Microsoft to take on Apple, Spotify with Xbox Music service

Updated: 2012-10-16
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Microsoft is set to take on Apple's iTunes, Amazon and Spotify with a new music service. 
Called Xbox Music, the service will let people stream music to their computer, phone and games console. 
There will be a free version with ads for computer users, or a paid version (£8.99 or $9.99 per month) with no ads for computer, phone and console owners. 

Microsoft's new Xbox Music service will allow users to listen on the console, computer and phone, and will take on iTunes and Spotify
The service will be expanded to Windows software-based computers and tablets, including the upcoming Surface tablet, from October 26, when Microsoft launches Windows 8.

It will be expanded to phones shortly after that. 
The firm hopes that my allowing people to access the same service on phones, computers and tablets, it can compete with Apple's iTunes download service and Spotify's streaming service.

The launch of Xbox Music is a milestone in simplifying digital music on every type of device and on a global scale,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. 
'We’re breaking down the walls that fracture your music experiences today to ensure that music is better and integrated across the screens that you care about most — your tablet, PC, phone and TV.'

About 18 months ago, the company realized that Xbox users were spending half to 60 percent of their time on entertainment services rather than video gaming, Xbox Music general manager Jerry Johnson said. 
'We also realise, as an entertainment company, that music is an important ingredient on its own and as a part of different user experiences,' Johnson said. 
Xbox Music replaces Microsoft's digital media brand Zune that struggled to compete with iTunes. 
Microsoft will offer a free ad-supported music streaming service, and a premium £8.99 ($9.99) subscription service for unlimited, ad-free streaming. 
The service includes a download-to-own music store with over 30 million songs in its global catalog, more than iTunes' library of over 26 million songs. 
It also carries over 70,000 music videos, available only on the Xbox console. 
It has cloud-storage features similar to iTunes and Amazon Cloud Player and an artist-based radio function like music streaming services Pandora and Spotify. 
Xbox Music will be available in 22 countries.

Microsoft hopes to take the service to Apple iOS and Google Inc Android devices next year. 
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