Itching to compete with iTunes, Microsoft is rolling out a new music player by embedding it into the company's devices and software, the New York Times reports. Called Xbox Music, it will offer a catalog of 30 million songs for purchase, a Pandora-style radio station, and a Spotify-like option to hear music for free with visual and audio ads. Microsoft hopes the service will gain traction by being embedded in Windows 8 software, Windows Phones, and Xboxes—as long as regulators don't mind.
"I assume they’ve done their due diligence" to please regulators, says a music analyst in Europe, where Microsoft has waged antitrust battles for 10 years. Other analysts say Xbox Music will live or die based on the products that carry it, for they are the real customer draw. Xbox Music "is not going to matter if no one wants the devices," says one. If true, its fate depends on Xbox—which is hugely popular—as well as the struggling Windows Phone and the new OS due out later this month.