Microsoft tweaks streaming music plan for Windows 10

Microsoft rebrands subscription-based music services in an effort to compete with Apple, Google, Spotify

Afp July 08, 2015

NEW YORK: Microsoft has rebranded its subscription-based music services as part of a ramped-up effort to compete with the likes of Apple, Google, Spotify and others.

The US tech giant said its Groove Music -- the rechristened name for XBox Music -- will be built into the Windows 10 operating system that is designed to power computers and a variety of mobile devices. "Our fans asked for faster ways to access the music they love -- quickly, efficiently, and on their favourite devices," Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc said in a blog post Monday. "And for that, we're proud to introduce the evolution of our current Xbox Music experience, now titled Groove, with new features we think you're going to love.”

Read: Microsoft to launch Windows 10 on July 29

Microsoft has struggled to gain traction in music dating back to its device designed to compete with the original Apple iPod -- a portable music player called Zune discontinued in 2011 after some five years. LeBlanc said the new Groove service will have access to 40 million songs and offer "an improved experience for listening to and managing your music."

Read: New partnerships extend Microsoft's reach into Android

Groove will offer ad-free music for downloads and playlists at $10 a month or $99 per year, similar to plans from Apple and Google. Microsoft is preparing to roll out Windows 10 starting on July 29, first with a small group of "insiders" testing the new operating software, then gradually expanding the base.

The company, which dominates in personal computers but has been lagging in mobile devices, is hoping the new system will help it better compete with Google's Android-powered devices and Apple's iOS hardware.