Microsoft to make Xbox Music streaming freely available on web

11 Sep 2013


In a bid to boost customer numbers, Microsoft is making Xbox Music streaming service available even to those who do not use Windows 8.

The move is expected to boost the number of customers of its devices and services and could give it a leg up to compete with other digital music offerings like Pandora, Spotify and iTunes, Associated Press reported.

According to commentators, the move also comes as an acknowledgement that the music service had done much to drive sales of the Windows 8 operating system.

The The Wall Street Journal said in a column yesterday that the paper had reported in May, "The digital-music market also has grown considerably more active since Xbox Music rolled out a year ago. Apple and Google recently announced expansions of their music offerings into Web streaming options, and Amazon has been working on a gadget to stream audio through speakers or a TV set."

It said Microsoft pitches Xbox Music as a more complete product than the other digital-music services. It has features mirroring Spotify's subscription-music feature and iTunes' individual song sales, the option to meld songs from CD collections into the Xbox Music digital library, and coming soon Pandora-like ''radio stations'' built around personal musical tastes.

Michael Turits, an analysts with financial advisory firm Raymond James, told AP, the move represented another step toward Microsoft's goal of becoming a company that sold devices and services, rather than primarily software.

The move comes after Microsoft announced it would buy the mobile phone handset manufacturing business of Nokia Corp for $7.2 billion and that CEO Steve Ballmer would step down within 12 months.

In another report the news agency said, during a presentation at the GameStop Expo in Las Vegas to promote the upcoming Xbox One console last week, Microsoft opted for a no-frills, old-school approach during an interaction with a room full of passionate gamers.

Instead of flashy videos, sensational demonstrations and celebrity appearances, Xbox Live programming director Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb parried questions on stage from the crowd for 30 uninterrupted minutes, a refreshing reprieve in the backdrop of the critical barbs Microsoft had continued to endure since the company unveiled the Xbox One in May.

"Look, at Xbox, we really care about the community," Hryb replied in response to a point-blank query as to how Microsoft would win back consumers. "We're very focused on what is right for gamers. Everybody at Xbox is a gamer. It's not like we just show up, do our work and go home. We want to make this the best game system that you are going to own for the next 10 years."

The presentation came by way of an apology from  Microsoft, for having originally said, the successor to the Xbox 360 would be required to go online every 24 hours and limit how users could access previously purchased games.

However, a month down the line, citing feedback from consumers, Microsoft announced it decided not to implement such restrictions.

In a similar about turn, last month Microsoft declared that an updated version of its Kinect sensor, which detects motion and voice, would no longer be required to operate the Xbox One. Earlier, at events like the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the company had defended Kinect saying it was integral to  the Xbox One.

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