Microsoft has just announced the launch of its own music streaming service called XBox Music, which will be initially available on Windows based devices after the launch of Windows 8 towards the end of the month and Xbox.
Microsoft also plans to launch apps for iOS and Android, though it is not clear when they will be released.
Microsoft will be offering an ad-supported version of the streaming service, which will be available in 15 countries at launch and also a premium ad-free service called Xbox Music Pass for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year, which will be available in 22 countries at launch.
Microsoft will also offer a music store like iTunes that will allow users to buy tracks they want to own. Microsoft also plans to offer an iTunes Match like service that will allow users to upload their music collection to the cloud.
Xbox Music comes with more than 30 million songs in its global catalogue and will first go live on the Xbox on October 16 with the next Xbox Live update. It will then be available on Windows 8 desktop and tablets on October 26 and will be available on Windows Phone mobile devices shortly after that.
Janko Roettgers of GigaOM who got a chance to speak to Jerry Johnson, General Manager of Xbox Music had this to say:
Jerry Johnson, general manager of Xbox Music, wasn’t able to tell me exactly when the apps for those two platforms are going to come out, but the sense that I took away from the briefing was that his team is working on making it happen sooner rather than later. Xbox Music on Android and iOS will look very much like Xbox Music on Windows Phone 8, which itself in many ways follows the style formerly known as Metro.
Music is one of the most used application on iOS devices, and it is quite clear from today’s announcement that Microsoft does not want any stone unturned as it gears up for the launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. In fact, by offering a streaming music service, it has upped the ante against Apple, which has been rumored to be working on a similar music streaming service.