Will the UK Zune miss Christmas?

After we calmed down from the weekend excitement at the official confirmation of Microsoft’s MP3 player and music shop, we turned to the task of diggi

After we calmed down from the weekend excitement at the official confirmation of Microsoft’s MP3 player and music shop, we turned to the task of digging up info on a UK launch.

From what we’ve heard so far, it doesn’t seem there’s anyone this side of the pond working on Zune, leading us to fret about whether the project’s first gadget will reach our high streets in time for Christmas.

The UK PR team doesn’t know of any internal Microsoft employees involved with it, and Zune’s two bloggers are both based in America. The complications of international music licensing and the gadget’s proposed sharing powers also suggest we could have to wait until 2007.

For example, Chris Stephenson, the MSN man who officially announced Zune, has said we might be able to see and play other Zune owners’ tunes in the vicinity: a cool feature, but one which could involve rewriting licensing deals between bands and labels.

There is hope, though. Our handsome news editor, Will Findlater – yes, he of the velvet tones on the Stuff podcast – has been invited to a big Microsoft shindig in Seattle this October. It involves factory tours, which suggests hardware, which, well, suggests he’s going to play with Zune.

Since Saturday no hard facts have trickled out of the three-strong Zune family, although rumours have suggested it might dump PlaysForSure support for a new, incompatible, music format. More as we get it.