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Microsoft details flaw in its Zune

Microsoft's music and video player can't share some songs. Microsoft's music and video player can't share some songs. (GETTY IMAGES/file 2006)

SEATTLE -- Microsoft Corp.'s Zune music and video player, intended as a rival to Apple Inc.'s market-dominating iPod, can't share some songs, potentially eroding a key advantage over iPod.

Microsoft blamed the difficulty on the fact that "wireless sharing is a new experience and its implementation is in a version 1.0 stage," according to a statement e-mailed yesterday. The statement denied reports that record companies such as Universal Music Group are preventing sharing of some artists.

Microsoft, the world's biggest software maker, in November introduced the Zune, touting its ability to wirelessly share songs and play lists for three plays or three days, a feature the iPod doesn't have.

"The whole sharing feature was limited to begin with and the fact that some songs can't be shared even in this limited fashion makes this feature even less compelling," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at JupiterResearch in New York.

The company said prior to Zune's introduction that some songs wouldn't be able to be shared, Gartenberg said. "They never said what percentage of the total songs would be blocked and it seems a fairly significant percentage of songs people want to share are being blocked," he said.

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