Microsoft to launch Xbox Music in the wake of Windows 8

As the countdown for the launch of Windows 8 reaches its last few weeks, The Verge has reported that Microsoft will be launching its Xbox Music service on 26 October, one day after Windows 8 is expected to be launched globally and on the day the OS will be available worldwide.

Sources told the publication that subscriptions, such as Microsoft's current Zune Music Pass, will be joined by a free, ad-supported streaming music service à la Spotify. The service will reportedly be available on Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Xbox 360. There's no word yet on whether it will be supported on Windows RT or on previous versions of Windows.

As expected, Xbox Music, which is set to compete with Sony’s Music Unlimited service, will feature seamless integration with Skydrive, allowing customers to save their music tracks and playlists in the Cloud and access them from different platforms. Microsoft is said to be considering offering the service on other competing mobile platforms, though nothing firm has been decided yet.

An Xbox dashboard update is expected to be rolled out prior to the launch of the service and it is likely to bring updated versions of the Music and Video apps as well.