Microsoft has been a little late to the party with its cloud storage offerings – at least, when compared to that which one can do on competing services from Google and Amazon, to name a few.
However, Microsoft appears to be a bit closer to catching up if the latest batch of cloud-themed rumors prove true. According to information obtained by the LiveSide, Microsoft is allegedly gearing up to slap a music player within its SkyDrive service.
In other words, Microsoft is close to unleashing a cloud-based music locker. This would presumably allow those who have stored audio files on SkyDrive to play their tunes from any browser or SkyDrive-friendly mobile app. However, it's unclear just how Microsoft's rumored service will integrate – if at all – with it's recently launched Xbox Music service.
Here's the source of the confusion: Xbox Music, as launched, is Microsoft's service that gives subscribers the ability to listen to music on their gaming consoles (go figure), as well as any devices or systems they own that are powered by Windows 8 or Windows RT.
There's also a "free" way to access the streaming tunes, but it varies by platform: The Xbox "free" music streaming requires a paid-for Gold membership to even access, whereas the Windows-based "free" streaming on Xbox Music grants unlimited music streaming for a listener's first six months, but then limits a listener to 10 hours of free, monthly music streaming after that.
When Microsoft officially announced Xbox Music in October of this year, it mentioned that – among the service's features – Microsoft was planning to unveil a "cloud storage" option for Xbox Music users at some point in the future.
"Available in the coming year, a scan-and-match feature will take you beyond the 30 million tracks globally offered through Xbox Music. It will add all the music you own to your Xbox Music cloud catalog, including music acquired through other services. This means you can add almost any content you have to your personal Xbox Music collection, even if it's not available in the Xbox Music catalog," described Microsoft at the time.
It's not clear just how Microsoft's cloud-based music streaming on SkyDrive would play along with (or supplement) Xbox Music. Nevertheless, delivering some kind of musical locker in the cloud at least allows Microsoft to step up a bit against competitors like Amazon and Google – especially since SkyDrive apps can be found on all of the major mobile operating systems.