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My Zune questions

Last week, in my oddly popular post about the Wall Street Journal's unsatisfying review of the new Microsoft Zune, I listed several questions that I wish the Journal had asked. I also promised to press Microsoft for a response. As it happens, reader Adam came through with answers well before the sleepy Redmond giant did. Nevertheless, I did ultimately get Microsoft's official line from Terry Farrell, Senior Product Manager for Zune. So after the jump, I give you a cut-and-paste Q&A with Terry's answers and, for those who missed them earlier, Andy's.

Q: How reliably do the Zune and Zune Pass handle subscription downloads? Portability has been a sore spot for other subscription services, and if the Zune can provide rock-solid synching, that would be a huge plus.

A (Terry): Since Zune is built as a managed, end-to-end ecosystem, we've optimized Zune Pass integration across all our devices and software, ensuring a seamless user experience.

A (Andy): The syncing with subscription content is top-notch. On the old software, you could drag-and-drop directly from the marketplace into the sync window and it would then download and sync them over. I haven't used the new marketplace that much, but so far, it's been the same.

Q: Microsoft has started offering MP3s at the Zune Marketplace, but those aren't available for downloading through the Zune Pass. Does that mean subscribers can't listen to those tracks (and there are tens of thousands of them) without buying th


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Times editorial writer Jon Healey pens opinion pieces about a variety of business issues, and blogs about technologies that are changing the entertainment industry's business model.

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