Why the Zune Music Pass Needs to Come to iOS and Android
At times, the tech world can be amazing, innovative and inspiring; other times, though, it can be quite infuriating (e.g. patent wars, discontinuation of support, etc.). However, one of the trends in the tech world I simply cannot stand is when a company refuses to share a service with other tech companies. One case in particular is Microsoft’s lack of interest in making it’s Zune Music Pass service available to non-Microsoft devices.
Recently, Microsoft released a slew of apps to Apple’s App Store, including SkyDrive, OneNote, My Xbox 360 and Kinectimals. This move by the Redmond, WA based company has led many to believe that Microsoft is finally opening up it’s doors to other platforms (even if none of these new apps were made available to the Android Marketplace). However, Microsoft has made no mention of making its music subscription service available on non-Microsoft devices. While users of Zune Music Pass are able to stream from a web browser on a Windows or Mac OS X computer, Windows Phone 7 device or Xbox 360, iOS and Android device owners have no method to utilize the service in a reliable way.
Now, I know there’s no shortage of great music subscription services available for iOS and Android users. Both Rdio and Spotify are very popular services that offer pretty much everything Zune Music Pass offers for the same price ($9.99 a month for premium access — Rdio and Spotify both offer free accounts, as well). However, it seems strange that Microsoft would keep Zune Music Pass locked down to their own mobile devices, especially when Rdio and Spotify both offer apps for WP7, on top of all other mobile devices. Microsoft may be under the delusion that people will adapt their products to obtain access to a service like Zune Music Pass, but seeing as WP7 has a market share of 1.5% worldwide, it’s safe to say this mindset will only do Microsoft more harm than good.
I currently subscribe to Rdio, which I feel is a better service than Spotify, but if Microsoft released an iOS app for Zune Music Pass tomorrow, and the UI was as impressive as the UI featured in the My Xbox 360 app, I would have a hard time not making the switch. As a consumer and lover of design and technology, I’m going to side with a service that offers me the best experience, and while I believe Rdio does do that to most extent, their iOS app really could use a redesign.
Will we see Zune Music Pass come to iOS or Android? I have no definitive answer, but my magic 8 ball says “outlook not so good.”