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In an exclusive interview with Billboard magazine, Microsoft announced that it is launching a new portal music player and integrated music service under the umbrella brand Zune. According to Billboard: "The first implementation of this will be the portable music player and digital music service, in what is the company’s strongest effort yet to rein in Apple Computer’s iTunes/iPod juggernaut." The early implementation will include a Wi-Fi connection for wireless Internet access. "Additional Zune-branded devices will follow, including a portable video player and, potentially, a portable game device," Billboard reports. Record companies are said to be enthusiastic about the product and Microsoft's plans, which include a marketing and promotional budget close to Xbox’s US$500 million.

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