Microsoft is stepping into a brave new world this week, with the launch of their new Xbox Music platform on a new iPhone app, iPad app and Android app. It's a complete change of course for Microsoft, who in the past has tried to make everything MS-centric (READ: monopoly). They're making a change though, and the new Xbox Music iOS apps arrive the same week as Apple's new iOS 7. The Android mobile app is really just a smart phone app, but will work on Android tablets as well. Same with the iPhone app / iPad app.
The change of strategy is that Microsoft won't force users to go solely through their own Xbox platform or Windows mobile devices like the Surface and Windows Phone. We can beat up on the old guard for taking so long to get to catch up to the present, but at least they're doing it and it's arrived. Eventually a cloud storage service will arrive to take on Google Play, Apple and their iCloud / iTunes and the Amazon Cloud Player.
The other big Xbox Music change is that there's free streaming on a desktop player at music.xbox.com, so you can listen anywhere, on any device, if you want to skip the mobile app experience.
Xbox Music has basically just done a catch-up to the other streaming music services like Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody and MOG, which is to say they have a free, ad-supported streaming music service that follows the usual playlists, custom radio stations or play an album / song approach.
Xbox Music has also gone ultra clean on the design and layout, so the dialed back approach from Spotify, Rdio, iOS 7 and others seems to be taking center stage instead of a crowded screen. This has been a dominant trend this year, as white space is proving to be a better user experience. The darker screen background color will reduce battery burn on your mobile device too!
I did encounter one major bug though ... even though I signed in with a brand new account, Xbox Music seemed to think that I was a user named SparkierAnt3016. This was not my chosen account or screen name, and I could tell that Xbox Music had taken my sign in credentials and signed me into someone else's account. Since Xbox Music has to email me a four-digit access code on sign up, I'm assuming that this was first-day issues based on all of the new activity with the assigning of security codes. I'm thinking about leaving SparkierAnt3016 a bunch of made-up playlists, though! ;>
What playlists would you leave for SparkierAnt3016?