Microsoft building Xbox Music apps for iOS, Android
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will introduce its new Xbox Music on Oct. 26, initially targeting Xbox 360 consoles before expanding the streaming service to tablets and PCs running Windows 8 and Windows RT, as well as smartphones powered by the forthcoming Windows Phone 8. Microsoft is also planning to support rival platforms, including Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android.
The cloud-based Xbox Music--which will arrive pre-installed on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8--offers free, ad-supported access to more than 30 million streaming tracks. Consumers may also opt for Xbox Music Pass, which offers ad-free listening, offline access and music videos for $9.99 per month. Microsoft also will sell premium MP3s via the new Xbox Music Store and introduce Smart DJ, which generates playlists inspired by the user's favorite artists. Beginning next year, Microsoft additionally will launch cloud storage efforts and social sharing features.
Microsoft will expand Xbox Music across multiple platforms in the year ahead. Jerry Johnson, general manager of Xbox Music, told GigaOM that the company is building native applications for iOS and Android--no timetable was specified, but Johnson promised user experiences similar to those coming to Windows Phone 8 when the revamped mobile OS goes live later this year. Microsoft's ill-fated Zune Music, which Xbox Music replaces, was strictly limited to Microsoft hardware.
Microsoft will not roll out Xbox Music apps for Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7, but will offer legacy devices access to the same catalog of music. "Windows 7 will still have the old Zune client," Johnson told The Verge. "That client will have access based on the subscriptions and the content that anyone purchased and that content can flow forward to Windows 8 but we're not touching that client just now… It's a very different feature set but you'll have access to the same content."
Microsoft first announced Xbox Music in June. The company halted development of Zune devices in March 2011.
Microsoft revamps app search with rebranded Windows Phone Store
Report: Microsoft struggling to keep Windows Phone 8 release on schedule
Microsoft limits in-app purchasing to Windows Phone 8
Microsoft reveals Office features coming to Windows Phone
Microsoft Windows Phone 8 offers fancy features, leaves existing devices behind
Microsoft rolls out SmartGlass SDK for cross-platform Xbox apps