Despite the existing Zune-based music service from Microsoft, not that long ago I talked about the rumors about a new Microsoft music service being unveiled.

Now we have a bit more information about that. It seems that new offering is being codenamed “Woodstock” and will be unveiled at the gaming expo, E3, here in June.

The new service will be Xbox-branded and built-around Facebook integration and the 360 console. It will also have streaming capabilities that extend to Windows 8, Windows Phone, and other mobile platforms including iOS and Android, if rumors are to be believed.

So why change things up now? Is re-branding it as an Xbox product just to move away from the dying Zune branding? I suspect that tons of cross-platform apps will exist in the near future for the Xbox 360 (and its successor) that also bridge with Microsoft’s Windows offerings (Phone and 8).

This is undoubtedly part of their wider strategy to make Microsoft products just easy to use. I would be willing to bet that Microsoft wants customers to think of all their products as similar enough in interface and apps that you can just pick up a new Microsoft product and run with it.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if the next Xbox ran Windows RT technology, or even the 360 might still receive some kind of update to support some of these apps.

This cross-platform system makes sense, by why brand the music service as “XBOX”? I think this is also a big hint about what Microsoft is doing in the future. When it comes to the OS itself, at the core, everything will be Windows. This Windows Everywhere approach isn’t anything new, but just recently seems to be extending to tablets, phones, and even their Xbox game system.

While the OS is Microsoft Windows, I think “XBOX” will be the name used to identify anything and everything entertainment-oriented. Music services, gaming systems, Smart TVs driven by Microsoft technology, and even in-car entertainment systems might eventually see the use of the Xbox brand in this way.

Keep in mind, this is just a theory, but it makes sense. When you think of Windows you’ll think of the UI, and how it just works, no matter the device. When you think of great entertainment options you’ll think of great entertainment experiences from games, to movies, to even music. No matter what Windows-based device they run on.

So what do you think? Do you think this is just a small part of the cross-platform plan that is forming over at Redmond? Again, the idea of XBOX and Windows branding and how they interact in this new cross-platform world is just a theory. I look forward to seeing a world where no matter what MS device

I use, I’ll have an easy time picking it up and most (if not all) of my favorite entertainment experiences will be at hand as well.

As always, share your thoughts on the matter below.

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  1. How will legacy Zune devices sync? I assume Zune 4.8 will still work..

    •  That’s a good question, though I won’t be surprised if either Zune support existed in this new platform, or simply Microsoft keeps Zune software around for a while and let them co-exist.

      For now though, MS hasn’t said anything about older Zune compatibility, so this is just speculation.

  2. My Zune software still works, but the “Profile” section that keeps track of my overall plays, badges, and the like is no more. I suspect they shut down these servers permanently in preparation for the new music service.

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