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Microsoft Nabs NBC For TV Shows on Zune

Microsoft said it will start offering television shows for its Zune portable media device, more than two years after Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) introduced the feature for its iPod player.

Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Zune has one thing that Apple's market-defining iPod and accompanying iTunes store does not -- TV programs from General Electric's (NYSE: GE) NBC Universal.

Those shows and more than 800 television episodes including Comedy Central's "South Park" and MTV's "The Hills" will be available at the Zune store starting on Tuesday for the equivalent of $1.99 in Microsoft points that must be purchased in advance.

Last year, Apple split with NBC, removing the network's television shows from iTunes. Microsoft will carry NBC shows like "The Office" and "Heroes" for playback on the Zune, which has failed to dent the dominant market share of Apple's iPod since its 2006 debut.

The Zunes have video playback capability, but content available for the devices has been limited to music videos.

Since its public split with Apple, NBC has found itself a number of other partners looking to move in on Apple's turf. In September, NBC Universal TV began appearing on Amazon.com's digital video download service, Unbox.

NBC earlier this year also partnered with News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS) Fox unit to launch their own streaming video site, Hulu.