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Microsoft Takes Aim at Apple and Google With Xbox Music

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 15, 2012 11:14 AM

Microsoft’s Zune is no more, but that doesn’t mean the computer giant is shunning the music-buying public. It announced Monday that it is getting back into the music business by providing 30 million free tunes through its upcoming Windows 8 as well as on Xbox consoles starting Tuesday. (Apple’s iTunes “only” has about 26 million tunes, the BBC notes.)

The pitch for Xbox Music: "Enjoy your favorite music from a 30 million-song global catalog powered by the one service that integrates your music experiences across your tablet, PC, phone and TV. All the music you love, every way you want it."

“The service is part of a broad set of bets Microsoft is making this fall to help regain ground it has lost to competitors, especially Apple and Google,” the New York Times reports. Along with Windows 8, Microsoft is about to release a new Windows Phone operating system for mobiles as well as a tablet, the Surface. The bean counters in Redmond, Washington, are clearly hoping for a big fourth quarter holiday season, including ramping up maketing efforts and opening holiday pop-ups in key markets.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Surface to Air: Microsoft Takes Aim at Apple with iPad-Challenging Tablet

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 10, 2012 06:18 PM

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is an excitable guy and if there is one thing that excites more than anything else (as far as we know), it is his employer. Ballmer threw his energy behind a letter to stockholders that was released on Monday, informing the investment community that Microsoft was in the midst of a changing world and now considers itself a devices and services company.

In other words, Microsoft is following in the footsteps of Apple. Don’t worry, Microsoft, as the master brand, will still be producing great software, but the company wants to push its device products, such as the soon-to-be-released Surface tablet. But, as Ballmer says in his letter, the company will be putting extra emphasis on "new form factors that have increasingly natural ways to use them including touch, gestures and speech."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Starbucks Buys a Bakery for $100M and More

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 4, 2012 06:08 PM

Brands to Watch

Starbucks acquires San Francisco's La Boulange Bakery for $100M to improve food menu and build out national premium brand.

Amazon acquires Avalon Books.

Bank of America execs explain how they hid Merrill Lynch losses. 

China embraces robot labor.

FedEx retires jets to cut costs.

Foursquare teases new app.

Google appears poised to buy Meebo as social agency M&A continues.

Marriott looks to expand through acquisitions.

Microsoft unveils Xbox Music as replacement for Zune.Continue reading...

brand r.i.p.

Brand R.I.P.: Chrysler, Microsoft and Sprint Axe Underperforming Sub-Brands

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 29, 2012 05:29 PM

Three companies that announced they're culling their brands today:

Chrysler is killing off the Jeep Compass and its Town and Country minivan, formerly the bestselling minivan in America.

Microsoft is phasing out the Zune brand in favor of Xbox-branded media and apps‎.

Sprint is shutting down Nextel iDEN network next year‎.

tech talk

Microsoft's Zune Is Dead! Long Live Zune Music Pass!

Posted by Anthony Zumpano on October 5, 2011 12:09 PM

While Apple heralded the post-Jobs era with the introduction of the iPhone 4S (aka the iPhone 5 in disguise), and created plenty of hubbub surrounding iOS 5 and iCloud, what about the latest updates regarding those MP3 players you still can’t live without?

We’re talking about the Zune, man! You know…that Microsoft product that was launched five years ago? To take on the iPod? Because not everyone is an Apple acolyte?

If your reaction to the idea of “Zune news” is “Wait, that thing is still around?,” don’t worry. After treating the Zune as if it were a MacBook that Steve Ballmer was asked to autograph, Microsoft officially killed the portable music player.

While the third-ranked Best Global Brand is putting the money-hemorrhaging device out of its misery, Microsoft will continue (for now, at least) to use the Zune brand name and assets, including the Zune Music Pass media download and streaming service.Continue reading...

brand news

Brands to Watch: AT&T, Pandora, Tory Burch

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 10, 2011 04:45 PM

Brands to Watch

Apple's iPhone is launching into deep space.

AT&T accused of buying nonprofit support (including GLAAD) for its merger.

Buddy Media preparing for an IPO?

Dell picks China for Streak 10 tablet launch.

Diet Coke launches fashion site with Yahoo UK.

Microsoft appears ready to phase out Zune brand.Continue reading...

brand news

Brands to Watch: Ann Taylor, Nelson Mandela, Zynga and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on March 14, 2011 06:00 PM

Brands to Watch

Ann Taylor parent rebrands to Ann Inc.

Google launches NCAA basketball site for March Madness, announces changes to Blogger at SXSW.

Microsoft said to cease Zune production as demand wanes.

Nasdaq bid for NYSE could come this week.

Nelson Mandela charitable arm is launching a clothing line.

US TV networks may punt if NFL football is lost.

Zynga rolls out new virtual currency in lieu of credits.

brand news

In the News: Borders, Sanofi-Genzyme, Lance Armstrong and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 16, 2011 09:00 AM

In the News

Apple's new app store subscription policy gets pushback from Rhapsody.

Bauer and Conde Nast seek new UK revenue opportunities.

Bernie Madoff's first prison interview claims banks "must have known."

Borders files for bankruptcy.

Coca-Cola disputes NPR's secret recipe claim.

Costco squabbles with Coca-Cola over pricing.Continue reading...

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