Microsoft announced the launch of Xbox Music Sunday night, which could be considered the company’s first stab at competing head-to-head with Spotify and iTunes. It will launch first on Xbox, Windows 8 devices, and Windows 8 phone, but come to Android and iOS soon after. The fact that the service will be an option for Apple users on iOS is remarkable and becoming a trend with Microsoft it seems. If you remember, a couple months back Microsoft announced Xbox SmartGlass, which boasted compatibility with the iPad.

Xbox Music is undoubtedly Microsoft’s attempt to catch up to speed with what the digital music world is currently providing consumers. Here is what Xbox Music will offer: a free, ad-supported tier for playback on Windows 8 devices, a $10 subscription tier for ad-free playback on Windows 8 devices as well as the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 8, and finally a digital download store. There is a plan in place to match the paid cloud locker service with track matching that iTunes currently offers.

You may be asking yourself “why should I bother with Xbox Music?” It could end up being a great service for a few reasons. For Xbox users, there is a satisfaction in using integrated programs with the console, and Microsoft’s console has a base of millions of users already. Microsoft released a demo to the press recently along with a Windows 8 tablet, and using Xbox Music seamlessly with both devices grabbed a lot of buzz. The SmartGlass feature allows you to search for music and download it and send it right to the Windows 8 tablet in seconds. You don’t need to run iTunes to download tracks and Spotify to feed your digital radio fix, Xbox Music offers both.

It looks like Microsoft has finally learned its lesson from past product failures such as the Zune. It is not all about the device and making sure your device isn’t compatible with any others, it’s about the service and allowing compatibility.

Photo Credit: Xbox.com