01 Nov Microsoft Takes Aim at iTunes
Microsoft rips a page from Spotify’s playbook to take on iTunes
October 30, 2012
From The Verge
Apple has been the king of the digital music world for most of the last decade, and its iTunes Store continues to dominate the online music industry despite recent challenges from Amazon and Google. The combination of a tightly-integrated storefront and killer hardware gave Apple a combination that other competitors were unable to match — but just as consumers started shifting from physical to digital media a decade ago, we’re at the beginning of another sea change in music. Companies like Spotify, MOG, and Rdio have emerged over the last few years, offering the promise of all the music you can handle anywhere you go, for the same price each month that you’d pay iTunes for a mere ten songs.
While Apple hasn’t yet mustered a response to this growing trend, sticking with its hugely successful virtual record store model, Microsoft just announced it’s ready to take on the streaming competition. The new Xbox Music is an all-in-one service that’s equal parts iTunes and Spotify — while Microsoft is keeping the same a la carte store that it has offered for years, it’s augmenting that with an updated version of its Zune Pass streaming service. For the first time, Microsoft will offer free, ad-supported streaming to anyone using a Windows 8 PC — just like Spotify — or a Windows 8 or RT tablet. There’s also a Pandora-style Smart DJ feature for making artist-specific “stations,” and for $9.99 a month, users can access also sync music to their Windows Phone 8 device and Xbox 360.