Microsoft’s Zune marketplace and software are fantastic, and have been for years. Unfortunately, hardly anyone outside of the United States has been able to use them. Even Canadians were left in the cold while Microsoft wet its feet in the digital distribution business. However, with the October 11 release of the Zune Software 4.7 update — designed to comply with Windows Phone 7 devices — the company has significantly expanded the reach of the platform.
Softpedia reports that Microsoft has updated its Zune availability page to include a bevy of new countries including: Canada, United Kingdom, United States, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Singapore, New Zealand, India, Hong Kong SAR, and Australia. All of these countries have access to the Zune software, Zune Marketplace, and Zune Social (think Ping). Brazil is also listed as having access to the software, but not Marketplace or Social.
This change in availability is thanks almost entirely to the inclusion of Zune software in Windows Phone 7. Once tied to Zune MP3 Player devices, the Zune software is now a platform of sorts, powering media services on the Microsoft Xbox and Phone 7. In addition, with Windows 7, many Windows media capabilities have been redesigned to resemble the Zune interface.
You can download Zune Software 4.7 for free here. Personally, I think it is one of the better media players on the market and a step above iTunes in many ways. What are your media player preferences?