In the latest move to make the Zune compete with the iPod and iPhone, Microsoft is reportedly starting a music streaming service, similar to Last.fm, Pandora and Spotify.
The service, which MS aims to have ready by the end of July, will offer users the chance to stream music for free and also download to own, The Telegraph reported after talking to Peter Bale, executive producer of MSN.
The Seattle Times contacted MSN, where spokeswoman Hazel Thompson confirmed: "In the coming months, MSN is planning a new music service in Beta via its Music channel in the UK.”
Speculation is rife that the service might also be integrated with Bing, and Bale hinted that it could be packaged into the Xbox 360 – a surprising move, since Last.fm was ported onto the console just a few months ago.
ReadWriteWeb offered a great insight into the move, talking about Microsoft’s recent acquisition of SeeqPod and the possibility of the new service being built on top of it.
“Seeqpod did a great job searching for media around the web and offered an API that developers liked quite a lot – but the company got slammed by repeated lawsuits,” Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote.
So, a free, music-streaming service from Microsoft with a great interface? Watch out, iTunes…