Microsoft dropped a bombshell as the executive producer of MSN, the software giant's online internet portal, revealed that the company would be releasing a free streaming music service by the end of July.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Peter Bale, reckoned that “Music is an important area for Microsoft. We are looking at launching a music streaming service imminently." Bale ominously mentioned spotify, saying that it would worked according to a similar principle but they are still examining how the business model will work.
Like for Spotify, listeners will be able to download the music they want to keep. Microsoft shut down its MSN Music download service back in 2006, two years after it was launched. However, it did maintain a partnership with Nokia which allowed it to offer music downloads in the UK and in Germany through its MSN portal.
It is very, very likely that Microsoft will use the new service to push its forthcoming ZuneHD media player - which would only be available in the US for now - and will integrate its popular Xbox 360 gaming platform in the mix, morphing the console into an entertainment hub for the family home.
One can expect Microsoft to have talks with all the main record companies as well as more than independent labels.
Ina Fried, from Cnet, also says that Microsoft ought to use the technology it gained through the acquisition in November 2007 of Musiwave, a French music application service provider for mobiles, for only $46 million.
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The service will be offered via its music channel and reminds us of Yahoo! Music unlimited, which was an on-demand online music service that was discontinued back in September 2008. Users had to pay a subscription fee to access the service though.
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