TWICE (This Week In Consumer Electronics) Magazine's Amy Gilroy reports that Microsoft's forthcoming $299 Zune digital audio players will have Wi-Fi, but not for the purpose you may be thinking.
Retailers interviewed by Gilroy tell her that Zune will allow users to bookmark songs that can be shared with other users via Wi-Fi, but that the device will not offer the capability of purchasing songs over a Wi-Fi connection.
For that purpose, users will have to go the old-fashioned route: use their PC to purchase songs via the Web, download them to their PC, and then execute a file transfer to the Zune.
It sounds to me that security concerns are holding over-the-air transactional capabilities up. If that's true, I'd like to see Microsoft and the music labels push a little harder to overcome these obstacles. I just hope this isn't the case of a bunch of Luddite, worrywort copyright-absolutist attorneys standing in the way of innovative technology.
If that's the reality, don't tease us with Wi-Fi for song sharing, Microsoft. If you are going to introduce Wi-Fi in Zune, Microsoft, do it full measure or not at all. And if it takes pushing the copyright industry hard enough to like it or lump it, MSFT you know how to push. Just do it.