Microsoft to Launch New Music and Video Service?

By Beecher Tuttle March 09, 2011

The Web world is currently abuzz with a rumor that Microsoft may be taking yet another crack at the digital media business with a new music service codenamed "Ventura."

Sources told ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley that Ventura is being developed by Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices unit, and will revolve around "music/video discovery and consumption." The service is expected to be similar to Pandora, as it will reportedly provide ratings, recommendations and user comments.

Foley backed up her tipsters' findings with a recent Microsoft job posting for a software development engineer that mentions the Ventura Media Services group by name.

"We are Ventura Media Services -- an agile team working on the beginning of some very large scale projects," reads the job posting. "The team is a tight group of music and video lovers that create services and experiences revolving around music/video discovery and consumption."

Microsoft has made a couple of attempts to break into this industry over the last few years, including the launch of Zune, a music player and social networking service that lets users share songs with their friends, among other features. The Zune Player and Marketplace are still around, but are far from popular with consumers.

The software giant made an even earlier move in 2000 when it acquired MongoMusic, maker of a music recommendation engine, for a reported $65 million. Microsoft was never able to get the Pandora-like service off the ground, but the fact that the company owns the technology could possibly help them launch Ventura.

If the rumor is accurate, and Microsoft is building a new digital media-focused service, does this spell the end for the company's struggling Zune product, or will Ventura simply augment it in some way? Will the service be offered via Windows-based handsets? Stay tuned -- it's all still speculation at this point.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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