Microsoft launches Xbox Music apps for Apple's iOS, Google's Android

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is rolling out native Xbox Music applications for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, offering premium subscribers on-demand streaming access to more than 30 million songs.

Xbox Music is now available on Apple's iOS platform.

The cloud-based Xbox Music launched in October 2012 and is pre-installed on devices running Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. The free iOS and Android apps support cross-platform mobile access in conjunction with the ad-free Xbox Music Pass subscription service, priced at $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. According to Microsoft, consumers may now add songs to their library on their Xbox console and play back those songs on an iOS, Android or Windows Phone 8 device. Mobile users may also create playlists that sync across multiple device platforms and listen to artist-based radio stations.

Microsoft said it plans to enhance the iOS and Android apps in the coming months by adding an offline mode letting users listen to their Xbox Music library without an Internet or data connection. The company is also rolling out a free web-based streaming interface for the desktop.

Microsoft first indicated plans to release Xbox Music apps for iOS and Android last fall, shortly after the service went live. The company's ill-fated Zune Music, which Xbox Music replaced, was strictly limited to Microsoft hardware.

The Xbox Music expansion heralds Microsoft's latest move to port its core services and brands to the iOS and Android platforms. This summer, Microsoft extended its signature Office productivity suite to both mobile operating systems, allowing Office 365 subscribers to access Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the go. The firm is also licensing its Age of Empires real-time strategy game franchise for release across the Apple and Google platforms.

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