Microsoft to take on iTunes and Spotify (and invariably fail miserably)
Microsoft is, for some reason, going to launch an online music/video store and music subscription service to compete with the likes of Apple and Spotify. It really does seem like the Microsoft braintank has done nothing but stare vacantly out of a window, wondering which popular thing to copy next.
Anyway, this new store thing will be ignored by many under the Zune brand. Remember that? That was the name of the music player they released in 2006 which got its arse kicked by the iPod and, well, just about everything else.
This Zune marketplace will apparently offer 8m songs at prices that Microsoft are describing as "competitive", which seems daft. They should be describing them as "much cheaper" if they want to change people's buying habits.
What's more interesting (but still likely to fail) is the Zune Pass service, which will set you back £8.99 per month (or €9.99 in Europe) which allows unlimited downloads and streaming of music from Zune Marketplace. However, the minute you stop paying your subscription, the songs you've paid for are deleted, which is a crock of shit isn't it?
Alex Reeve, the Microsoft UK director of mobile business, told the Guardian: "Subscriptions offer flexibility. It will be fascinating to see what the uptake is, but we don't know at present."
It seems that this Zune gubbins will be aimed at Xbox360 users, but sadly, as most users are under 16 and you'll need a credit card to buy a pass, it could well fail miserably. This whole thing could work because Microsoft aren't utterly hopeless, but it really does look like this is the latest in a line of projects that make Microsoft look hopelessly out of step.