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Leaks: Microsoft rebooting music service on Xbox, new phone

updated 07:20 pm EST, Fri February 17, 2012

Microsoft tries rework of Zune music strategy

Microsoft is looking to redo its music service strategy, leaks uncovered Friday. Those said close to major label discussions told CNET that Microsoft was aiming for a mix of streaming and downloads. The focus would be on the Xbox and an unnamed Windows Phone, possibly made by HTC or Nokia.

Progress was still young, and the exact details weren't yet ready, according to the people relaying information. Both the service and the phone could be ready by the end of the year.

It's not clear how this would differ from the Zune Marketplace and the Zune Pass, both of which cover the pay-per-track and streaming businesses. Emphasizing a particular device could be a shift towards mobile. One possibility is a need to renegotiate to get real currency pricing and drop the arbitrary points system.

Microsoft has had trouble getting traction for its attempts at music services. After the short life of MSN Music, it launched what would be the Zune Marketplace in sync with the Zune MP3 player. Partly because the devices themselves never got more than a small amount of share and have since been cleared out, the store has often been marginalized. Efforts to increase its standing through Windows Phone and Xbox 360 also haven't borne fruit given both Windows Phone's small stake and the lack of incentive to listen to music on a TV console.

Microsoft faces pressure both from iTunes, which dominates online music as a whole, as well as Internet subscription services like Rdio, Slacker, and Spotify. These have often had similar features and haven't been limited to Microsoft platforms.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    I thought...

    people were beating down the door trying to get the phone that nobody wants.

    They might as well fold it up and stop making landfill material.

  1. Jubeikiwagami

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2011


    Do it

    Need to find a reason to spend all that automatic profits. ;-)

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Stuck in the 20th century

    Re: "Microsoft has had trouble getting traction for its attempts at music services."

    Microsoft has had trouble getting traction in anything other than Windows + Office. With the small exception of Kinect, but that's barely enough to bring the Xbox division back into profitability.

    And MSFT has had trouble getting traction on NASDAQ. Barely any change since Ballmer took over. Eleven years ago. No innovation = no stock growth. Microsoft is blindly backing into the future, looking to the immediate past, where Apple has just been, for inspiration.

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