Microsoft Axes The Xbox Music Brand, Hits Do-Over On Its Music And Video Push

Microsoft will retool the branding of its entertainment apps that live inside of Windows 10, its new operating system and platform.

In a move that I can only describe as curious, if not downright odd, Microsoft is dropping the Xbox branding on its music and video products, changing them, in order, to ‘Groove’ and ‘Movies & TV.’

Microsoft’s rebranding comes shortly after Apple launched a music streaming service in a play to compete with existing services such as Spotify. Microsoft hoped it also would be able to compete with Spotify by carrying over Xbox users to its music service by calling it ‘Xbox Music.’ But the decision to rename the service shows that bet did not pay off.

The announcement casts a shadow on the larger Xbox experience, and, of course, Microsoft’s ability to compete in the larger platform wars. If Xbox can’t convert to other content verticals, where can it?

The change of Xbox Video to Movies & TV isn’t surprising. Few used the product before, and I suspect that few will use it now. Small potatoes remain small potatoes.

According to Microsoft, Groove will allow you to play your current music, including iTunes tracks, and streaming is available for a Spotify-esque $9.99 per month. The service will sport, and I can’t improve on this PR’ed language:

a light or dark theme for the app depending on your mood, or pick an accent color in Windows Settings and the Groove app makes it shine.

Humor comes in various forms.

Regardless, we are coming to the conclusion of the Windows 10 pre-launch cycle, and that means that change of this sort are now, and not later.