MidemNet delegates were today (Jan. 20) given an insight into software juggernaut Microsoft's plans to become a music business powerhouse.

During a candid podium conversation during the opening day of MidemNet, Chris Stephenson, GM, global marketing entertainment business, Microsoft, said the corporation was passionate about its large-scale entry into music.

"We're working very closely with the industry," he noted. "There's lots of talk about DRM and interoperability going on. We are in all those discussions and we're going to do whatever we can to grow the market."

Stephenson added, "We want to support the industry. Whatever is right with the industry is where we'll be."

Stephenson also whetted the appetite of international executives with a guideline to the European rollout of the Zune digital music player. "Zune is on the roadmap for Q4," he said. "We haven't finalized markets right now, but in the next month or so, we should be clearer on it."

And smaller, flash players are "really important" to Microsoft's hardware offering. "Expect to see a broader range of devices in Q4," including wireless features, he noted.