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Microsoft plans to update Zune HD software and service

Microsoft plans to launch updated Zune software and service when the Zune HD becomes available, Additionally, a Zune video service will be available on Xbox Live, Microsoft's marketplace for its Xbox game console and related products, later this year, the company said. While it had planned to drop all Zune models except for a new high-definition (HD) version that is due out in two weeks, the company confirmed Wednesday.

The company added that it will continue to offer the flash Zune 4GB, 8GB and 16GB devices and the 80GB and 120GB hard-drive devices until they are sold out except Zune HD, the Zune HD device which will be available Sept. 15 and features a touch screen, HD radio, HD video-out capabilities and an Internet browser will be the sole Zune device the company manufactures going forward.

The Zune HD, the first touch-screen version of Microsoft's multimedia player, is meant to bring the product on par with Apple's iPod Touch and give Microsoft a stronger competitor against other high-end MP3 and video players.

Zune HD faces other market challenges ahead of its launch Sept. 15. One is that Apple has scheduled a Sept. 9 press event at which many expect the company will move iTunes and the iPod products forward.

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