Microsoft's Xbox Music wants to be a contender
If you are bound to Windows platforms, Xbox Music has the best of Spotify, Pandora, iTunes and your personal CD collection in it. If you're not so Windows lovin' Microsoft wants you, too. So, with iTunes Radio and the culmination of a couple of weeks of mobile device madness leading up to the iPhone 5 launch tomorrow, Microsoft is taking the former Zune Pass onto iOS and Android devices.
And, that's not all. Xbox Music will be integrated into Bing Smart Search for Windows 8.1. So, if you search for a song and pick it from the results, it will automatically play in the Xbox Music app.
Xbox Music is a successor to Zune Pass and so, it predates the cool guys like Spotify. It hasn't really gotten the respect it deserves since its launch last year but it hasn't been a year, and it was, frankly, way too Windows-y.
Could the announcement of Xbox Music's availability as a native application on iOS and Android have something to do with the fact that Microsoft hasn't had much to crow about while the rest of the mobile world has been preening all over the place and we've all been going nuts for Galaxy Gears, iPhone 5s, and Nexus 7s? Probably, but why knock a good product.
The market for this product is pretty crowded. Even Amazon is rumored to be considering a streaming audio gadget. But, Xbox Music is a pretty complete product although different features don't make it to different devices so, you have to do some digging around to find out how complete on your device. For instance, the personalized radio station option is only running on Windows 8.
So, Microsoft has a pretty good product. They were actually innovating in the space way before any of the names that dominate it today. Now they are trying to play nice with other devices so that they can make a splash. Or, they may have just needed to have something to counter-announce against Apple. Too cynical? I did say it is a good product.