updated 11:30 am EDT, Mon October 24, 2011
HTC Listen store to shutter October 31
HTC took a rare step away from its bent on creating a full ecosystem by planning a shutdown for its Listen music store. The store will face a hard shutdown as of October 31 with shopping and downloads unavailable. Listeners who had bought tracks but wanted to download them were asked to get the tracks now, although they're protection-free and can be copied elsewhere.
Those on T-Mobile's networks will have the alternative of T-Mobile's own music store, HTC offered as a consolation.
An exit for Listen is unusual as it follows a string of deals HTC has made to boost its own content and create an Apple-like media platform. It bought a controlling stake in Saffron Digital that ultimately led to both Listen and the Watch movie store. HTC likewise spent $40 million investing in OnLive to get mobile streaming gaming on its devices.
A closure raises the probability that the store wasn't viable for HTC. Competition from Apple may have been a factor, but Listen would also have had to face Amazon MP3 and other more established stores. Its Watch service has had a better chance as, until Google's own Videos app gained movie rental support, Android has had little in the way of broadly available video stores, unlike iOS.