Microsoft replaces failed Zune with ‘Xbox Music’ service to take on Apple

“Microsoft Corp on Monday announced that Xbox Music, a digital music service to vie with Apple Inc’s iTunes and Amazon.com Inc’s Cloud Player, will be available for its Xbox game consoles on Tuesday,” Malathi Nayak reports for Reuters.

“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,” Nayak reports. “It will be expanded to phones shortly after that. The world’s largest software maker has been trying for years to make the household living room an entertainment hub with its Xbox. More than 67 million units have been sold since 2005.”

MacDailyNews Take: Reuters, by what measure exactly is Microsoft “the world’s largest software company?”

Apple Inc. produces a copious amount of award-winning software, not to mention the world’s most advanced operating systems, desktop and mobile, and, as the world’s most valuable company, is worth 2.5 times Microsoft.

Nayak reports, “Xbox Music replaces Microsoft’s digital media brand Zune that struggled to compete with iTunes.”

MacDailyNews Take: Well, there’s a prime candidate for the understatement of the young century so far.

Nayak reports, “Microsoft will offer a free ad-supported music streaming service, and a premium $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 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.”

Read more in the full article here.

31 Comments

    1. Xbox is a hugely profitable venture for Microsoft. The Xbox Live service makes lots of coin.

      Smart move by Microsoft. Successful? We’ll see. Not even trying isn’t much of an option.

      1. Microsoft could really use some help with branding. Just as their phone OS shouldn’t be called Windows (there’s no windows on it!) to rebrand their “Zune” failures “Xbox” across all their devices just doesn’t make sense. The Xbox is a device. I’m actually a bit surprised that they didn’t name the original Xbox the “Windows Game” or something stupid since they insist to tack “windows” onto everything as if it is actually a desirable brand.

        1. Not sure I follow? The new UI is the new Windows across the 3 platforms? I like their chances on this one as we all know that the next XBox will be something pretty special not that the current on isn’t but I just get a feeling that they will know our sox off when the new one hits the street. There is no doubt that delaying a new XBox this long is caused by something greater than we can imagine.

          I am all for a healthy MSFT as Apple and MSFT already have great cross pollination agreements in play. Android will be kicked to the curb in the next 2 years. Samsung sans Apple will probably ride with Windows phone or maybe they buy QNX from RIM but Droid will die a slow death via Moto.

          There is a lot of great talent on this earth and no doubt both Apple and MSFT do what they can to attract it to their respective company.

          1. Yes, they have tacked the Metro UI on Windows desktop (and EVEN Server 2012 which is insane), but that is more out of them trying to make this mess appear cohesive rather than anything that makes sense. The first thing I have done on all the Windows 8 machines that I have been burdened with (once I tired of dealing with Metro and being jostled back and forth between the interfaces) is edit the RPEnabled registry key to get the old Start menu back. I expect MANY people to do the same – It wouldn’t surprise me if MS eventually makes it a setting within the control panel UI.

            Metro on the tablet and the phone is not as bad, although I feel it works much better on the phone than it does on the tablet due to the off screen gestures and lack of visual cues when using the tablets. I have had early access to a few Windows 8 tablets (and still do), and trust me, the experience is not an elegant one.

            The point I was trying to make is that saddling the “Windows” brand on the phone is simply due to branding, just as changing “Zune” to “Xbox music” is just an attempt at leveraging the Xbox brand, but it doesn’t really make sense.

          1. Agreed, and many of us have long thought that should change. But, they didn’t name it “iPod store”, or call the iPad “iPod tablet”.

            iTunes sort of evolved into being more than I think Apple originally thought it would. In this case, MS has a chance to rebrand their service across all their platforms, and they chose to call it “Xbox Music”. Even something like “MS Music Service” or “Windows Music” (since they love branding things with Windows so much) would probably make more sense.

  1. What a ludicrous name! I can just hear the issues now. Does that mean the music only plays on Xbox? What happens to my xbox music if Microsoft changes the name of their game console to something else? Such idiots at Microsoft. Must be Balmer the palmer’s naming idea. Send in the clown!

  2. I have no problem with Microsoft attempting to follow other companies and edge into new markets, not that I will follow.

    Looking at it from a user perspective, though, Microsoft looks like a company run by old fat men who try to sound hip by creating strange names like Zune for various types of products that don’t seem to resonate with younger people.

    Microsoft has a hangover they may never escape, which virtually everyone has had to deal with and will never forget from the pit of their stomach which has caused so much trouble and time loss: BSOD!

    Zune, Windows (on everything) & BSOD amongst many negative words to me at least, illustrate the lingering legacy feelings which limit Microsoft. Given their Board of Directors and heavy handed CEO, I suspect they have convinced themselves of the supremacy of their intellect & decisions based on their former supermajority market share position they held in personal computing devices which has just evaporated in the last half decade.

    Microsoft “thought” of tablets and phones over a decade ago, but the comfortable overweight management never was capable of being COMMITTED to the new era they saw in the mist and drive fast forward.

    Microsoft is destined to be broken up, one way or another.

  3. Good fair points. Ballmer at 56 is also young in terms of CEO’s but we are talking about leading tech companies which appear to target younger users these days.

    This said, MSFT and Apple will always be relevant regardless of who steers the ship but not so sure about the likes go Google, Android, Facebook, Twitter etc..

  4. X-box 360 user base is around 40 – 50 million, iOS user base is 400 million.

    Even back in December 2010, Apple reported that people were buying or renting over 500K TV shows or movies PER DAY from iTunes.

    Any new online music/media service has a long, long way to go and Microsoft in particular has been failing at this game for a decade now.

  5. I am tending to agree with your two posts today,Kool Aid.

    I am an Apple user (and have just bought another 5 shares a few moments ago).

    This website does seem to be lacking in balance sometimes.

    I don’t agree that Tim Cook, who is in his ’50’s, is “old” but the hysteria against anything that might just be sightly anti Apple is getting boring.

  6. desperation on the part of MS.

    When all else fails, trick the user into “free” services, whih of course are ad-supported crapware that feeds low bitrate pre-canned crap.

    Or get the subscription to remove the ads, which is exactly what MS has been dying to do for many years now. Get the sheep hooked on the “cloud”, then start the software & sevice rental until everyone’s a dumb terminal user. so predictable.

    Apple at least still offers the option of a user buying and managing his own media files, within acceptable use policy, of course. But let’s hope it isn’t killed in the race to the bottom. Would HATE to see Apple odder yet another subscription-based music “service”. Music is too important to be treated as a dumb utility.

  7. a Windows-only music store is DOA. 99% of the portable media players in the world (including phones) can’t use that. after Windows phone/tablets, it will still be 98%. is there a web-only MP3 option?

  8. They failed way early on by NOT making a Zune phone when Apple first released the iPhone. Windows 8 is merely the Zune operating system tweaked. Unfortunately it took them this long to figure it out; a day late and billion’s short. Microsoft could have been in the game a long time ago had they listened to everyone on the outset.. But what do the people know as Microsoft never really listen’s to the end user’s. (Hopefully, now they will.)

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