Users of new and old Microsoft Zune MP3 players could soon have access to a WiFi download store. In just the same way that iPod touch and iPhone users can download from iTunes via Wi-Fi, Zune owners could soon be downloading direct from the Zune Store to their players.

It's just speculation at the moment, but there are clues to be found in Microsoft's announcement of its intentions to buy Musiwave. It's is a leading provider of mobile music services to operators, and would most likely be used by Microsoft to provide the infrastructure of a new Zune Wi-Fi store.

Musiwave purchase points way

The acquisition would also bring Musiwave's relationships with music labels, device makers and mobile operators that deliver digital entertainment to consumers, together with Microsoft's Connected Entertainment technologies and services, including Zune, but also Windows Mobile, MSN and Windows Live.

"Microsoft and Musiwave share the same philosophy in working with hardware and mobile operator partners to deliver great experiences for mobile device users," said Pieter Knook, senior VP of the Mobile Communications Business at Microsoft.

"Bringing Musiwave on board would provide an opportunity for Microsoft to explore new areas in the mobile space previously untapped, and to showcase the power of software plus services. This contemplated acquisition reflects Microsoft's recognition of the software and technology expertise in Europe."

Zune to emulate iPod?

While Microsoft managed to get Wi-Fi into an MP3 player a year before Apple did, the wireless features available were severely limited. And that was one of its biggest flaws. But with the new Zune players shocking the brand back to life, Microsoft seems keen to maintain its forward momentum.

Certainly, it has to match Apple blow-for-blow at least in some areas, so emulating the success of the iTunes Wi-Fi store would certainly be a move in the right direction.

"Musiwave would bring key assets to us as we continue to bring our vision of Connected Entertainment to life," said J Allard, corporate vice president in charge of music at Microsoft.

"Its software expertise and extensive relationships with operators and music companies would help us take our products and services to the next level, giving people access to whatever entertainment content they want, whenever and however they want it."