Xbox Music will be available for iOS and Android today, as Microsoft furthers its bid to take on streaming music services like Spotify. Xbox Music is the first entertainment service from the Microsoft to launch on iOS and Android, and follows its Web version, which now offers free streaming to all browsers.
The apps’ updated design reflects Microsoft’s constant retooling of Xbox Music since it originally launched in October 2012 as Microsoft’s Spotify rival for Xbox, Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices. But Xbox Music’s original user interface, which was based on Windows 8, made using the service difficult. The mobile version of the service that launched today has a simpler UI that more closely resembles Spotify. The company told The Verge that Microsoft holds regular hack days to experiment with future Xbox Music features. The iOS and Android apps will be updated every four to six weeks and an offline mode will be available in the next few months.
Back in June, Microsoft introduced an update to Xbox Music for Windows 8.1 that put the emphasis back on users’ own music libraries instead of the app’s streaming content. Its focus on fine-tuning user experience across different devices ties into Microsoft’s ongoing emphasis on unifying services across its platforms and can help Xbox Music compete in an increasingly crowded marketplace (in addition to Spotify, it also has to compete with similar services from the likes of Google, Amazon, Rdio and Twitter).