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August 25, 2006

Toshiba building Zune for Microsoft?

Posted by David Hunter at 2:13 PM ET.

There was no expectation that Microsoft would build their Zune personal media player without 3rd party help, but there has been no clear delineation of the others involved. The curtain was lifted a bit today by an FCC filing from Toshiba as Ina Fried reports at CNET:

Microsoft’s forthcoming Zune player is shooting to be the life of the party, allowing users to create mobile social networks and stream music to nearby friends or strangers, according to a government regulatory filing.

Zune owners can act as their own DJ, sending streaming music content to up to four other devices, according to documents filed Thursday with the Federal Communications Commission. With the device’s wireless networking abilities turned on, people can send and receive photos, as well as “promotional copies of songs, albums and playlists,” according to the filing.

Hardware maker Toshiba filed the FCC documents. However, the filing contains multiple references to the hard drive-based media player as “Zune,” as well as other code names, such as Argo and Pyxis.

Those do sound a bit familiar.

A Microsoft representative was not immediately able to comment on the FCC filing or whether Toshiba is, in fact, making the Zune device.

CNET has some photos from the FCC Web site as does The Register who has one with the Zune logo. I guess I shouldn’t have been so skeptical about the Gizmodo story that the Zune looked like a re-skinned Toshiba Gigabeat.

Update: Microsoft’s Cesar Menendez confirms:

The report is legitimate.

Toshiba is our manufacturing partner for Zune.

He also says that full Zune details will be forthcoming in the “next few weeks.”

Filed under Argo, Coopetition, Microsoft, Toshiba, Zune

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