Microsoft is taking its Zune services down for maintenance Monday night, January 25, at 10 p.m. PT for approximately 24 hours. During that period, no content will be rentable or purchasable.
That doesn't mean it's time to don the tin-foil hats, however.
Microsoft officials said the scheduled outage of the Zune services -- which means Zune Pass, Zune Marketplace, Zune.net streaming and Zune video on Xbox -- is simply for routine maintenance. It's not in prepration for launch of a rumored "Zune phone." Nor is it related to the release of Zune services on Apple's iPhone/iPad. And it's not part of the promised introduction of a number of new features (like bringing Smart DJ to the Zune HD or the addition of AVI/XVID video support). (Those already-announced new features will be rolled out later this spring, officials restated.)
Here's what the Softies are saying:
"(T)he Zune service (Zune Pass, Zune Marketplace, Zune.net streaming and Zune video on Xbox) will be unavailable for a short time ... to accommodate regularly scheduled maintenance. The Zune service will be offline starting at 10 pm on Monday, January 25 and we anticipate all Zune services will be available again within 24 hours. We wanted to get the word out so that you and your readers are not surprised by the pause in service. As with previous updates, we recommend users download any new music, videos or podcasts and sync Zune Pass content they want prior to the downtime, otherwise they’ll have to wait until the service is back up to download new content. Content already stored in their PC or Xbox HDD will remain available during the downtime.
"Once the Zune service is restored, users will be prompted to update their PC software. Additionally, owners with older Zune devices (4, 8, 16, 30, 80, 120 GB) will need to update the device firmware to allow continued connection to the Zune service. Zune HD owners will not have to update the device firmware."
I asked (one more time, just to be sure) whether there was any other reason for the downtime and was told it's just "plain, old maintenance."