Microsoft's possible plans to improve or even remake its Zune service were uncovered in a leak on Tuesday. A project known as Ventura is developing services "revolving around musicvideo discovery and consumption" for some of the "most cutting edge media services," one job listing showed. Sources for ZDNet had seen mentions of a recommendation engine, ratings and comments.
It would be led by the Entertainment and Devices group that handles the Xbox and Zune. The specific project team was being managed by the Interactive Entertainment subdivision's services head, David Treadwell.
The extent of the service wasn't mentioned. At its minimum, it would flesh out the existing Zune Marketplace, which depends mostly on plays from friends in the Social as advice. They could also represent a much larger shift, however, and possibly a dissatisfaction with the Zune service that could remake it into something new.
Zune in hardware and software was originally designed to challenge iTunes and the iPod in 2006 but, combined, had a relatively tepid reaction that left at least the MP3 player hardware with just a small fraction of the market compared to the iPod. Microsoft eventually began deemphasizing the physical product in favor of the service and spread the video store to the Xbox 360. Both music and video eventually became cornerstones of Windows Phone 7 by letting users not only get a ready-made store but extra touches such as Wi-Fi sync and Zune Pass unlimited music streaming.