available to businesses at the end of November. If Microsoft misses that date, Zune-Vista compatibility should be achieved before the Vista retail launch on January 30, Erickson said.)

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