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paidContent - Top Microsoft Zune Marketing Executive Leaves For Universal Music

This story was written by Joseph Tartakoff.

Chris Stephenson, who has overseen global marketing for Microsoft’s Zune music player since its debut in 2006, is leaving Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) to join Universal Music, the WSJ reports. Stephenson confirms he is leaving to the WSJ. At Universal, he will lead marketing for Interscope Geffen A & M Records. We’ve reached out to Microsoft representatives for comment and will update if we hear back.

Stephenson’s departure comes less than a month before the next model of the Zune, the Zune HD, is set to launch. So far, the new Zune—which features a touch screen, high-definition video, and an internet browser—has gained mostly accolades among reviewers.

Under Stephenson’s watch, Microsoft lately seems to be pitching the Zune—along with its related services—as a more affordable alternative to Apple’s iPod. For instance, an ad that debuted this Spring pointed out that it would cost $30,000 to fill a 120 gigabyte iPod with songs, while Zune owners could access that much music for $14.99 a month via the Zune’s unlimited music subscription service. And Stephenson himself has said that the new Zune HD—which is priced at a discount to the iPod Touch—is directly targeting the iPod Touch.


By Joseph Tartakoff
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