Microsoft's Online Streaming Service Faces Delay Says Report

Microsoft's answer to free online streaming music service, Spotify, is set to face an undetermined delay for unknown reasons.

The Telegraph, which originally broke the story, quotes a Microsoft spokesperson saying that “In the coming months, MSN [Microsoft’s news and entertainment portal] is planning a new music service in beta via its [MSN] Music channel in the UK. At this stage we won’t be confirming the details behind this but more information will be available soon and will be communicated in due course.”

It is not known whether Microsoft is planning to launch the free music service at the same time as its new video on demand service, a revamped MSN Video, which will also be free.

But it also looks like premium versions, for both services, will be proposed which will offer ad-free content as well as potentially other advantages such as higher bitrate and DRM free download for music or HD quality and portable video format for video.

Microsoft appears to be radically changing the way it packages online services and seems to be emulating Google's strategy to become more successful.

The company has adopted Flash, which rivals its own Silverlight platform. It chose to dump digital rights management on the videos and and rely more on advertising as a source of financing for the services.