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Microsoft Enters Streaming Music Biz

Despite steep licensing fees and a crammed marketplace, Microsoft is getting into the streaming music business.

“Its new Xbox Music service will soon become available on the Xbox Live service, as well as on Windows 8 tablets and PCs and Windows Phone mobile devices over the coming weeks,” TechCrunch reports.

How will Microsoft set its service apart from the fray? “Xbox Music is baked into every single copy of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8,” BuzzFeed writes. “In other words, free access to 30 million songs is built into Windows 8, as part of the default music player.”

GigaOm suggests that the offering could represent Microsoft’s “first serious attempt to take on both Spotify and iTunes.”

In particular, “It will also give Microsoft a selling point over Apple, which dominates sales of downloaded music but has yet to offer free streaming,” The Wall Street Journal points out.

“The world's largest software maker has been trying for years to make the household living room an entertainment hub with its Xbox,” notes Reuters. “More than 67 million units have been sold since 2005.”

Regarding Xbox Music, CNet writes: “While it's easy to write it off as another ‘me too’ digital music platform, it's surprisingly comprehensive.”

As The Verge reports, however, “Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7 users will not be able to access the new service.” The restriction could help to drive adoption of Windows 8, or backfire and alienate consumers.

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