Microsoft is bringing its Zune Pass service to the UK, confirming reports from back in July that it was going to do so.
The Zune Pass will, as we suspected, cost £8.99 a month, and will provide unlimited downloading and streaming of music to Windows PCs, upcoming Windows Phone 7 devices and Xbox Live.
While Microsoft said that the service will be rolling out internationally, at the moment what it offers in different countries is variable as it has to deal with local rights issues.
The Zune Pass subscription service will also be rolled out in France, Italy and Spain, but while in the US customers on the $14.99 package are able to permanently keep 10 tracks a month, the equivalent won’t be offered in the Europe.
If you want to buy music outright you’ll be able to in the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany and the format will be standard MP3.
UK Xbox Live Gold customers will also be able to either rent, or download to own movies on their Xbox, Windows machines and also sync them to Windows Phone 7 devices.
Microsoft said it has upgraded the Zune software to version 4.7 and added new features and that it will act as the Windows Phone 7 synchronisation software.
Overall it seems like a convincing, integrated offering from Microsoft, giving it a firm alternative to iTunes and making Windows Phone 7 a much more enticing prospect. Indeed with its installed base on Xbox 360’s one could argue that it has a much better offering than Cupertino does with Apple TV and with music streaming support to Windows Phone 7, it's also ahead Apple in that regard too.