HTC apparently isn't the only company interested in starting up a new music service. We have heard that Microsoft is planning on significantly revamping its music service offering this year, replacing the Zune branding with Xbox Live branding. A report at CNET appears to confirm that Microsoft is indeed in talks with music labels to alter its current agreements to support the new service.
The plan is apparently to use the Xbox Live branding across Xbox, Windows Phone, and Windows on the desktop. That branding shift is currently slated to happen some time this summer. Later, Microsoft intends to re-launch the music service as a simpler, easier to understand, and better integrated offering that is described as very similar to Spotify. It may also include a video component. Current Zune Pass subscribers will be able to keep their current subscription model if they so choose.
The goal, we're told, is to have it all lined up well in time for the holiday season and that Microsoft will offer free Xbox Live for Windows subscriptions to new PC buyers as a way to jump start adoption of the service. Given the lackluster of the Zune branding and the fact that Microsoft is not selling Zune-specific hardware anymore, tying a music service to the stronger Xbox Live brand makes a lot of sense.
Tom Warren contributed to this story.